POPULAR Kanturk trainer Mick Winters took centre-stage at Cork yesterday where his good servant Chatham Street came out best in the featured Mallow Handicap Chase under Conor Orr to lift the spoils by five lengths from Off You Go.
Owned by Mayo hotelier Vivian Healy in partnership with his brother, the odds-on favourite was travelling like a winner all the way and the outcome was never in doubt.
A beaming Winters welcomed his 85/40 winner and enthused: “He’s a very consistent horse who’s always in the money over fences. The owners are getting great fun out of him. They’re great supporters of racing and Jimmy Gordon picked the horse out for him."
Willie Mullins and Midleton native Paul Townend dominated the rest of the card with three winners between them, the only blip coming via newcomer Grand Bornand who weakened into fourth place behind the Noel Meade-trained 4/1 chance Thedevilscoachman in the second division of the four-year-old hurdle.
The 4/1 shot, who was successful in a bumper at Naas back in January, was switched out to challenge at the final flight by Youghal native Denis O’Regan and the jockey said on his return: “He seemed to do it well, but was a bit awkward at one or two. He still has plenty to learn but quickened nicely up the straight. He’s a nice laid back horse who still has plenty to learn.”
Normal service was resumed for Mullins and Townend courtesy of the odds-on favourite Ganapath who was always close up in second behind Howdyalike menow in the second division and took the lead on the approach to the second last.
The French-bred, racing in the Gold Cup winning Alboum Photo colours of Joe Donnolly’s wife Marie, was successful on the flat in his native land on heavy ground and only had to be kept up to his work to beat Rajsalad by one and threequarters of a length.
Said Townend: “I’d say he’ll come on plenty for it. He jumped very well, but missed the last.
"It is very testing out there and we went our own gallop in behind the leader and I think he’ll improve for it.”
Stable-companion Yukon Lil, who was last seen in action when fourth in the mares novice hurdle at Cheltenham, made a winning debut over fences in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Mares Beginners Chase with a three and a half lengths defeat of Scarlet And Dove.
Townend was impressed with the manner of Sue Magnier’s mare’s win, commenting afterwards" “She’s very good. I galloped into the first a little bit, but she was awesome after that.
"I suppose she didn’t get a good run at last season after it was cut short, but she’s a smart mare and she’ll do well in those mares chases.”
Killavullen handler T.J. Nagle teamed up with Danny Mullins for success through the bottom weight Rebel Waltz in the E18,000 Kevin McManus Bookmaker Handicap Hurdle.
The six-year-old in owned by neighbours of his who make up the victorious Always On Time Partnership and the trainer was full of praise for the winning rider.
He said: “Danny was excellent on him. I didn’t think he would handle the ground but the light weight was a help.
"Everyone says he wants three miles, but Danny said he needs a true-run two and a half mile race and we’ll have to see what the handicapper says after that.”
Stormy Judge was all the rage for the INH Stallion Owners EBF Beginners Chase, but Wexford-based Seamus Neville had other ideas and fancied the chances of his wife Ita’s Notice To Close.
He took no chances by booking Brian Hayes for the mount and the jockey made the near three hour dash from Navan, where he finished fifth in the Graded hurdle, to land a gamble on the grey who rallied in the closing stages to fend off the challenge of Enjoy D’Allen by a neck.
Hayes reflected: “It was definitely worth the journey!” Notice To Close was successful in three point-to-points and is also a course winner."
His trainer remarked: “He’s improved with every run and we came here with a bit of confidence. We’ll see what the handicapper does and he’ll probably run next at Christmas.”