Week Eight - Knockanard,Clonmel and Punchestown (17/2/2002)

Three Sunday meetings this weekend, with big fields at Knockanard & Punchestown, and a number of potential future stars on view.

The North County Cork venue staged ten races, including two, three way divisions. Local trainer/rider Paul Cashman landed a treble, and Paul Crowley, older brother of UK based professional Brian, recorded a double.

The opening race of the afternoon was a 5-year-old maiden, last year won by Keen Leader. Its doubtful if anything of his calibre was on view in this race, nonetheless a number of promising types emerged. Victory went the way of the Tom Lombard ridden Executive Ace (Ex Perk), which was prominent throughout, jumping crisply, led 2 out and stayed on strongly from Silver Birch (Clearly Bust). The latter led until the second last, and looks a perfect type for UK middle distance races under rules. Third home Foxey Dove (Bold Fox) never got to terms with the principals, and John Berry's Oyster Shell (Be My Native) ran a race suggesting imminent future victory taking 4th. In a strongly run race others bound to improve for the run were debutants Arctic Charm (Montelimar), Moslob (Black Monday), and Grey Report (Roselier). Wayward Magic (Magical Strike) from the Cashman camp showed enough to suggest that he can win on a easier circuit.

The Mares Winner of 2 produced a cracking finish, with Killeagh winner Tell Me See (6 Glacial Storm) (5/2) out pointing Appel Island (8 Duky) in a driving finish. The winner will be heading for a mares bumper on the track in the next few months, and looks up to scoring in that grade. Third home Pretty Young Thing tried to make all and repeat last years win in this race but was a spend force from the 2nd last. The fourth Misty Native (7 Be My Native) (9/4 fav) did not enjoy the best of passages, and looks certain to atone in the not too distant future.

Star Open horse Dans Your Man (1/2) made all, for a dominant success in the days feature race. The Cashman team were talking afterwards about having a crack at the Cheltenham Foxhunters. I advised them to give the race a miss, as I feel the horse is very ponderous at the open ditches on the track proper and tends to lose ground and become disappointed. I hope for the horses sake that they listened to my advice. This race had a certain novelty value as it featured the pointing debut of Arabian Story (9 Sharrood) which was last seen finishing 6th in the 1997 Melbourne Cup. This high-class grey was held up out the back to get the trip, but flew over the final half mile to finish a clear second, without ever challenging the winner. I must say that Arabian Story jumped like a stag, and the fences on the Knockanard circuit are some of the biggest in the country. On this performance Arabian Story could possibly be a well above average two-mile chaser, and as he is only nine, it may be worth taking him down this route.

The 6 year old & upwards geldings maiden was divided three ways. Division 1 was won by Summers Day (6 Roselier) (5/2) who easily dismissed the challenge of his chief rival Aughmor River (7 Over The River) (2/1). Summers Day, a compact grey, looked an out and out stayer and was delivering on the promise his showed at Lisgoold in January.

Paul Barber & Paul Nicholls had travelled over from England for the day, primarily to see Barber's Whispering John (6 Grand Plaisir) (4/7) run in Division 2. This runner up at Killeagh was always struggling to go the pace, and had to settle for a well-beaten second behind General Confusion (8 Invader General). The latter paid a big compliment to his Killeagh conqueror Lissglassheen.

Division 3 featured another odds on favourite in the shade of Dungarvan faller Kirribilli (4/9), but he folded tamely at the 4th last. In one of the days most competitive climaxes, James Sheehan demonstrated his strength in the saddle forcing home newcomer Boys Don't Cry (7 Willie Joe) to claim Hogan's Pass (8 Brush Aside) & and the promising Follow The Flow (6 Over The River) on the run in. Coolnahilla (6 Roselier) caught the eye running on to take 4th under tender handling.

Favourite backers having suffered a few setbacks got themselves off the ropes when Silken Thyne (2/5) won the adjacent maiden, making all to score by 6 lengths. This 6-year-old son of Good Thyne had finished second to Keen Leader on this track last year, prior to finishing 4th in a bumper. Silken Thyne will certainly win on the track.

The final race the 6 year and upwards mares maiden attracted 45 runners and was divided 3 ways. Division 1 was won by the experienced mare China Storm (9 Glacial Storm) who was too strong for the Cashman's mare Sunset View (6 Good Thyne) (5/2 fav).

Division 2 was the most competitive of the divides, in which a gamble on debutant Kilcowan (6 Beau Sher, 1/2 sister to Alcapone) (8/1 to 5/2) came unstuck, when she fell 3 out when bang in contention. This left the favourite Cush Jewel (6 Ex Perk) (9/4) & Cherry Ride (7 Kings Ride) (4/1) fighting it out on the climb for home. The seasons leading jockey John Thomas McNamara then sat tight on Cush Jewel after she blundered at the last and kept her up to her work to fend off Cherry Ride.

