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Report | Moira 6th April 2019

Brian Hamilton saddled his first winner for Gigginstown House Stud when Direct Fire took the opening Dennison Commercials Ltd four-year-old maiden at just the second time of asking.

Fourth on his debut in a competitive maiden at Borris House, the son of Yeats was given a positive ride by Declan Lavery, before quickening up smartly to see off the strong challenge of Berties Girl, the only mare in the line-up, by two-and-a-half lengths.

The well-bred sort cost €65,000 at the Land Rover Sale last summer and certainly has a pedigree to match this performance, as he is a half-brother to a host of winners including Mr Mole. 

Afterwards the successful Downpatrick handler said:  “He’s a gorgeous horse and I’m delighted with that. Whoever he moves to now is getting a lovely type.  Philippa Baird who bred the horse worked for me a few years ago.”

Tipperary owner Pat Coffey saw his colours carried to victory when The Mulcair recorded a comprehensive success in the Albert Bartlett five-year-old geldings’ maiden. The son of Flemensfirth was certainly not winning out of turn here having shaped with plenty of promise in two four-year-old maidens last spring.

Out of a half-sister to Imperial Commander, the Denis Murphy-trained bay readily accounted for the previously placed Big Leg Up by five-and-a-half lengths at the line.

As the handler was absent, winning rider Luke Murphy said: “He’s a lovely horse but just needed a bit of time and they were patient with him.  He is a big immature horse and will come on for that today.  He could head to the sales now.”

It was certainly a day for first winners, with no less than three riders getting off the mark on the afternoon, including Brid O’Neill who opened her account in the concluding Wilsons Auctions winner of three aboard Alkaa Lion.

The Wicklow-native has ridden the 10-year-old all season and this was a deserved success for the son of Alkaadhem, as he had already filled the runners-up berth on two occasions under his lady rider. Never too far away from the pace, the bay stayed on gamely in the closing stages to see off the attentions of the closing Vinnies Nephue by five lengths.

“I’m delighted for Brid to get her first winner, she has been working with me for the last 11 years. He’s a great horse for her to ride, so we will keep him pointing now,” said winning handler Peter McCreery.

The Tullyraine House Stud & Tullyraine Equine Clinic five-year-old and upwards mares’ maiden saw Downpatrick-native Ross McLeigh record his first career success aboard the Katherine Acheson-owned Ballela Storm.

The five-year-old was getting off the mark at the sixth time of asking here having unseated on her last start at Kirkistown when running well. The daughter of September Storm made no mistake on this occasion coming home five lengths clear of the Derek O’Connor-ridden Fyfin Patsy, having been up with the pace throughout.

With handler Caroline McCaldin eventing with her daughter at Tyrella, her husband Alan said: “She showed a gear towards the finish that we hadn’t seen before.  She has grown and got stronger throughout the winter. We will have a chat with the owners to see where we go next.”

It was also a red-letter day for Oran McGill who steered home his first winner aboard his own Milan Flyer in the Alexander Mills Open. The novice rider was getting off the mark on just his fourth attempt, having finished a fine third aboard the 13-year-old just a week earlier at Portrush.

Having won this corresponding race last season, the son of Milan cut out much of the running on this occasion to see-off Horendus Hulabaloo by a length.

It was truly a family affair as the winner is trained by the rider’s father, Gary McGill who said:  “He’s a grand horse and it is great for Oran to get his first winner on him.  Soft ground is the key to him and when we got the rain during the week I was delighted. Providing the ground remains on the soft side we will keep him pointing.”

The Dalzells Electrical older geldings’ maiden saw Luke McGuinness partner his fourth success of the season aboard the Rodney Arthur-owned and trained Duty Calls. The six-year-old was getting off the mark at the 10th attempt having shaped with plenty of promise on a number of his previous runs to date.

Fourth on his most recent start at Armagh, the son of Arcadio was given a fine waiting ride by the Meath rider, before cruising clear of the field to win by an easy 15 lengths, with Devour filling the runner-up spot under Richie Deegan.

"He has ran a few good races in defeat and got the rub of the green today.  He’s a smashing big horse and is a great mover, I will hopefully sell him now,” said the handler.

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