THE annual autumn Ballindenisk point-to-point fixture, stages under the auspices of the United Hunt Club, took place and Shanballymore-based rider Chris O’Donovan had an afternoon to savour.
He partnered a three-timer with the opening leg of his hat-trick coming aboard his father John O’Donovan’s newcomer Shanagh Bob in the opening four-year-old geldings’ maiden.
In a race that saw the biggest afternoon of the field in 15 runners, the Mahler-sired Shanagh Bob (7/1 - 3/1) disputed the running with recent Tattersalls debut third In Limbo until going for home before the penultimate of the 12 obstacles.
The eventual winner was clearly travelling best in front when none too clever at the final fence and he duly defeated the staying on Gorgeous Bob, from the Garrett Ahern stable, by a comprehensive three and a half lengths. The pair returned one and a half lengths clear of the third-placed In Limbo.
“He’s a lovely horse that has always shown a nice bit and we were hoping that he would run well," said rider O’Donovan of Shanagh Bob, called after a family friend Bob Sheedy who hails from Shanagh in the parish of Shanballymore.
Both of O’Donovan’s two remaining winners were both supplied by Declan Queally with the pair initially combining to collect with Lord Schnitzel (evens), much to the dismay of the 11 bookmakers present.
A former Grade 1 placed chaser, Lord Schnitzel moved second on the run to the second-last with the eventual winner overtaking long-time leader Dashing Perk on the run to the final fence to score by four lengths.
Queally remarked of the Klaus Koentopp-owned Lord Schnitzel, who won four points plus a Limerick hunters chase last season: "He’s a horse that’s better off stalking other horses. He will now run in another open next month and the plan then will be then to keep him fresh for the Aintree Foxhunters. I really think that the big fences at Aintree will suit him."
Queally and O’Donovan then combined to collect the mares’ winners of two with Desert Heather (4/6 – 4/7), who was posting a third success of the season in the colours of locally-based Rathcormac breeder Harry Gettings.
The five-year-old Desert Heather led until overtaken by Westie Rose, but the triumphant five-year-old was back in front before two out and she bravely maintained the tempo in the closing stages to contain Eamonn Gallagher’s Tender Heart by a length.
"She’s a mare that stays well and she would be better off getting a lead," commented Queally of Desert Heather. "She could now go back to the track as she would be eligible for an unplaced maiden hurdle while she also has a mark of 85 over fences.
"The Jimmy Mangan-trained homebred grey Breeze Of Wind (3/1) attained due reward for the consistency that saw him placed three times last term by making a triumphant return to action in a competitive renewal of the closing five-year-old and upwards adjacent hunts maiden.
The five-year-old Breeze Of Wind picked up the running approaching the last with Eoin O’Brien to see off favourite Johngus by two and a half lengths.
“Many a good horse won a confined hunts maiden to start with and this fellow should end up as a nice hunter chase in England," said Mangan of his wife Mary’s Breeze Of Wind, who could now be sold.
The Paul O’Flynn-trained Quarry Tiepy (6/1) vindicated the promise of her third-placed return effort at Lisronagh last month by landing the five-year-old and upwards mares’ maiden under Darragh Allen.
The white-faced Quarry Tiepy seemed to have a battle on her plate when challenged by Queen Sophie before two out. However, the winning daughter of Leading Light was in no mood to be denied and she bravely kept My Reprieve at bay in the closing stages to score by a length.
“She had a good run the last day in Lisronagh and we were hoping that she would run a nice race here," disclosed handler O’Flynn of Quarry Tiepy, whom his father Tom shares with Ballygarvan-based breeder John White.
The Mark Scallan-trained The Doyen Chief atoned for his first fence fall at Lingstown the previous Sunday by picking up the running for Jack Hendrick before two out to beat Con’s Roc by two and a half lengths in the five-year-old and upwards geldings’ maiden.
The Clonmult/Dungourney meeting takes place at Boulta next Sunday (12pm start).