Division 3 witnessed the third leg of the Paul Cashman treble when the favourite Chione (6 Mandalus) (3/1) atoned for running out at Tallow last week when leading all the way, eventually eased to win by 3 lengths.

Horses in red considered future winners

Knockanard- 2 & 3/4 circuits, 14 fences, right handed. Going Good to Soft, Good in places.
1-Geldings Maiden 5 Yr Only
1-Executive Ace---T Lombard

2-Silver Birch
3-Foxey Dove             6l, 3l. 17 Ran.          

1-Dans Your Man---P Cashman

2-Arabian Story
3-Bucringboy               3l, 1l. 8 Ran.

3-Mares Winners Of Two
1-Tell Me See---J Burke

2-Appel Island
3-Pretty Young Thing   3/4l, 20l. 12 Ran.

4A-Geldings Maiden 6 Yrs+ ----Division 1
1-Summers Day---P Crowley

2-Aughmor River
3-Indian Glen                   3l, 6l. 14 Ran.

4B-Geldings Maiden 6 Yrs+ ----Division 2
1-General Confusion---P Tobin

2-Whispering John
3-Viaduct                        4l, 10l. 14 Ran.

4C-Geldings Maiden 6 Yrs+ ----Division 3
1-Boys Don't Cry---J G Sheehan

2-Hogan's Pass
3-Follow The Flow            1/2l, 4l. 14 Ran.

5-Adjacent Hunts Maiden 5 Yrs+
1-Silken Thyne---P Cashman

2-South Queen Lady
3-Always Something          6l,Dist. 9 Ran.

6A-Mares Maiden 6 Yrs+ ----Division 1
1-China Storm---P Crowley

2-Sunset View
3-Jimmy's Pride                  10l, 5l. 15 Ran.

6B-Mares Maiden 6 Yrs+ ----Division 2
1-Cush Jewel---J T McNamara
2-Cherry Ride
3-Little Nancy                      3l, 2l. 15 Ran.

6C-Mares Maiden 6 Yrs+ ----Division 3
1-Chione---P Cashman

3-Hazlewood                       3l, 2l.  15 Ran.

The going was very testing at Clonmel where as usual they raced on the inside of the racetrack proper.

The opening confined Tipperary hunt race has always been competitive and won in the past by horses of the calibre of Boss Doyle. The latter was trained to win his point here 6 years ago by Holycross trainer Pat Doyle, and once again he supplied this year's winner in the shape of Manavite (7 Invited) who left some earlier poor efforts behind to coast to an unchallenged success. However his passage was made considerably easier by the early departure of the day's big gamble Freeby (5 Ex Perk) (6/1 to 6/4), who for the third time on the bounce this season came out second best in an encounter with a fence.

Pat Doyle's Lord Who (5 Mr Lord) sported similar unwanted credentials as Freeby, having fallen in his two previous runs at Dungarvan & last week at Tallow. But this 1/1 favourite ran his rivals ragged in the 5 year old maiden to achieve a distance victory, and a double for the Doyle yard. Lord Who is a name to remember when he appears on the track proper. Remote third Barkel (5 Aaysaylad) showed some potential.

Just as impressive was newcomer Native Playboy (6 Be My Native) who looked a horse with huge potential when collecting the 6-year-old geldings maiden. Always in contention, Russell Ross kicked Native Playboy clear with a circuit to race and he came home unchallenged. He may have beaten little of merit, but there was no mistaking the authority of Native Playboy's success.

Catherine's Dream (6 Husyan) showed marked improvement from a tame effort at Tallow last week to score a commanding victory in the 6-year-old mares maiden.

But the most dramatic race of the afternoon was the 5-year-old mares maiden. Dishy (Jurado) was a distance clear and had the race in safe keeping when she fell at the second last. Jockey Mark Cahill quickly remounted, jumped the last without the aid of stirrups and still managed to steer Dishy to a remarkable 15-length victory. 

Clonmel-2 & 1/2 circuits, 13 fences, right handed. Going Heavy.
1-Confined Maiden 5 Yr+
1-Manavite---A Fitzgerald

2-Sherbourne Guest
3-Sixes And Sevens        10l,Dist. 10 Ran.

2-Mares Maiden 5 Year Old Only
1-Dishy---M Cahill

2-Shauna's Pet
3-An Cupla                       15l, 10l. 14 Ran.

3-Geldings Maiden 5 Year Only
1-Lord Who---PJ Colville

2-Mr Dance A Lot
3-Barkel                           Dist, 1/2l. 18 Ran.

