The Limerick Foxhounds Bruff fixture at Rathcannon had accumulated the strongest entry of last weekend’s fixtures with a total of 76 entries. Dissapointingly, only 31 horses were declared to run over the six races, where reigning regional champion Derek O’Connor claimed riding honours by adding a further three winners to his autumn season tally.
A rather unusual event took place in the Dave Clarkes bar five-year-old geldings’ maiden resulting in a walkover, as the Enda Bolger-trained Youcannotbeserious was the only declared runner, and trotted across the line in the hands of O’Connor.
The JP McManus-owned gelding had some decent track form from the last 12-months, including finishing two and three-quarter lengths second to Montalbano in a maiden hurdle at Leopardstown during their Christmas festival meeting.
Recent Loughrea winner, Knockraha Boss, had provided O’Connor with a double in the O’Flynn’s Centra Bruff winners’ of two. An eight length winner last Sunday, the son of Golan only faced one other rival in Sliabh Mhuire Lass, also a winner at the Co. Galway track when having taken her maiden at their fixture in April.
The Adrian Maguire-trained winner, who won his six-year-old-and-upwards maiden at Rathcannon two years previously, was carrying the colours of the exors of the Late Michael O’Donoghue.
“I’m delighted for Benjo and Joker who are sons of the horse’s late owner, Michael. They are delighted Derek has ridden a winner for them. He will stay pointing this season and may go for a hunters chase before the New Year”, reported winning handler Maguire.
Local handler Eric McNamara enjoyed success in the Tattersalls Ireland four-year-old maiden when his debutant I Can’t Explain took the opening race of the day for Michael Greaney. Ridden prominently by Johnny Barry, I Can’t Explain, who was bought for €15,000 at last year’s Land Rover sale and who is out of a half-sister to Strong Flow, led from the penultimate obstacle before the by the Pat Doyle-trained Chateau Marmont loomed as a danger before coming to grief at the final fence.
The good looking son of Getaway quickened well on the run-in to stretch clear of his remaining rivals by 12-lengths, with the long-time leader, Different Spot, filling the runners-up spot.
A delighted McNamara commented after the race: “I have always thought he was a very good horse. He schooled over fences at Tipperary a few weeks ago and I was confident coming here today. Michael Greaney who has worked as my head travelling lad for many years owns him and he will be for sale now”.
The 11-time national champion completed his treble in the Bruff point-to-point committee six-year-old-and-upwards maiden, when the William Murphy-trained Johnny Sue made his pointing debut a winning one.
The son of Alkaadhem, who is owned by Donie O’Toole, had been lightly campaigned on the track, running just three times within a two-year period, and was last seen finishing thirteenth in a Kilbeggan maiden hurdle in April. Travelling well throughout in the testing conditions, the six-year-old gelding eased to a seven length victory over the Tom Nagle-trained Crookesmoor.
“He had a good run as a four-year-old but has had a few setbacks with injuries. He would prefer better ground and will probably stay pointing for the time being. I am delighted to be able to give Donie a winner as he is a local supporter of mine”, stated Murphy after the race.
O’Connor had looked like adding to his tally on the day only for his mount, Robin On The Hill, to be collared on the run-in by Daisy Chicks in the Tim McAuliffe five-year-old-and-upwards mares’ maiden.
The winning daughter of Milan, who had been well beaten on four previous track runs, appeared to enjoy the soft ground conditions and battled hard from the final fence to win by three lengths. The Eoin O’Brien-ridden winner was carrying the colours of the Meath-based Do Your Best Syndicate who were on hand to welcome back their winner.
“Eoin gave her a great ride and her runs over hurdles stood to her today on the ground. She will probably go back to the track now”, commented O’Grady.
Seventeen-year-old Michael O’Sullivan continued his good run of form by registering his third career winner, ensuring he has ridden a winner on each of the opening three weekends of the season.
Wilcosdiana, the latest horse to provide the promising young rider with success when easing to an 18-length victory over Bloodstream in The Old Bake House Restaurant mares’ open lightweight for novice riders. The seven-year-old daughter of Flemensfirth has been a consistent servant since making her debut at Curraheen in April 2016, having not finished outside of the first four on her eight subsequent starts.
Trained to success by Eugene O’Sullivan for Aghabullogue-based Tony Wilson, O’Sullivan reported: “She is a lovely mare and will now go for the hunters chase at Cork next month”.