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Report | Moira 13th October 2018

It was a case of déjà vu after the Dennison Commercials four-year-old maiden, as for the second Saturday in succession, the opening race on a card in the northern region went the way of a Donnchadh Doyle-trained horse, with Buck’s Bin’s upholding honours in the Moira opener.

The French bred had failed to find a buyer when offered for sale last May after chasing home the now four-time bumper winner Longhouse Sale at Dromahane on debut, but he certainly backed up that initial promise with a one-length defeat of Durrow fourth Blackstairs Lad.

 “The form worked out very well from his first run and he really did it well today. He jumped brilliantly throughout and he was in good form coming into the race,” said Doyle of the Rob James-ridden four-year-old, who is now set to be offered for sale.

A disappointing turnout of just three horses faced the starter in the John McGovern open lightweight, where the sole mare in the line-up, Longhouse Music, got the better of the exchanges against two capable geldings, to open Derek O’Connor’s account for the new season.

The Sam Curling-trained nine-year-old picked-up where she had left off at Loughanmore at the end of last season, by returning to the winner’s enclosure following a three and a-half length defeat of Eddies Miracle. The daughter of Gamut should give her owner-breeder John Duggan plenty of sport this season, with Curling indicating that she is set to remain point-to-pointing for the season.

Philip Rothwell was unfortunate not to have won the mares’ maiden on the same card two years earlier when his Shanklys Dawn was touched off by just a head. He had better fortune in Saturday’s Wilson Auctions five-year-old geldings’ maiden, when Peter’s Portrait came out on top in a wide-open looking race.

Carrying the colours of Tom Power and Annette Lawlor that will be very familiar to racegoers on the eastern circuit, the Portrait Gallery gelding, who is a half-brother to UK points victor, Downbythestrand, picked up well in the hands of Harley Dunne to deny the twice previously raced Slumdogmillionaire.

“He was weak in the spring and Harley (Dunne) schooled him and told us to let him out for the summer and he has come back a different horse.  We were afraid with all the rain, but the ground was nice and he needs that,” said Power who is also a farrier for the winning handler.

The lightly raced seven-year-old, Summons To Court, vindicated the early promise that she had shown when falling on debut at Lingstown behind dual-track winner Gracemount, by returning from a brief spell under rules to run out a bloodless victor of the older maiden for novice riders under James Kenny.

The 25-length success for the daughter of Court Cave over last Saturday’s Toomebridge runner-up Pegase Amour, provided her handler John Kinsella with a first training success.

Kinsella is himself a former rider with five victories between the flags to his name, and the Glenealy native could send his charge over the banks this season, as he said: “she’s a very good mare but has had her problems and she will improve greatly for the run today.  We will see how she is after this and then decide, but it could be a winners’ race next and then maybe send her over banks.”

Andrew Slattery’s stable were in red-hot form on Saturday, as a treble on the flat at Limerick on the same afternoon, was supplemented by the victory of The Crafty Touch in the Northern Excavators five and six-year-old mares’ maiden.

A second trip from Slattery’s Tipperary base to the northern region on successive Saturday’s, did certainly not inconvenience the chestnut Touch Of Land mare, who took it all in her stride, improving upon her second placing at Toomebridge seven days earlier, to run out a six-length winner in the hands of Roger Quinlan over Largy Princess.

“She had a lovely run last week and has improved plenty from that,” said the handler’s brother Willie Slattery.
We think a lot of her and expect her to improve again.”

Having had to settle for second in the mares’ maiden just 30 minutes earlier, the Stuart Crawford team were among the winners when Ballyhowne returned victorious in the day’s winner of one contest.

The seven-year-old had been without a win in just shy of 12 months, having got off the mark at Portrush in October 2017, however as the Billie-Jo Irwin-owned son of Generous had left the Doncaster sales ring in May unsold, fortune was in their favour.

The bay gelding was retained by the owners and ultimately returned four lengths in advance of recent Toomebridge scorer Lively Beat in the hands of the winning handler’s brother Ben Crawford, who indicated that he is likely to stay pointing.

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