DANNY Mullins, who has decided to try his luck across the water with trainer Alan King, made a worthwhile dash back to Punchestown when he partnered Cairdin to a workmanlike success in the two mile and six maiden hurdle on Wednesday.
On ground that was barely race-worthy the Accordion gelding, which is trained by Mullins’s mother Margaret, was a warm order in the betting market on the strength of a prominent showing at Listowel. Danny had him up with the pace right from the drop of the flag but was joined by Ruby Walsh and Sin Palo at the final flight.
It was from here that young Danny showed his considerable artistry as he got down to ride a powerful finish and land the spoils by three-parts of a length. Walsh is a difficult man to get the better of, but Danny showed that given the opportunity he is as good as the best - Sin Palo’s trainer Willie Mullins could hardly disagree. A high class rider on the level, Danny had to change courses due to rising weight but is in a top stable.
Walsh and Mullins had to be content with third place in the two mile maiden hurdle when the well-backed Ceol Rua found Make A Track and Reizovic a shade too good. Trained by Charlie Swan and ridden by Davy Russell, Make A Track raced ahead of mid division in the early stages but improved smoothly to take up the running at the final hurdle and run on well to hit the wire three-parts of a length ahead of Reizovic.
Well regarded by connections the Hernando gelding will not be rushed. Enjoying his first outing in this country since being purchased by the Gigginstown House team for 85,000 guineas at Doncaster in May, the five-year-old looks a nice horse in the making but Swan is unsure if he is at home in such heavy conditions. This looked an above average maiden contest and Reizovic, which was making significant inroads into the winner’s lead, should shed his maiden tag before too long.
The Bach gelding Local Celebrity, which was proving expensive to follow, finally got his head in front when taking the bumper at Clonmel on Thursday.
Owned by Jackie Mullins, trained by her husband Willie and ridden by their son Patrick, Local Celebrity had started favourite in most of his outings so far and it was no different on this occasion. Patrick allowed him to bowl along right from the drop of the flag and although he was joined briefly by Sparville off the home turn he pulled clear to beat the Thomastown-trained Jack The Pirate by three and a half lengths.
A hurdling career now awaits the winner, but the display of the runner-up should be noted. On his first outing since January, Jack The Pirate is bound to improve for the run.
Mick Darcy, who rides many of the Dusty Sheehy horses, was seen to good effect when getting Prince Of Milan home ahead of Twelfth Of Never in the two mile and four beginners chase.
Having shown ability on his first two outings over the major obstacles the Milan gelding subsequently underwent a wind operation which has made a big difference, according to his handler Andy Slattery. Darcy elected to keep the horse close to the leaders before striking for home at the penultimate fence and he was not unduly knocked about to take the money by four and a half lengths from Twelfth Of Never.
Future plans for Prince Of Milan will depend on the handicapper’s assessment of the race. He is a brilliant jumper, according to Slattery, and if rated too highly he could revert to hurdling.
Leopardstown was the place to be on Sunday for the clash of the two unbeaten colts Born To Sea and Nephrite in the Group Three race for juveniles. Big things were expected from Born To Sea and although he ran a fine race he was readily outpointed by Nephrite.
These are two highly talented colts and are bound to clash again next season, most likely in the Irish 2000 Guineas.
Those looking for a certain future winner will no doubt have noted the performance of the Aidan O’Brien-trained Twirl when finishing third in the opening two-year-old fillies maiden. Coming with a wet sail in the straight, the daughter of Galileo was finishing best of all and it will come as no surprise if she turns out better than the winner Eternal Bounty or indeed the runner-up Wonderful in the fullness of time.
There will be plenty of nostalgia at Thurles tomorrow (Thursday) with the first running of the Listed John Meagher Memorial Chase over two mile and six. John was a great supporter of the track and had one of his biggest days there when Monanore, which he also bred, landed the prestigious Molony Cup when trained by his great friend Billy Harney.
A keen amateur rider in his younger days, Meagher was nicknamed ‘Bougoure’ after the legendary Australian jockey Garnie Bougoure, who was attached to the Vincent O’Brien year in the late 1950s and early 1960s. A fitting tribute, it is bound to be a great occasion.