Carrignagapple, a recent second to Marinero in open company at Tinahely, hinted that he was a horse for the future on that outing and his performance at Ballinaboola on Sunday only bolstered that claim. The seven-year-old kept on best to land the Ballywalter Farms winner of three in the hands of Conor Murphy for owner/ trainer Cathy Hamilton by five-lengths.
On what was an already poignant day in Wexford, Hamilton paid tribute to Richard Woolacott noting: “This is for Richard Woolacott. He rode one of the first horses that I ever owned." The Apple Tree gelding is poised for the novice riders open at Punchestown in a fortnight according to the trainer, who also noted: "I am hoping that my eldest daughter Katie Squires will come over and ride him in Ladies races.”
In what looked to be a highly competitive race before the off, the very impressive Muhtathir gelding quickened clear from the second-last to defeat Nearly Perfect by ten lengths. It was the perfect start to the spring four-year-old campaign for Bowe, who had won no fewer than ten of these races last spring, whilst the victory also provided the first leg of a double, and the 22nd success of the season, for the reigning champion jockey.
The Wexford-based trainer said of the success: “He is a very nice horse, he would be one of the nicer ones that we would have had. He is very straight forward with loads of scope. Barry (O’Neill) said that there is loads of improvement to come. I have three at home by the same sire, Muhtathir, and I think they are all lovely horses.”
The CMNS Partnership-owned son of Well Chosen justified favouritism to win as expected, following a gallant debut effort before Christmas in what was one of the most competitive five-year-old races of the autumn. When asked to quicken after the last, the bay gelding made easy work of his competition to run out a comfortable six length winner.
“We were disappointed when he fell in Borris. Today we expected him to win. He is a horse for the track and is for sale”, reported the Carlow handler.
It was a family affair for connections, as the veteran is jointly owned by the young jockey and his father Jeff, who reported: “The better ground is a big help to him. He will go for a winners of one as David is getting loads of experience on him. He is a family horse now.”
“He is a horse that I like a lot and we were hoping for a big run. Richie (Deegan) gave him a lovely ride. I am delighted for his owner George Williams from Kilbline who bought him at the sales. He is a candidate now to go to the Cheltenham sales.”
Coming off a good third placed run at Moira in December, the victory was a first of the point-to-point season for handler Peter Fahey who commented: “She had a good run at Moira and then things didn’t work out when we went to the sales. She will go to the track now and will more than likely start off in a bumper.”