GEARÓID O’LOUGHLIN’S Whatsyourstatus successfully reverted to hurdles by readily justifying favouritism under Sean Flanagan in the Thank You To The Frontline Workers From Cork Racecourse Handicap Hurdle at Cork’s jumps meeting yesterday.
Whatsyourstatus, runner-up to subsequent Munster National winner Aforementioned on his previous start in a Clonmel novice chase on October 1, got into a lovely rhythm with Sean Flanagan and he could be called the most likely winner once easing to the front after three out.
While eased as the line approached, the winning son of Ask still had one and a quarter lengths to spare over runner-up Walk Me Home.
Owner/trainer O’Loughlin, a County Clare native who has 10 horses under his care said: “I thought this was a good opportunity and the plan now is to put him away for a nice chase. He loves Downpatrick and maybe he might be a horse that could go for the Ulster National at Downpatrick next year.”
The featured race was the €40,000 coopstores.ie Handicap Chase over an extended two miles one furlong and Abbey Magic continued handler Henry de Bromhead’s terrific run of success by gamely obliging under Rachael Blackmore.
Abbey Magic moved though to dispute from the third last and she edged into a slight advantage over runner-up Lakemilean from two out, which she maintained to account for Terence O’Brien’s charge by one and three quarter lengths.
“She’s a mare that had a setback and it’s great to get her back,” said Blackmore of Abbey Magic.
“She’s a very honest mare that jumps well, but I’m not sure of future plans for her.”
There was a pulsating three-way finish to the Fermoy Handicap Hurdle with Tallow handler Sean Aherne’s mare The Diary Keeper leading in the shadow of the post for seven lb claimer Gavin Brouder.
The Diary Keeper made progress from the rear of the field after four out and she surged to the fore in the dying strides to see off Storm Flight by a neck with a similar margin back to Shedding in third.
“She won a bumper in Killarney a few years ago and it has just taken her a while to get the knack of hurdling,” reported Aherne of The Diary Keeper, whom he trains for Sheila Ahern from Ballyduff Upper.
“She’s dependant on good ground and she’s in again at Thurles on Thursday.”
The Kieran Purcell-owned/trained Fest Deiz, runner-up on his previous start at Gowran Park, brought off a nice touch by justifying strong market support from 7/2 into 15/8 favourite in the Red Mills Irish EBF Auction Maiden Hurdle over an extended two and a half miles.
Fest Deiz was always well positioned under Donagh Meyler and he picked up the running at the third last.
The four-year-old newcomer Gandy Man stayed on to purposeful effect, but he was still some two and a half lengths adrift of the winning French-bred at the line.
Family Business, meanwhile, secured the minor honours, a further six and a half lengths adrift.
Purcell, a former Kilkenny All-Ireland winning hurler, remarked: “He deserved it and he’s a grand little horse that is genuine. He’ll give you the same every day he goes out and he needs good ground.”
Gordon Elliot’s Elite Trooper Grey made his initial start in handicap company over timber a winning one by sluicing home in the Mallow Handicap Hurdle.
The blinkered four-year-old quickened clear on the approach to the last and, despite bunny-hopping this final flight, the grey asserted for Kevin Sexton to beat favourite Smithscorner by four lengths.
With Elliot present at Umm House point-to-point in Co Westmeath where he saddled three winners, Sexton said: ”It’s my first time riding Elite Trooper Grey, he didn’t jump great but he always travelled well and I had plenty of horse left.”
John McConnell struck with Streets Of Doyen in the INH Stallion Owners EBF Novice Hurdle over an extended three miles.
Friary Rock still held a fractional advantage over Streets Of Doyen, who never totally took the eye by the manner with which he travelled, on the run to the final flight.
Friary Rock, however, came to grief here as the Simon Torrens-ridden Streets Of Doyen, who was posting a third consecutive success, was left clear to beat outsider Jacksons Gold by one and a half lengths.
Friary Rock’s jockey Phillip Enright attained some consolation by landing the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Beginners Chase aboard Foxy Jacks, who finished ninth in last season’s Grade 1 Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham.
The Mouse Morris-trained Foxy Jacks gave an assured round of fencing and he eased clear from two out to dismiss Coral Blue by eight lengths.
Enright reported: “He jumped great and picked up nicely. On form, you’d be hoping that he would do that.”
Dan Hyde, a 17-year-old sixth year student at Glenstal Abbey, was credited with a second career success aboard his grandfather Timmy Hyde’s On Eagles Wings in the Cork (Pro/Am) Flat Race.
On Eagles Wings took up the running two furlongs out and, while drifting left-handed inside the final furlong, he still beat Mahlers Dollar by six lengths.
The next meeting takes place at Cork on Sunday November 1.