Draperstown handler Noel Kelly was again successful at his local course when Bracka Lily landed the long distance mares’ Molson Coors handicap hurdle writes Joe Kavanagh.
The winner supplied a spare winning mount for Danny Mullins. He had replaced Conor Orr who was fined £600 from failing to turn up at the track. The locally owned and trained mare was always prominent prior to victory and beat the well supported favourite, Walking Memphis which went down in the betting from 5’s to 7/2 denying Gavin Cromwell a double.
Kelly said: “Fair play to the stewards for letting us run (with Danny Mullins putting up 4lbs overweight). They could have been very awkward and not let us run. All the owners are here and they didn’t make too much of a fuss. He rode her very well and is a very shrewd jockey.”
Kelly doubled up on the day when course specialist Canadian Steel recorded a facile win the staying handicap hurdle supported by Hannon Travel – the local trainer also providing the third placed Oscar Light. Top jockey with jockey Jody Mc Garvey the beneficiary of the absence of Conor Orr replacing him in the saddle and had the race in safe keeping a long way out.
Kelly who was registering his first ever double said: “We’ll have to go to Tramore on Thursday before the handicapper gets a hold of us now! He’s improving all the time and he is going well. I still think he is a better horse over fences than over hurdles – he’s a savage jumper over fences and travels that well over fences. I’ll be in Spain on Thursday but I’ll be able to watch it!”
Racing got underway with hot favourite, Rebel Og having looked set for victory getting beat by the Noel Meade trained Star Adventure on his hurdles’ debut. The Mullins favourite had hit the front two out but was well out pointed after the last by the winner partnered by Sean Flanagan with 100/1 Castle Canny trained beside the track by Brian Hamilton and Danny Mc Menamin who started his career with the local trainer but now based with Nicky Richards travelling over for the mount to finish a close runner up as the favourite finished third.
Meade said: “We were disappointed in Killarney when she ran but it was a bit soon after the previous run. I actually bought the one that won in Killarney (Glint In Her Eye) the other day, so she looks kind of reasonably good value now.”
Herbiegoesbannas returning from a lengthy absence was another favourite to flop which finished fourth for the champion trainer as Effernock Lad made all to score under Mark Flanagan in the handicap hurdle. The Gerry Keane-trained winner was briefly joined before four out by Derecho Storm which sustained serious injury and pulled up after which the winner basically had the race in safe keeping as challenging Tagg’s Island unseated his rider three from home.
Panther Soul eased from 1/3 to 6/4 completed a hat-trick of disappointments for Willie Mullins in the staying maiden hurdle when only managing fourth behind the very easy winner Summer Hill. The John Ryan-trained victor showed no ill effects from running the previous evening at Kilbeggan with Hugh Morgan replacing Liam Quinlan in the saddle – leading from halfway for an easy success. Ryan said: “He didn’t handle the track at all last night in Kilbeggan – he would have won if he handled it. I pulled him out this morning and gave him a canter and he looked good. He’ll go to the Listowel festival.”
The Rated Hurdle again saw the picture change late as Road To Dubai having lead at the penultimate hurdle was readily overhauled by the Gavin Cromwell-trained Darver Star with Jonathan Moore in the saddle and Victoria Bay running on late to relegate the favourite to third.
Cromwell said: “We gave him a break and freshened him up. He might jump a fence at some stage in time too.” Gordon Elliott leading trainer at the venue had to wait until the finale to get on the score board with Jamie Codd asserting in the dip aboard Soldiers Hill to claim the bumper. Codd said: “He is a good prospect and he’s actually very nice. He’s going to make a real fun kind of spring/summer horse.”