THE Autumn Ballindenisk Point-to-Point meeting, run under the auspices of the United Hunt, took place on Saturday and the Patsy Leahy-trained mare Oscar Tonic avenged her second-placed effort at this same meeting 12 months ago by coming home as she pleased under Darragh Allen in the five-year-old and upwards adjacent hunts maiden.
The six-year-old Oscar Tonic (6/4), who was also placed fourth on two occasions over hurdles during the summer, got into a lovely rhythm with Darragh Allen and she sat in third spot as Fireball Breeze took the five runners along. The winning daughter of Oscar, a graduate of the 2018 Fairyhouse August sale that was bred by Edmond Coleman from outside Youghal, overtook runner-up Desert Heather at the penultimate of the 12 obstacles en-route to scoring by 10 lengths.
“She might now go for a mares’ winners race or maybe she could go back over hurdles,“ said Conna-based operator Leahy of his wife Claire’s Oscar Tonic, one of just two horses that he has in harness at present.
Desert Heather’s rider Turlough O’Connor earlier shed his five claiming allowance by steering the six-year-old Cloudy Tuesday (4/1), whom he trains for his aunt Irene Walsh, to a clearcut success in the open.
Cloudy Tuesday, winner of a Thurles hunters chase last season, made his way to the front well before two out and he seemed to have a battle on his plate when Eugene O’Sullivan’s former Cheltenham Foxhunter winner It Came To Pass moved through to hold every chance in second on the run to the last. Cloudy Tuesday though is nothing but tough and he readily maintained the advantage on the run-in to defeat It Came To Pass by one and a half lengths, the pair returning five lengths clear of the favourite Fenno’s Storm in third spot.
“It was great to win the Thurles hunters chase with him last season,” said Newmarket-based O’Connor of Cloudy Tuesday, owned and bred by his aunt Irene Walsh.
There was a dramatic conclusion to the first division of the four-year-old maiden as the Marie Harding-trained newcomer Hiddenvalley Lake was holding a two-length advantage when cruelly carried out by a loose horse approaching the final fence. Ian McCarthy’s debutant Clonshire River (5/1), a towering son of Pour Moi, was then left in front and he swept clear in taking fashion on the flat with Michael O’Sullivan to beat Chance The Robin by 10 lengths.
“He’s a very straightforward horse and his homework was always good,” said former jumps jockey McCarthy of his wife Nicki’s Clonshire River, whom he purchased privately as a two-year-old.
Finian Maguire is riding in points with increasing regularity this autumn and the Laharn Cross amateur combined with handler David Murphy, a Fermoy native that’s now based outside Thurles, to win the five-year-old and upwards mares’ maiden with gambled-on newcomer No Word (6/1 – 6/4).
Koyote set out with the intention of making all, but she was outjumped at the last by the victorious daughter of Shantaram who stayed on determinedly in the closing stages to oblige by one and a half lengths.
“She’s a mare that has always loved a trip and soft ground,” disclosed Murphy of No Word. “She will now hopefully go to the Cheltenham sales next weekend.”
The Colin Bowe-trained Croi Corca (7/2), a diminutive four-year-old daughter of Soldier Of Fortune, recorded her second success of the season and her third in total by landing the fiercely-competitive mares’ winners of two. Croi Corcra forged to the front after the second last to dismiss Midway To Getaway by two and a half lengths. A track campaign is now likely to feature for Croi Corcra.
The father and son team of John and Luke Murphy from Inch in north Wexford combined to collect the second division of the four-year-old geldings’ maiden with newcomer Top Speed (6/1).
The Lucky Speed-sired Top Speed made his way to the head of affairs from halfway and he powered clear from after two out to beat Jet Marshall by 15 lengths in the style of a horse that we will be hearing a lot more about.
Some 16 horses went to post in the five-year-old and upwards geldings’ maiden and the Shark Hanlon-trained Young Buster (6/1) vindicated the promise of his fourth-placed effort behind Lifetime Ambition in a Limerick maiden hurdle back in March by leading from before two out with Tom Hamilton to see off Twilight Glory by two lengths.
“I thought that he would win today and we have been waiting for soft ground to run him,” remarked handler Hanlon. “Tom [Hamilton] was always happy and his owner TJ McDonald from Naas will probably now sell him.”
Next Sunday, the annual Clonmult/Dungourney meeting will take place at Boulta (11.30am start).