Stephen Connor began the new season on a winning note when he steered the Timmy Hyde-trained debutant Whisperinthebreeze to victory in the Winners Enclosure Bookmakers four-year-old maiden.
A £44,000 purchase at last year’s Doncaster May sale, the son of Kayf Tara held off the challenge of Sporting Press by four lengths to win in comfortable fashion. Carrying the colours of Mrs T Hyde, Whisperinthebreeze is out of Silver Spinner who was a dual winner for Alan King and has also produced Silver Kayf who was placed in two bumpers for Kim Bailey last season.
“The ground was a bit heavy for him but he was ready to go so I said we would take the chance. He would prefer much better ground. I’ve no exact plan for the moment but the sales are on the card. They are all for sale!” reported the winning handler.
Local handler, John Walsh gave the assembled crowd plenty to cheer about when he claimed the mares’ winner of one contest with his five-year-old Dino’s Benefit, on what was just her third start between the flags.
The daughter of Mr Dinos, who was also owned by Walsh had finished second on her initial points run at Bartlemy last spring before following that run up with a maiden success at Dromahane in May. Well bought by her handler for €1,200 at the Tattersalls Ireland August sale two years ago, it was also Walsh’s son James who guided the mare to a three length success over Senators Glory for the Michael Goff yard.
Her winning handler who has five horses in training commented after the race: “She’s a fair mare. I bought her as a three-year-old and have always liked her. We could go again for another winners’ race if she is not sold beforehand”.
The Irish Thoroughbred Marketing lady rider’s point-to-point series, which is now entering its second season, held the first leg of its autumn campaign at Tinahely when the Pat Doyle-trained Samanntom cruised to a 14 length victory over Aupcharlie in the open lightweight.
Ridden by Maxine O’Sullivan, the nine-year-old had made an encouraging seasonal re-appearance at Castletown-Geoghegan when he finished just three lengths in arrears of A Decent Excuse. Owned by Roger O’Byrne who has enjoyed success with horses such as Valco De Touzaine and Sydney Paget, the son of Portrait Gallery is also a former four-time track winner.
“He ran really well. Pat (Doyle) had him spot on for today after a hard run in Castletown-Geoghegan. He has definitely improved and gave me a great feel. I am very grateful to the owner for letting me have the ride”, reported the winning rider.
Richard Black, who was responsible for training the most expensive point-to-point mare ever sold at public auction last year with his Lingstown maiden winner, Marie Banrigh, added another winner to his training tally when Shantaluze took the five-year-old geldings’ maiden.
Fifth on his debut at Nenagh in January, the son of Shantou made almost all of the running under Rob James to score by two lengths over Behindthelines. Winning handler Black whose uncle and namesake owns Shantaluze in conjunction with his breeder Henry Chamney, reported after the race
“Mick Goff had him for his one run last season and I have had him since the summer. My uncle Richard owns him with the breeder Henry Chamney. They thought the ground was a bit soft for him at Nenagh and would want some better ground. He is for sale and is a nice genuine horse.”
Grange Stud’s resident stallion Walk In The Park sired his first Irish point-to-point winner since moving from France when Castafiore Park took the Lady Juliet five-year-old-and-upwards mares’ maiden by three lengths over Agent Memphis. Trained by Paul Nolan, the five-year-old mare who is owned by Philip Byrne was partnered to success by Barry O’Neill.
“She is a very nice mare and I would have been disappointed if she had of been beaten. We missed last season with her because she was too weak and light. Robert Power had ridden her in a couple of schools and he loved her but just felt that she would want the time. We’ll think about a bumper but I’d say going straight over hurdles could be the way to go”, reported James Nolan, assistant and brother to the winning handler.
The concluding six-year-old-and upwards gelding maiden went the way of the Aidan Fitzgerald-trained Streets of Milan, a horse who had finished third in a five-year-old maiden at the same fixture twelve months previous.
Ridden by Richie Deegan, the Declan O'Keeffe-owned gelding made it a pillar-to-post victory to win by eight lengths over Lighting Tunes.
“I would have been very disappointed if he had been beaten there”, reported Fitzgerald of the son of Milan who is now for sale. “He pulled muscles at Dowth Hall last season and we didn’t run him again as the ground had gone too quick for him. He is a lovely horse who is well able to win a couple of hurdle races in England as the form of his first two runs is strong. Declan (O’Keeffe) has had two horses with me and both horses have won now”.