Fiona Mullins gained her second success from as many mounts when guiding Goldboy to a facile victory in the bumper at Naas on Sunday.
A daughter of George Mullins, who runs a hugely successful thoroughbred transport business, Fiona is a niece of Willie (who needs no introduction).
Goldboy, who gave Fiona her initial victory at Clonmel, failed to trouble the judge when favourite in a couple of heavy ground bumpers last term but has shown much better form this season. He was easy enough the back here but that made little difference as he was never too far out of his ground, in spite of running free in the early stage.
Fiona anchored him well before having him right in the firing line well before the straight. Running on strongly, the duo landed the spoils by three lengths from Yes Sir Brian. A good looking son of Gold Well, the winner looks respectable and could head to the Open Meeting at Cheltenham next month for a winners bumper.
Yes Sir Brian, who is trained near Windgap by Garrett Power, ran a fine race in defeat. He was a long priced bumper winner on his debut at Punchestown back in the Spring and was only caught close home in a hot contest at Listowel.
He set out to make all the running but failed to find as much as the winner from the two furlong marker. The fact that he was 15 lengths clear of the third finisher Onwiththeparty would suggest that a similar type contest is well within his range before he goes hurdling.
Dessie Hughes chose the mile and a half 83-96 handicap for the seasonal debut of runaway Triumph Hurdle winner Our Conor. Although the four-year-old ran a decent race fourth place was as good as he could muster behind the narrow winner Ancient Sands.
Racing in mid division Our Conor did not have the clearest of passages in the straight but jockey Danny Mullins was not too hard on him when his chance had gone - he is likely to come on a good deal for the outing. His next engagement is likely to be the Morgiana Hurdle, where he should encounter Hurricane Fly. That will give us a good idea of where he stands in relation to the leading timber toppers.
Racing is full of ups and downs and this was illustrated vividly when leading apprentice Conor King partnered Ancient Sands to victory for the Joanna Morgan yard. King was on his way home from the meeting when he got a call from the trainer that intended jockey Chris Geoghegan failed to do the weight on Morgan’s charge - King had to turn around on the road and make his way back to Naas.
Things worked out to perfection as King settled the five-year-old just behind the leaders. The partnership came wide into the straight before going clear a furlong or so out. At this point Chris Hayes was winding up Stoney Grey to mount a challenge and he finished strongly, but the post arrived in time for Ancient Sands who prevailed by a head.
Tommy Stack and Wayne Lordan have been a lethal combination in recent seasons and they combined yet again to take the mile listed race for fillies and mares with Wannabe Better. The daughter of Duke Of Marmalade was a shade disappointing to connections early in the season, but finally broke her duck at this venue before adding to her collection at Killarney. Slowly away, Wannabe Better gradually got into her stride before taking over at the furlong marker and finding plenty to take the money by two and a half lengths from Mizzava.
Connections have yet to make up their minds about next season, as there is a possibility that the winner could well be retired to the breeding paddocks now she has black-type to her name.
There was plenty of money at fancy prices about the Charlie Swan runner Courage in the two mile and three 98-126 handicap hurdle, but sketchy hurdling took its toll as he finished a well beaten third behind Baresi and Undertheboardwalk.
Trained by Charles Byrnes, Baresi was given a peach of a ride by 7lb claimer Andrew Ring to come with a sustained challenge in the straight and took the lead after the second last before winning by a length and three-parts to the good.
An expensive failure at Gowran Park over three miles on his previous outing the Milan gelding recovered some of those losses. The drop back in trip had the desired effect and he looks as though another decent prize must come his way soon.