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AUTUMN 2017: Open and Hunter Chase Horses

AUTUMN 2017: Open and Hunter Chase Horses

The first Open of the 2017/18 season at Castletown-Geoghegan attracted a strong entry of 13, with 12 lining-up making it a highly competitive renewal.

Former Grade 1 winner, Gilgamboa made his point-to-point debut for his connections along with last season’s Champion point-to-pointer, Ourmanmassini who won this race 12-months previous in what was one of eight victories he enjoyed in open company.

It went the way of the Eugene O’Sullivan-trained A Decent Excuse who was returning to point-to-points following six wins on the track along with a further nine placed starts.

The eleven-year-old was ridden to victory by his handler’s nephew, Michael O’Sullivan who also enjoyed his first win in the saddle aboard the son of Fruits Of Love. The pair went onto to record back-to-back victories at Loughrea the following weekend before also winning at Dromahane with Maxine O’Sullivan in November.

The first Mares’ Open of the new season took place at Rathcannon and attracted a small entry of just four with the consistent performer, Wilcosdiana easing to an eighteenth length success for the Eugene O’Sullivan yard.

The daughter of Flemensfirth’s next start saw her line-up in the opening hunter chase of the season at Cork.
Posting another strong front-running display, Wilcosdiana was lucky to survive a final fence mistake to win by 11 lengths over Knockraha Boss. Owned by Tony Wilson, the eight-year-old recently ran at Aghabullogue where she finished a close second to Sydney Paget and looks a likely contender for this year’s Champion point-to-point mare.

Ourmanamssini returned to the winner’s enclosure for his handler, Peter Flood, when he got the better of Gilgamboa by a head with Jody Townend on board at Mainstown in the ladies Open on the first weekend of December.

The former 2015 Ryanair Gold Cup winner, Gilgamboa, recorded his first win since that Grade 1 contest when he took the annual Hunter Chase at Down Royal on St. Stephens Day.

Ridden prominently throughout by Nina Carberry, the son of Westerner led approaching the last and held off the challenge of the former Grade B winner, Venitien De Mai who enjoyed success at Lingstown in November where he won by a comfortable eight lengths and is the current highest rated horse so far this season on 118.

The current second highest rated horse on 116 is the Pierce Power-trained Burning Ambition who made his point-to-point debut at Ballinaboola last February where he finished second to Fightfirewithfire and followed up this run with a win later in the month at Cragmore.

Making his seasonal reappearance at Loughbrickland where he registered his third career success, Burning Ambition stepped up to Open company with ease at Moira in December having beaten Sambremont by eight lengths. The son of Scorpion’s latest start saw him put in an impressive victory to win the Limerick Hunter Chase by a comfortable 13 lengths in the colours of Ed Tynan, Kieran MacLennan, Paul Shanahan and J.P. Magnier.

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