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Report | Dromahane 5th May 2019

The opening ITBA and Tattersalls Ireland four-year-old mares' maiden saw Fantasia Storm, the only horse that 85-year-old owner/trainer Jim Barry has in harness at his base outside Fethard, atone for unseating four-out on her initial outing at Inch on April 17th by showing a clean pair of heels to her rivals under Roger Quinlan.

The Mahler-sired mare, a half-sister to useful British hurdles winner Howling Milan from the immediate family of Tresor De Mai, made most of the running and she effortlessly powered clear coming to the final fence to account for Akardashian by six lengths.

"She's the only one that we have in training at the moment and she was bought at the August sales last year," said Barry's son Donie of the grey-coloured Fantasia Storm, who is now likely to be offered for sale.

The Oriel House Hote five-year-old and upwards mares' maiden saw the Robert Tyner-trained Direct Image vindicated the promise she displayed when coming second to subsequent dual British bumper winner Getariver on her career debut at Moig South back in November by running her rivals ragged under Declan Queally.

Direct Image disputed the running until edging ahead on the run to four-out and the Traveling Light-owned six-year-old powered clear from two-out to beat Kind Witness by a widening 10 lengths. It's probable that Direct Image will now be aimed at a winners’ race.

The Michael Winters-trained Scully’s Forge overcame rider Chris O'Donovan losing his whip at the fourth last by narrowly coming out on top in what was the closest finish of the afternoon in the Killian Lynch Auctioneers five-year-old geldings' maiden.

The winner, who finished fifth to Barrack Hill in the adjacent hunts maiden at this same venue three weeks earlier, went second behind long-time leader Profile Picture on the run to the final fence.

The son of Doyen took the measure of Profile Picture under 100 yards out to score by a head, the pair returning two and a half lengths clear of the third-placed Glory Road. Scullys Forge returned to a rapturous reception which wasn't surprising as he's owned by the 12-member Giddyup Syndicate from Donoughmore.

"He's a fine big horse that will gallop and stay all day," said the handler. 

Moneygall-based owner/trainer Jim Flaherty's Clutch sprung a minor surprise in this race under Jimmy O'Rourke in the Robert Harkin and Associates Auctioneers winners-of-one. The 10-year-old, who finished fourth to Getaway Totherock on his previous outing at Inch over Easter, moved through to challenge long-time leader from two-out.

The winner took the measure of Aughnacurra King at the final fence and he then strode clear to dismiss the pacesetter by two and a half lengths, the pair returning six lengths clear of the third-placed Exit Eleven.

 "He's a consistent horse and he really deserved that. We'll see how he is and he will probably go for something similar," said Flaherty of Clutch, one of three horses that he has under his care at present.

Aughnacurra King's rider Mikey O'Connor then went one better by joining forces with David O'Brien to collect this closing contest with recent Quakerstown fourth Gold Miner in the Grandon Toyota Car Sales six-year-old and upwards geldings' maiden.

Despite leaping noticeably right-handed throughout, Gold Miner still made all the running to beat Daddy Curtuis by six lengths in the silks of visiting British owner Mick Allen.

"He has always looked a nice horse. He will now be left off for the summer and his owner will probably put him into training in England next season," said handler O'Brien of Gold Miner.

Incidentally, Gold Miner is by Goldmark and Allen also saw his colours carried to success by another son of the stallion in Golden Call who won six races between 2011 and 2014.

The Sam Curling-trained mare Longhouse Music, having won a walkover with Barry O'Neill at the Broughshane meeting in Co Antrim the previous afternoon, moved into pole position in her quest to be crowned champion pointer by recording a tenth success of the season when taking the Blarney Castle and Gardens open.

The mare tracked her solitary rival Empresario, until Johnny Barry gave her the office after three-out. It was all plain sailing thereafter as Longhouse Music stormed clear to oblige by five lengths.

"She's a great mare and the aim is for her to win the champion pointer of the season. She would have been ridden in the normal course of events by Pa King, who broke an ankle at Monksgrange last Sunday," said handler Curling of John Duggan's homebred.

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