THE Charles Byrnes-trained All Those Years got the afternoon off to the best possible start for punters at Cork on Saturday by justifying strong market support from 7/1 into 9/4 favourite to win the Cork Racing To Cork Rated Novice Hurdle over two miles on his return from a near 14-month lay-off.
All Those Years, sporting the familiar JP McManus silks, was absent since finishing fourth in a Thurles maiden hurdle in November 2020 and he always took the eye in running in mid-division. Having moved into second with Mark Walsh three out, All Those Years was outjumped over the final two flights by fractional leader De Lady In Red. The winning British-bred however still got on top inside the final 50 yards to edge out the gallant De Lady In Red by a half-length with a four and a half length break to the third-placed The Little Yank.
“He’s a horse that has had his problems and he was pretty fit coming here,“ said Byrnes of the eight-year-old All Those Years. “I will find a 0-130 handicap for him over two miles and I think there’s one at Thurles in a few weeks time.“
The Liam Burke-trained mare Rebel Early posted a fourth career success by coming home as she pleased under Darragh O’Keeffe in the featured Racing Again March 24 Handicap Hurdle. Rebel Early, homebred by her handler’s Winacre Stables in Glengoura, jumped into the lead at the second last and she powered clear before the final flight to see off long-time leader Carrigeen Lotus by five lengths.
The late Jerry Nolan from Fairhill in Cork city was a pivotal member of the Simply The Best Syndicate in whose colours Rebel Early runs.
Handler Burke disclosed: “Jerry [Nolan] was with me since 1986 and Thyne Again, who won a Grade 1, was a horse that took us to Cheltenham. Jerry, who died last month, was my backbone and the horses have been taken over by his brother James."
Timoleague-based handler Padraig Butler was credited with his second winner on the racecourse when recent Boulta point-to-point winner Fons Vivus made a triumphant start to her track career in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Mares’ (Pro/Am) Flat Race. Fons Vivus made all the running with Darragh Allen from Araglen to beat Henning by four and three-quarter lengths.
"I’m delighted with that as we knew that she would handle the soft ground after she won her point in Boulta last month," said owner/trainer Butler of Fons Vivus.
Dancing Jeremy impressed by sauntering home on his first start for almost 15 months under his trainer Tom Cooper’s son Bryan Cooper in the AIB Merchants Pay By Link Beginners Chase. The grey Dancing Jeremy eased to the front on the inner two-out en-route to dismissing Thedancingfarrier by three and three-quarter lengths in the silks of Frank Reynolds.
The elder Cooper said: “Derek O’Connor did a wonderful job pre-training this horse and he came to me two and a half months ago. This race today suited him and he was winging his fences. I will look for a handicap chase for him now."
Favourite backers suffered a major reverse in the CorkRacecourse.ie four and five-year-old Maiden Hurdle as Willie Mullins’ 1/4 shot Adamantly Chosen, winner of last season’s Goffs Land Rover bumper at Punchestown, failed by three parts of a length to cope with Ebasari. The Gordon Elliot-trained four-year-old Ebasari, who mas making his debut over hurdles, challenged from three out and he was faster away from the final flight with three parts of a length ultimately separating him from Adamantly Chosen.
“He was fit and ready today and he handled the ground very well. He schooled well at home and he has a nice way of jumping," reported Ebasari’s jockey Davy Russell.
The Henry de Bromhead-trained Shantreusse, runner-up to Ginto in a Navan bumper last year, came home at his leisure with Rachael Blackmore in the three-mile Happy New Year From All At Cork Maiden Hurdle. Shantreusse led from three out and he was containing Mahler Allstar when Jimmy Mangan’s charge exited at the last with the winning son of Shantou then defeating Corbeau by 17 lengths.
Blackmore remarked: "Shantreusse was a good second [at Punchestown] the last day and he loved the three miles here. He jumped really well and is a lovely horse going forwards."
John Flavin’s Street Value once again showed his appreciation for a deep underfoot surface by opening his account over fences in the Gain Handicap Chase. Street Value, a dual winner over hurdles last year, jumped into the lead with Danny Mullins at the second last and he returned with six lengths to spare over Carrolls Cottage.
“He loves this ground and won two hurdle races this time last year," disclosed Flavin of the Miracle Cure Syndicate-owned Street Value. “He’s a lovely horse and we’ll see what the handicapper does now."
The next meeting at Cork takes place on Thursday, March 24.