With the curtain about to fall on the flat season Coolcullen trainer Jim Bolger has unearthed another smart colt in the shape of Loch Gorman to join Dawn Approach and Trading Leather among the best of the juvenile crop.
The Teofilo colt made a most impressive debut at Navan on Wednesday when defeating the odds on Aidan O’Brien trained favourite Indian Chief to take the mile maiden for unraced 2.y.o’s. Easy enough to back at 6/1 Loch Gorman broke smartly under Kevin Manning and held the early lead, another O’Brien runner Great Explorer then took over but faded from the two furlong marker where Loch Gorman regained the advantage and ran on strongly all the way to the line where he had two and a quarter lengths to spare over Indian Chief.
This was certainly a display that set the tongues wagging and seasoned observers were quick to pencil in the winner as a horse with a future. Manning reported that his mount which is a late maturing individual did what was expected of him, he travelled well through the race and when the rider pressed the ‘go’ button his response was generous and he settled the issue in a matter of strides. While no plans were spoken of post race connections were obviously well pleased with the days work and we can look forward to seeing Loch Gorman reappear in some of the early season Classic trials come next spring.
Ninth consecutive victory
Indian Chief was attempting to give Aidan O’Brien his ninth consecutive victory in this race the conditions of which were changed this year to accommodate newcomers only, he was heavily supported but after being slowly away never threatened to get to the winner.
Bolger and Manning were confidently expected to complete a double in the auction maiden also for juveniles, however their representative Morga failed by a whisker to catch the 16/1 chance Roca Tumu.
Starting at odds of 1/3 after a fine effort at the venue a couple of weeks earlier, she was smartly away and attempted to make all the running butreli9nquished the advantage to Roca Tumu a furlong or so out. at this point the latter looked home and hosed but Morga ran on late and was only a short head in areers at the line. Bred by Tommy Murphy son of the former champion jockey of the same name the winner was reported by his trainer Joanna Morgan to hate the heavy ground and only ran because of the insistence of the owners. He looks a nice colt and will improve the proverbial ton when he encounters good ground.
Thurles opened its gates for the first time this season and Willie Mullins had his customary winner when Pique Sous captured the two mile maiden hurdle for 5&6 y o’s. A high class bumper horse the winner was an expensive failure on his hurdling debut at Cork where he pulled like a train, Mullins decided to let him bowl along on this occasion made every post a winning one to easily account for Dale Street.
Wearing a tongue-tie Pique never looked in any great danger but bigger tests lie ahead. A winners contest is next in line after which his progress will be monitored and future plans made.
Son Of Moyne which is trained just across the border in Blue and Gold territory by Andy Slattery created a major upset when capturing the three mile 85-109 handicap chase in the hands of Tom Carroll. In front from the drop of the flag the Sonus gelding was never headed but his path top victory was made easier when the favourite Kilmurry Kid departed the scene four fences out. Jane Mangan who is fast becoming a rival to Nina Carberry and Katie Walsh followed him home aboard Annacarton with Benefit Scheme finishing third.
The former Kevin O’Donnell inmate Alf Wright has proven to be a good investment for his Mullinavat owner Paul Holden and Mooncoin handler Eoin Doyle and he added to his collection when landing the valuable two mile and three handicap chase at Wexford on Sunday.
Given a stylish ride by Michael Butler the son of King’s Theatre was always close to the pace, Butler sent him on about his business inside the final mile and in spite of being awkward at the last still had enough in hand to win comfortably by four lengths from Code Of The West.
Equally at home over hurdles Alf Wright is still reasonably treated over fences and looks capable of collecting again before very long.
Champagne Agent from the Willie Mullins yard continues to disappoint and connections must be wondering if he is ever going to break his duck over hurdles.
His opportunity seemed to have arrived in the two mile and two maiden hurdle and he went to post a raging hot favourite. After tracking the leaders early on he was one of the first off the bridle and although he plugged on to take third place he was a long way adrift of the winner Bombadero.
Since taking over the reins from his late father-in-law Michael O’Brien former amateur rider Denis Cullen has turned out a reasonable amount of winners but needs a big name in the yard. He told me that Bombadero had been frustrating as he does not always go through with his efforts.
Cullen will wait and see how the handicapper reacts before making any future plans for his charge.