Followers of local stables were out of luck at Gowran Park on Sunday when they failed to shine. The only winner that could be considered ‘local’ was Joe Murphy’s Consonance.
Consonance caused a 12/1 upset in the seven furlong 47-76 handicap. Kilkenny born but Fethard based, Murphy gets a great tune out horses under his care, but the Chineur gelding was difficult to fancy on recent form.
A maiden winner at Galway a couple of years ago was his solitary success to date. He has dropped down the ratings in the meantime but encountered traffic problems when coming in for support at the venue last month. Ridden close to the pace by Niall McCullagh, the five year old responded well to urgings in the straight to get up close to home to land the spoils from fellow outsider Moonbi Creek.
In his post race remarks the trainer’s son, Joe reported that Pat Smullen, who rode the horse last time out, told connections that he would win on his next appearance. The advice was spot on and now that Consonance has a competive racing weight he looks capable of scoring again in a similar type contest.
This was the first leg of a double for McCullagh, who later teamed up with Tom Cleary to capture the extended mile and a furlong 47-65 handicap courtesy of Truly Thankful at odds of 16/1.
Springing surprises is nothing new to the daughter of Kalanisi. She was unconsidered in the market when scoring in heavy ground at Listowel in September and has shown little or no form since. She failed to read the script when coming with a sustained run in then straight to lead a couple of furlongs out and hold the sustained challenge of Moreece by half a length.
Cut in ground
A mare that likes a cut in the ground, the winner will not run during the Summer. There is an outside chance she could go hurdling in the Autumn.
Dermot Weld has a great record at the venue and in Tested, who was a comfortable winner of the opening seven furlong fillies race, he has an animal that we could hear a lot about. A Curragh maiden winner last term after which she received rave reviews, the daughter of Selkirk started at cramped odds on what was her seasonal debut.
She was given time to find her feet by 3lb claimer Leigh Roche before taking over inside the two furlong marker and running on well to defeat Colour Blue. Weld told me that he has considered the winner a Stakes filly right from her first piece of work. She is a little timid so he wanted to give her a nice seasonal introduction and will now up her in class.
Tommy Stack will always be remembered for guiding Red Rum to the third of his Grand National victories. He has long since hung up his riding boots, but has carved out a successful career as a trainer. He saddled Ashtaroth to make a winning debut in the mile 3-year-old maiden.
As usual with the Stack runners, Royal Applause came in for some support in spite of the fact that Johnny Murtagh supplied the odds on favourite Gorteo. The latter hit the front at the two furlong marker but was soon swallowed and had to be content with fourth place.
Ashtaroth came from off the pace to deliver her challenge late. She availed of an opening on the rails to lead in the closing strides and take the money by a neck from Mansuri. The Jim Bolger trained Stirabout was a similar distance back in third.
Fozzy Stack, who is assistant to his father, revealed post race that the winner was a weak filly that needed time. She is bred to get further and connections will wait and see how she comes out of the race before making plans.
Jim Bolger did his best to give his big following something to cheer about in the mile 80-100 handicap when his runner, Einsteins Folly, led at the furlong marker. He was reeled in almost on the line and beaten by a neck by Piri Wango.
Trained by former jockey, Ger Lyons, Piri Wango had some nice form as a 3-year-old but had been off the track for over a year and a half. Lyons has his string in rude health at present and he told me the winner had been working well. In spite of his long absence he was expecting a big run.
His is now considering campagaining the horse across the water with Royal Ascot on the agenda.
P.J. Prendergast, grandson of the legendary ‘Darkie’, was another to cause a mild upset when taking the mile and a furlong fillies maiden with Namurian Sunset. Having failed to handle the heavy ground at Leopardstown on her first outing of the season Namurian Sunset was much more at home on this better surface. She led before the halfway point and with McCullagh keeping enough up his sleeve for the finish hit the wire a length and a half to the good from Dancing Soprano.