THE Stephen Ryan-trained Gallowglass brought off a major gamble at Cork’s jumps meeting on Saturday by winning the Follow Us On Instagram Rated Novice Hurdle.
Gallowglass, having been supported in the morning from 12/1 to 9/2 at the off, made smooth progress from three out to lead just before the last with Kevin Brouder. Gallowglass then strode clear on the flat to beat Joeswayornoway by four and a half lengths in the colours of the Executors of the late William G Fitzgerald.
“He ran at Christmas, but the deep ground was doing him,“ confessed handler Ryan. “We then said that we would put him away for the nice ground, but his owner [William Fitzgerald] sadly died over the past few weeks. He’s a smashing horse, but the ground is very important to him.“
There was another major gamble landed later in the day as the Sam Curling-trained Call Me Freddie, having been available at as big as 40/1 earlier in the day, recorded a last-gasp success by justifying 11/4 favouritism under substitute jockey Rachael Blackmore in the second division of the Mallow Handicap Hurdle over three miles. Although having to be ridden in second spot after three out, the 85-rated Call Me Freddie hit the front inside the final 50 yards to eclipse Wild Atlantic Lady by a neck.
“He was very disappointing on soft ground, but he did a few nice bits of work recently,“ said owner/trainer Curling of Call Me Freddie. “We will tip away with him for the summer and he will also jump a fence.“
Conna-based handler Seamus Spillane, fresh from a double at this same venue on Easter Monday, sent out the mare Goulane Jessie to win the first division of the Mallow Handicap Hurdle. Goulane Jessie made the best of her way home for Denis O’Regan from two out to dismiss Ask David by two and three quarter lengths.
“We thought that the ground might be a bit quick for her today, but the three miles was a big help to her,“ said handler Spillane’s son Dinny of Goulane Jessie, owned and bred by Mrs Mary O’Donnell from Ring. “We would like to win a chase with her too and she might also be covered this year.“
The Eric McNamara-trained Groveman sprung a 25/1 surprise in the Follow Us On Twitter Handicap Hurdle. Groveman assumed command with his handler’s son Conor after the last to beat long-time leader Sean Says by three parts of a length.
“He wants every yard of two and a half miles and we were hoping that the step up in trip would suit him,“ reported McNamara of Groveman, owned by the Scobie Wan Kenobi Racing Club that’s headed by Scobie Hogan from Meanus.
The Willie Mullins-trained Farout hinted that a bright career lies in wait by destroying the opposition in the Thanks To All The Frontline Workers 4-Y-O Maiden Hurdle. The winning grey eased to the front clearly travelling best on the inner with his handler’s nephew Danny Mullins before two out and he then stormed clear to contain the 110-rated Son Of Hypnos on what was just his second start over hurdles.
The Mullins’, Willie and Danny, went on to complete a quick double courtesy of Manitopark Aa in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Mares’ Maiden Hurdle. Manitopark Aa atoned for finishing second on her previous start when odds on favourite in a Fairyhouse maiden hurdler over Easter by disputing the running virtually throughout until forging clear from two out to account for outsider Glory For Molly by four lengths.
Both of the Mullins winners justified favouritism and Joseph O’Brien likewise sent out a victorious favourite as his Meticulous, owned by Michael Tabor, easily won the Fermoy Maiden Hurdle over an extended three miles. Meticulous was always travelling best once sent to the front by JJ Slevin after two out and he accounted Don’t Matter Now by four and a quarter lengths.
24-year-old Aoife Fahey from Monasterevin recorded a first career success by winning the closing Irish Stallion Farms EBF 4-Y-O Fillies’ Flat Race aboard her father Jarlath Fahey’s newcomer Battling Bessie.