There was some cracking fare at Friday night’s well-attended jumps fixture at Cork racecourse and the meeting is one that will live long in the memory of Josh Halley from Fethard as he sent out a winner with what was his very first runner as a handler since he was granted his training licence within the past month when Lihyan landed the Sign Up To Our Newsletter Maiden Hurdle for four-year-olds’.
Lihyan, having come fourth on his track debut in a Punchestown maiden hurdle in late May, benefited from frontrunning tactics by recording a pillar-to-post success with Ricky Doyle and he asserted before the final flight to beat Burren Song by a comfortable four lengths.
“He came on a bit from the last day when he finished fourth at Punchestown and he jumped better today. He’s in a long time and we might now give him a bit of a break, “said Halley of the Vendangeur-sired Lihyan, whom he also owns.
The John Ryan-trained Ramondo Dnzeo, so called after the legendary former Italian showjumping rider, vindicated the promise of his third-placed effort at Tipperary in mid-May by recording a battling success in the three-mile Follow Us On Twitter Maiden Hurdle. The five-year-old Ramondo Dnzeo, owned by Mrs Colette Walsh who recently moved from Shanballymore to Dundrum in Co Tipperary with her husband Mick who is the Cork racecourse farrier, edged into a narrow advantage with Donagh Meyler from two out and he stayed on dourly to account for Misty’s Gift by three and a quarter lengths.
“He’s improving the whole time and I always said that he wouldn’t be a horse until he jumps a fence, “remarked jockey Meyler of the former point-to-pointer Damondo Dnzeo, who was actually bred by Gus Murphy from Cobh.
Handler Ryan was incidentally also on the mark with Waitnsee in the 6.50 at Kilbeggan.
The Willie Mullins-trained mare Champagne Problem provided seven lbs claiming amateur Pat Taaffe with a first success over flights by recording a bloodless frontrunning success in the Buy Tickets On www.CorkRacecourse.ie Maiden Hurdle. Champagne Problem, a Sligo bumper winner in August of last year, was soon positioned at the head of affairs and she held a clear advantage from the second-flight. She was never remotely troubled thereafter, 14 lengths separating her from runner-up Royal Romeo.
“She’s enthusiastic at home and has a high cruising speed, but she is able to keep going which is the sign of a good one, “disclosed UCD Law student Taaffe of Champagne Problem, owned by his mother Mrs Elaine Taaffe in partnership with Mrs Tamso Doyle Cox.
Handler Mullins completed a double courtesy of Whiskey Sour in the featured Hothouse Flowers Play Live After Racing Hurdle. Whiskey Sour, winner of the coveted amateur riders flat handicap at the Galway festival, went to the front after erring two out and he held on gallantly in the closing stages with first-time partner Sean O’Keeffe to defeat Darver Star by a half-length.
“I kept asking him in the straight and he kept finding for me. He’s a great little horse and it’s great that he has won again, “said jockey O’Keeffe of Whiskey Sour.
Bennettsbridge, Co Kilkenny-based owner/trainer Liam O’Brien struck with We’llgowats in the Follow Us On Instagram Mares’ Handicap Hurdle. The seven-year-old We’llgowats, who only got into the race as second reserve, was always quite well positioned under Conor McNamara on the inner and she picked up the running between the final two flights to see off Frazel Express by three parts of a length.
“She has just been disappointing all along and I’m delighted that she has won, “remarked O’Brien of We’llgowats, one of eight horses that he presently trains. “We thought that she would win a mares’ maiden point-to-point as a four-year-old, but she wasn’t running the way she worked. Conor [McNamara] gave her a great ride and she will be equally as good over a fence. “ The Gavin Cromwell-trained four-year-old Just Jacob put some previously uninspiring efforts behind him by landing the Mallow Handicap Hurdle. The 92-rated Just Jacob, a respectable eighth on his penultimate start at Down Royal in early May, was left in front when fractional leader Mephisto fell two out and he then made the best of his way home to beat the staying on Sequoiaspirit by one and a half lengths under Sean Flanagan.
Proceedings closed with the Way To Paris At Coolagown Stud Flat Race for four-year-olds’ and the John McConnell-trained Encanto Bruno landed the 17-runner contest in the hands of Ben Harvey. The Mahler-sired Encanto Bruno, winner of a Ballynoe maiden point-to-point on his only previous start when under the care of Killeagh native Colin Motherway, led from two furlongs out to dismiss Cash The Cheque by one and a quarter lengths.
The next Cork meeting takes place on the evening of Friday July 22nd.