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Report | Toomebridge 5th October 2019

Denis Murphy left Toomebridge with a 100% strike record for the season, after the two horses that the Wexford handler sent to the Co. Antrim venue returned victorious, beginning with the success of Gale At Sea in the J Kernoghan Salvage four-year-old mares’ maiden.

The €16,000 Land Rover sale purchase, who is a half-sister to former pointer Ballybolley, made the best start to her career when she got the better of fellow newcomer, Gale At Sea, by six lengths in the six-runner contest.

“That’s a great start to the season, this is a very smart mare and she is very well bred as well,” said Murphy.
“I was a little bit worried because she looked so well in the parade ring and that’s my first runner of the season. I think there should be lots of improvement in her and she will go to one of the sales now.”

Codd and Murphy have enjoyed a long-standing partnership, and they teamed up to their latest success when the French bred, Yes Des Taillons, got the better of the more experienced Tardree in the Raymart five and six-year-old geldings’ maiden.

A penultimate fence casualty on his debut at Tralee in late May, the Gris De Gris gelding became the second subsequent maiden winner to emerge from that contest, when he crossed the line with five lengths to spare, becoming the latest point winner to carry the colours of London-based businessman Alan Harte.

“We should never of ran him last season, we just ran out of time with him. He has lots of class and did it very well,” said Murphy.

Reigning northern champion Jamie Codd was not the only rider to end the opening day of the new season on the two-winner mark, as his double was matched by great rival Derek O’Connor, whose two successes were recorded from just two rides on the day.

Boomtime Banker got the 11-time champion off the mark for the new season, when she recorded a three-length victory in the City Auctions Group mares’ maiden.

Overcoming deteriorating conditions, as the weather took a turn for the worse, the Sam Curling-trained mare was another penultimate fence casualty from last spring’s Tralee fixture to gain redemption on the afternoon, getting her head in front at the third time of asking, as she accounted for Double Smart to carry her breeder Tadgh O’Leary’s colours to success.

“She hated the conditions today and would be a lot better on good ground. But she was ready to run and thankfully it paid off. We will go to the track now if she isn’t sold,” said Curling.

The Ballymena-based Brown-Kerr family understandably gained a great deal of pleasure from the success of their homebred, Chariot Warrior, when he completed the O’Connor double in the NFD Livestock older geldings’ maiden.

The son of Kalanisi, who had made his competitive debut as a four-year-old at Taylorstown in April 2016, rewarded the perseverance of his connections, when putting in what was by far his best performance to date, to defeat The Bolder Boy for handler Robert Brown-Kerr.

“We have worked this horse differently this year and it has paid off, it’s great to get a winner. Myself and my father just keep a few horses for a bit of fun so we will aim this lad at a winner race now. I’m just delighted he got his head in front,” said Brown-Kerr of the grey gelding that is owned by his father James.

Jack Hendrick’s 2018/19 campaign ended prematurely when injured at Monksgrange last March, however he looks set to make up for lost time, as the Mayglass native, who is a second cousin of fellow rider Jamie Codd, recorded his fifth career success in the Dennison Commercials four-year-old geldings’ maiden with Annual Invictus.

Cormac Doyle’s €30,000 Derby sale recruit showed a very likeable attitude, which saw him gain the upper hand over Minella Beauty, to win by two-and-a-half lengths, leaving behind his debut non-completion at Turtulla in the process.

The winning handler reported that his charge had scoped badly after that debut and would now be offered for sale.

The lightly raced Some Man preserved his unbeaten record between the flags with victory in the Dennison JCB winner-of-one contest on what was his return to the pointing sphere.

A close relation of Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Denman, the Beat Hollow gelding had won his four-year-old maiden on debut at Portrush for Donnchadh Doyle, before three infrequent trips to the racecourse when with Paul Nicholls.

Now with Fermanagh handler David Christie, Rob James guided the Ray Nicholas-owned bay gelding to a two-and-a-half-length victory over Caroline McCaldin’s Tattersalls Farm winner Samurai Cracker.

“He has come a long way since we bought him in Doncaster. He is as good a staying horse as I have had on my hands for a long time and there is no reason why he couldn’t go a long way, he has loads of class,” said Christie.

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