A CHANCE ride aboard the former Cheltenham Festival runner-up The Bosses Oscar saw Davy Russell get off the mark for the National Hunt season as Gordon Elliott’s charge landed the Shoe Rescue Hurdle over two and a half miles.
Russell had to settle for the runner-up spot on his three previous rides in Ireland since the new season got underway in early May but enjoyed a straightforward success here as he stepped in for Jack Kennedy who was stood down following a fall the previous evening.
A couple of creditable runs in similar races earlier this season suggested The Bosses Oscar could be poised to win his first race since October 2020 and this was relatively straightforward for the Bective Stud-owned 11/10 favourite.
He moved to the head of the field early in the straight and then asserted readily nearing the last flight before getting home just under three lengths ahead of stablemate Dallas Des Pictons.
There was a further four-length gap back to the winner’s chief market rival, Chiricahua, who was on the backfoot after a bad mistake at the fifth.
“It was a lovely race for him and this will do his confidence the world of good. He might stay going in these races for the time being and there’s a couple of options for him the week after Galway,” commented Elliott.
Another rider to come in for a winning spare was Danny Mullins who replaced the unwell Keith Donoghue aboard Golden Sandbanks in the 80-95 rated PAQ IT Handicap Hurdle over two miles.
A 21-race maiden coming into this race, the Paul Flynn inmate was backed from 9/1 earlier in the day into half of those odds and he looked to be in control of this race from early in the straight.
Boston Brahmin wasn’t done with but still had a couple of lengths to find when exiting at the last which left Golden Sandbanks to defeat He’s Leading Me On by three and a half lengths.
A return to Britain and Ian Jardine is among the options being considered for the winner.
Paul Flynn had earlier gone close to scoring with The Big Chap but he had to settle for second behind Shane Nolan’s Yulong Voice (5/1) in the D Pack Services Handicap Hurdle in the 80-109 rated two-and-a-half-mile handicap hurdle.
A winner at Killarney 11 months ago, the Red Green & White Syndicate-owned gelding stole through on the inner for Shane Fitzgerald to strike the front at the line and the pair went on to carry the day by two and a quarter lengths.
IT was an evening to remember for amateur rider Michael O’Sullivan who recorded the first double of his career which was completed aboard Eoin McCarthy’s 20/1 newcomer Dark Image in the Cube Printing Irish EBF Fillies Flat Race.
An unraced 3,000gns purchase as a two-year-old at the 2020 Tattersalls Autumn Horses-In-Training Sale, this Awtaad half-sister to the Group 1-placed juvenile Steady Pace came with a taking last furlong charge to lead late on and see off Elle Klassycco by a length and a quarter.
“Her owner Sean put her in last year to run on the flat but I begged him hold tough for a bumper. He is a great supporter of the yard and said he’d wait,” declared McCarthy. “She jumps well, is only a baby and Sean wants to build a broodmare band so will keep her. She’s a lovely filly with a future.”
O’Sullivan was earlier successful on Michael Hourigan junior’s The Holmeister (5/1) who added the John Thomas McNamara (Q.R.) Handicap Hurdle over three miles to his victory at Ballinrobe on Tuesday evening.
The James Cregan-owned 5/1 favourite eased into contention before the last two flights and got the better of Willaston after the last to prevail by three-parts of a length. The winner has the option of reverting to fences in the coming weeks.
Rob James, who rode the runner-up, was given a four-day whip ban.
McNally ‘happy’ but in hot water
TRAINER Ronan McNally and jockey Kevin Sexton felt the wrath of the stewards after a running-and-riding enquiry the opening maiden hurdle where the 25/1 shot Ithaka was beaten by less than 10 lengths into sixth.
This resulted in the trainer and rider being found to be in breach of Rule 212A(ii), which governs timely, real and substantial effort.
McNally was hit with a €2,000 fine, Sexton was banned for 10 days and the horse was suspended from running for 42 days. In the enquiry the trainer expressed himself happy with the ride and delight with the horse’s run.
The race itself was won by Thomond O’Mara’s Gekkota (33/1) who was giving the trainer his first winner under National Hunt rules for six years.
This six-year-old showed ability in a couple of outings last autumn and was produced in excellent shape for his first run since October.
Richie Deegan got him to the front before the second last and the son of Tiger Groom kept on well to hold off Itso Vango by just over three lengths.
Downtown Queen (5/1) provided Henry de Bromhead with another winner in the Aqua Process Solutions Mares Rated Novice Hurdle over two miles where she was adding to her success in a Downpatrick maiden hurdle the previous month.
The John Battersby Racing Syndicate-owned mare made much of the running for Conor McNamara and to her credit she produced big jumps at the last two flights to retain control of the race. The five-year-old got home by two and a half lengths from Daisy Dufresne.
“She is dynamite to jump and has loads of scope. She will be better over a fence,” reported McNamara, who is sponsored by the owner.