THERE was some stellar fare at yesterday’s Cork jumps meeting with a one-two for the village of Conna in the first division of the Mallow Mares’ Handicap Hurdle as Eamonn Gallagher’s Cailean’s Angel beat Capture The Action, representing Jimmy Mangan.
Cailean’s Angel stepped up from her most recent 11th-placed effort in a Tipperary beginners chase last month by making virtually most of the running in the hands of seven lb claimer Eoin Walsh.
Influential Lady mounted a determined challenge from two out, but the diminutive Cailean’s Angel asserted on the flat.
At the post, she had one and three quarter lengths to spare over Capture The Action while Influential Lady served notice that her turn is imminent by returning a further one and a half lengths adrift in third spot.
“The plan was to go over fences with her,” said Gallagher of Cailean’s Angel, bought by owner Vincent Sheehan from Ballyduff Upper as a foal.
“She was second in this race last year. We said that we could come back here for this race and she’s in again at Wexford on Wednesday.”
With tongue firmly in cheek, Gallagher added: “I actually worked her at Jimmy Mangan’s the other day, I would like to say thanks to Jimmy!”
Denis O’Regan was seen to good effect when bringing the Hilary McLoughlin-trained Pour Sioux through to lead late on in the opening CorkRacecourse.ie Mares’ Maiden Hurdle.
Runner-up Floating Around seemed to make the decisive move by edging ahead at the second last, but last month’s Cork maiden hurdle fifth Pour Sioux was progressing the whole time and she forged to the front in the final strides to beat Ambrose McCurtin’s mount by a half-length.
Dualla-based Miss McLoughlin’s partner Martin Ferris, who himself originally hails from Mallow, reported: “She ran well here the last day with Mark Enright and the plan then was to come back here for this race. A local syndicate in Dualla own her, I told them to have a few quid each-way on her, and today was the day.”
Hugh Morgan, who finished third on Petit Mouchoir in Thursday’s Galway Hurdle, deputised for Gavin Brouder by returning to the coveted number one slot aboard the James Nash-trained grey Diamond Kut in the Adare Manor Opportunity Maiden Hurdle.
The lightly-raced Diamond Kut made all the running and he was being closely pressed by Gallowglass when the latter erred at the final flight.
While Gallowglass rallied gamely as the line loomed, Diamond Kut still obliged by a length in the colours of the HLT Partnership.
Arthur’s Baby, impressive winner of a mares’ maiden point-to-point at Kildorrery in February of last year, justified the lengthy trek from trainer Mark McNiff’s Sligo base by coming home as she pleased under Phillip Enright in the second division of the Mallow Mares’ Handicap Hurdle.
The towering Arthur’s Baby took the eye in running off the pace and she eased through to lead before the last en-route to accounting for Deauville Society by two and three quarter lengths.
“For a big mare, she obviously wants better ground and she’s probably more of a chaser than a hurdler,” reported McNiff of Arthur’s Baby.
The County Wexford pair of handler Brian Jordan and jockey Sean O’Keeffe combined to collect the Fermoy Handicap Hurdle with Knock On Steel.
The seven-year-old Knock On Steel, a winner over fences on his penultimate start at Killarney, jumped impeccably in front and he asserted from the last to see off Broder by one and three quarter lengths.
“He’s a better horse this year as he has matured mentally and fences are really what he wants,” said Jordan.
John McConnell’s Go Another One, who started his career in point-to-points with Killeagh handler Colin Motherway, routed the opposition in the three-mile Thank You To Our Frontline Staff From Cork Racecourse Hurdle.
Go Another One, who at 142 was the highest rated hurdler in the field, made all the running for talented amateur rider Ben Harvey to dismiss former Galway Hurdle winner Tigris River by 17 lengths.
On a terrific day for punters, Gordon Elliot’s Geraldo became the fourth winning favourite of the afternoon by easily landing the closing Dromahane Flat Race under Jamie Codd. The recent Kilbeggan runner-up Geraldo took up the running over a furlong out to dispose of Castlehill Boy by four and a half lengths.
Racing returns to Cork next Saturday.