THE monsoon-like weather ensured racing fans lost a couple of local meetings during the week, writes Ned Tierney.
Gowran Park, which traditionally precedes the four-day Tramore festival, was washed away by heavy rainfall (it has been rescheduled for this week) while Tramore lost its first two days. With a busy few days on the racing front it was only possible to save one day, which it had to share with Roscommon on Monday.
Not surprisingly Tramore on Saturday and Sunday was testing however, Willie Mullins and Eoin Doyle kept their supporters happy with a number of winners. Mullins was in double form on the opening day while Doyle got his name on the scoresheet also.
If ever a horse deserved to land a nice prize it was Rattan. Running well in better company he had his day in the sun when pulverising the opposition in the two mile conditions hurdle to open the Mullins account.
Given a patient ride by David Casey the seven-year-old was at on the tail of the leaders until the straight was reached. Once Casey popped the question he shot clear to win unchallenged by 20 lengths from Echo Bob with the Eoin Griffin runner Norther Bay a further four and a half lengths in arrears in third place.
Now that he has found winning ways Rattan, which ran well for a long way in the Galway Hurdle, looks capable of adding to his collection. He is by Royal Anthem, which stands at Denis Phelan’s Tullogher House Stud not far from Mullinavat.
Great Jones completed the Mullins brace with a smooth success in the bumper. The American-bred son of Johannesburg was the only one that punters that wanted to know about, even if there were doubts about his stamina in the conditions as he comes from a fast flat race family.
These concerns proved groundless however, as the five-year-old was almost doing handstands with a couple of furlongs to race. Once Patrick Mullins let him loose he quickened up impressively, drawing away to record a comfortable 12-length winning margin over Lord Lir which was representing the Piltown yard of David O’Brien.
While the value of the race is difficult to assess there is no doubt but the winner did his job well. It will be interesting to see what path Mullins plans out for him.
Mikey Butler, a 5lb claimer, is currently riding out of his skin and gave the Eoin Doyle-trained Alf Wright a peach of a ride to land the two mile and six beginners chase. Sending the King’s Theatre gelding to the front with over a circuit to run, the rider kept enough up his sleeve to see off the challenge of the Mullins-trained favourite Bundle Of fun by half a length.
On the face of things it was certainly a brave move by Butler to commit the horse so early but to his credit Alf Wright kept finding and finding. He is owned by Mullinavat-based Paul Holden, a joint master of the Kilkenny foxhounds, and was bred by Kevin O’Donnell near Gowran.
The opening juvenile hurdle was a muddling affair and went to the Danny Mullins-ridden Mr Lando which had a 47 rating on the level. By virtue of a promising effort at Roscommon on his hurdling bow Southfork started favourite, but after holding a good position throughout the race failed to find as much as expected in the closing stages and had to be content with third place.
In contrast Mullins was in no hurry to take on the leaders aboard Mr Lando, but made the decisive move running to the second last when he took a couple of lengths out of the field. He maintained that gap all the way to the line to land the spoils at the expense of Porterman.
Time alone will tell how good a race this was but it will come as a surprise if many of these in arrears reach any great heights.
Mullins and Doyle were again in form at Sunday’s session. The leading trainer recorded a three-timer, Doyle capturing the two mile handicap hurdle.
Mullins joined forces with his nephew Emmet and the pair were quickly into action taking the first two races on the card. The Trans Island gelding Moveable Feast drew first blood with a smooth victory in the maiden hurdle.
After leading early on Moveable Feast was given a breather by Emmet before arriving full of running at the final flight, from where he pulled away to win snugly by four and a half lengths from Angles Hill.
Dysart Dancer overcame a morning scare when she pulled out stiff to capture the older horses maiden hurdle for the trainer and jockey. Leading early in the straight she stayed on well to land the spoils by three and a quarter lengths at the expense of Samantha Jones.
Dani Catalonia completed the nap hand for Mullins when she finally shed her maiden tag in the bumper. With the trainer’s son Patrick on board the six-year-old led by a furlong and a half out and held the late run of Sitcom by a length and threeparts. The latter ran a highly respectable race for a debutante and is in the right hands to open her account before very long.
Raggletagglegypsy gave Eoin Doyle and Paul Holden their second success of the meeting with an easy success in the 96-116n handicap hurdle. Rider Bryan Cooper elected to chase the leaders on Raggletagglegypsy before improving on the downhill run to the straight. Scooting clear from the penultimate flight Raggletagglegypsy won unchallenged from another Holden-owned horse Obsession.