The success story of the O’Neill family from Kells continued at Naas on Saturday when Rory O’Moore simply destroyed the opposition to take the opening maiden hurdle in the hands of Andrew McNamara. A three time bumper winner, the Stowaway gelding was not disgraced when finishing second at Galway on his most recent appearance, writes Ned Tierney.
Although the Jessica Harrington runner Operating was an odds on favourite, Rory O’Moore also had his admirers. McNamara allowed him to bowl along after the second flight of hurdles and it was clear from a long way out that the opposition were stone cold. Keeping up the relentless gallop the seven year old crossed the finishing line no less than 31 lengths to the good from Operating.
This was a real family victory as Rory O’Moore is owned and was bred by Debbie O’Neill. He is trained by her father Ronnie, and for good measure Stowaway stands at the family stud. In his post race remarks the winning trainer revealed that his charge is better when going left handed. He will now be upped in class, and on this evidence it will l take a smart one to lower his colours.
Jessica Harrington had better luck in the following Grade3 Hurdle when Jezki ran out a comfortable winner under Barry Geraghty. A warm order in the betting market, the son of Milan, was stepping up in class after breaking his duck at the venue a couple of weeks previously. Geraghty allowed him plenty of time to get used to the higher tempo, but in truth he was always travelling well within himself.
He arrived on the bridle to throw down the gauntlet to the leading Un Beau Matin at the penultimate hurdle. From there he drew steadily clear to win comfortably by eight lengths from the latter. Ms Harrington told me that she was more than pleased by the display as she was worried about the ground, but the horse coped well with it. His next target will be the Royal Bond Novice Hurdle where his will put it up to the best of them.
The big disappointment of the race was the well regarded Hisaabaat from the Dermot Weld stable. He was giving plenty of weight away but still ran an inexplicitly poor race. His rider Andrew Lynch later announced that the horse was hating the ground and was left behind when the leaders quickened up before the straight.
He will come on from the run but needs to improve considerably if he is to justify the esteem in which he is held.
Noel Meade’s horses are running well at the present time. He recorded a brace courtesy of Texas Jack and Ned Buntline. The Curtain Time gelding Texas Jack set the ball rolling with a workmanlike success in the two mile and three beginners chase. Winner of the 2011 Goffs Land Rover Bumper as well as a couple over hurdles, Texas Jack was tasting fences for the first time in public.
He has a following in the betting market and started joint favourite with the Paddy Hughes trained Teelin Star. Never too far out of his ground, the Meade runner came for his race in the straight but had to battle before seeing off the challenge of the Charlie Swan representative Make A Track by a length.
Meade told me that a run over hurdles at the venue a couple of weeks earlier made his charge strip a fit horse. He looks a natural over fences and will probably have the Drinmore Chase as his next objective.
Ned Buntline justified some inspired support to complete the Meade brace in the bumper in spite of the presence of the Willie Mullins trained City Slicker. An expensive 3-year-old purchase, City Slicker was weak in the market but seemed to be travelling well before the straight. He dropped out from there and finished well adrift of the principals, but write him off at your peril as the bumper runners from the yard have yet to hit concert pitch.
Partnered by Nina Carberry, Ned Buntline was dropped out early on but made eye catching progress on the run to the home turn. Without Ms Carberry having to move a muscle he coasted into the lead inside the last furlong to win in a common canter from Milan Bound.
There was no mistake about Meade’s admiration for the winner. He told me that this is the best horse that he has had for some time. He is getting stronger almost by the day but he will have to discuss with the owner J.P. McManus or his racing manager, Frank Berry, as to where he goes next.
Meade himself is favouring a tilt at a maiden hurdle over the Christmas, but one thing is for certain his next appearance is eagerly awaited.