4-Geldings Maiden 6 Year Only
1-Native Playboy---R Ross

3-China Box                       Dist, Dist. 8 Ran.

5-Mares Maiden 6 Years Only
1-Catherine's Dream---B Moran

2-Fiddlers Bar
3-Eastertide                         30l,10l. 10 Ran.

1-A Good Mistake---J Conheady

2-Cousin Joe
3-Glenahary Rose                   1l,10l. 10 Ran.   

They raced on the inside of the racetrack also at Punchestown and a marathon 12 race card produced many commendable performances.

Kerry's Cross (7 Phardante) (5/4) landed the odds for favourite backers in the opening hunt event. This Gerry Cusack trained mare a course and distance winner last year was never in danger of defeat.

The 1st & 2nd Divisions of the Adjacent Hunts Maiden were won by horses with solid track form, namely Cathy Harrison's Flash Flood (7 Comm Run) & Martin Brassil's Liquor Merchant (7 Magical Strike). In the 3rd Division Denis Reddan's Mister Pepper (6 Leading Counsel) looked sure to collect going to the last, but failed to go through with his effort & presented the race to Grove Nettle ( 7 Torus). A couple of note from these maidens were Lord Rockfield (6 Mr Lord) & Handsome Gigalow (5 Phardante) who should be capable of winning maidens in their own right.

Tony Martin saddled the favourites in both divisions of the novice riders Open. Martin's Butsy's Honour (7 Salluceva) an impressive winner last year at Ballon, was never sited in Division 1 won by the well-exposed Kyle Lad. 

Hollybank Buck, Tony Martin's former Eider Chase winner finished a never nearer 4th in the 2nd Division which was won with surprising ease by Hornblower (7 Goldneyev).

Fork Lightning (6 Roselier) looked a horse with a big future in front of him when bolting up in the 1st Division of the 6 Year Old Maiden. In this contest another Tony Martin trained runner Millenium Tommie (6 Husyan) was noted make strong late progress to peg 4th place. Cathal McCarthy's Ballybay Demesne (6 Bob Back) had to work hard to win the 2nd Division.

Cockney Rainbow (5 Rainbows for Life) & hitherto luckless Eyelash (5 Supreme Leader) collected the mares maidens. More Class (5 Phardante) second to the latter shaped as a definite future winner.

Punchestown-2 circuits,14 fences, right handed. Going Soft/Heavy.
1-Confined Hunt Open
1-Kerry's Cross---JD Moore

3-Carneden Rose                       6l,4l. 12 Ran.

2A-Adjacent Hunt Maiden 5 Yrs+ ----Division 1
1-Flash Flood---JJ Dullea 

2-Wispy Mist

3-Lord Rockfield                         25l,5l. 14 Ran. 

2B-Adjacent Hunt Maiden 5 Yrs+ ----Division 2
1-Liquor Merchant---R Loughran

2-Handsome Gigalow
3-Misty River                             4l,1 1/2l. 14 Ran. 

2C-Adjacent Hunt Maiden 5 Yrs+ ----Division 3
1-Grove Nettle---R Quinlan

2-Mister Pepper
3-Ammanati                                    1l,5l. 13 Ran.

3A-Open Novice Riders ----Division 1
1-Kyle Lad---J Howard

3-Ballyday Dazy                             5l,10l. 15 Ran. 

3B-Open Novice Riders ----Division 2
1-Hornblower---R Lavery

3-Buggy                                           8l,3l. 15 Ran.

4A-Geldings Maiden 6 Year Only ----Division 1
1-Fork Lightning---L Lennon

3-Shackleton                                     2l,2l. 14 Ran.

4B-Geldings Maiden 6 Year Only ----Division 2
1-Ballybay Demesne---S McGonagle

2-Mr Ben
3-Shibas Prince                      2 1/2l, 2 1/2l. 13 Ran.

5A-Mares Maiden 5/6 year Old Maiden ----Division 1
1-Cockney Rainbow---P Buchanan

2-Taylor Rose
3-Shanwalla                                       8l,8l. 15 Ran.  

5B-Mares Maiden 5/6 Years Old Maiden ----Division 2
1-Eyelash---B Hamilton

2-More Class
3-Tullywood Queen                              4l,3l. 14 Ran.

6A-Geldings Maiden 7 Year Old Only----Division 1
1-Sweet Torus---C Murphy

2-Dionn Righ
3-Over The Urrin                             1 1/2l,4l. 13 Ran.

6B-Geldings Maiden 7 Year Old Only-----Division 2
1-Fethard Lord---P Buchanan

2-Felix Dar 3-Red Nell                                         2l,10l. 14 Ran.