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Report | Courtown 21st Apr 18

"“He is a fine horse, we have always thought a lot of him and we spent quite a bit of money on him at the Derby Sale.”"

Local jockey Rob James was the man to follow at Saturday’s rescheduled fixture at Courtown, as he continued his rich vein of form when registering an opening treble on a day when the county lived up to its reputation as the ‘sunny south east’, with sunshine and ice-cream the order of the day.

James’ first winner of the afternoon came aboard the Donnchadh Doyle-trained newcomer Needhams Gap after they took the Tattersalls Ireland four-year-old maiden.  The son of Flemensfirth, who was not cheaply bought, coming with a €68,000 price tag from last June’s Derby sale, lived up to the lofty reputation which saw him sent off as a well-back odds-on favourite, when registering a comfortable three-length victory over the Colin Bowe-trained Southern Sam. 

A delighted Doyle said afterwards; ‘He is a fine horse, we have always thought a lot of him and we spent quite a bit of money on him at the Derby Sale.  He jumped so well, it just comes very easy to him.’

The Monbeg Syndicate-owned gelding is sure to be one of the headline lots when he comes under the hammer at tomorrow’s evenings Goffs Punchestown sale.

If the bookies were left licking their wounds after the opening contest, their misery was compounded 30 minutes later when Emma’s Joy, another newcomer who arrived with a lofty reputation, obliged for favourite backers at a price of 4/6 to run out a comprehensive eight-length winner in the Stone Solutions and Tom Doyle Tiles five and six-year-old mares’ maiden.

The daughter of Gold Well, who was guided to victory by Rob James, took up the running approaching the second-last fence and kept on gamely to see off the challenge of Cork raider Crystal Kate. 

Winning hander Richard Black said afterwards; ‘She did that very well and I think she will be better again on nicer ground. She will really improve from today.  I am delighted for her owner Paddy Molloy who also bred her.’

Rob James’ was somewhat fortunate to bring up his clean sweep of the opening three races, as No Hidden Charges from the John Paul Brennan stable who was in command approaching the final fence, only to crash out at the obstacle, paving the way for James’ mount, the Colin Bowe-trained Rushour Ryan to claim the Goffs Punchestown Sale five-year-old geldings’ maiden. The son of Presenting carried the colours of Carlow doctor Richard Frayne to victory and connections indicated that he will likely go to the sales now.

Liz Lalor is enjoying a phenomenal season and she continued her winning run by registering a second winner of the weekend when Ask Mary took the Connolly’s Red Mills and Casey Concrete Mares Open in the colour of James Killeen.  The five-year-old, who has now won four in a row, was making her debut in open company, but she came through that new test in flying colours by digging deep on the run-in to overcome Cloudy Day by three-lengths. 

A delighted Lalor said afterwards; ‘She is just so tough, I thought Roger (Quinlan) had us but she just kept picking up and did it well in the end.  There just seems to be no end to her and she keeps improving with every run.  We might looks at the hunter chase in Tipperary next month.’

Pacte In The Park made a seamless transition to winners’ company when running out a five length winner of the Ire Wel Pallets and Chris Hatton winner of one.  The Simon Kenny-owned and trained gelding was partnered to success by another in-form jockey Luke Murphy. Murphy made smooth progress to lead approaching the second-last fence and his mount kept-on gamely on the run-in to record a comprehensive victory over the consistent Makeapoint. 

An elated Kenny said afterward; ‘We have been very happy with him at home.  He is a gorgeous horse, he has had some problems that just needed a bit of time and he has really come into his own now.  I am not sure as to whether we will go next, we might possibly look at a hunters chase for him now.’

Benny Walsh and Sean Staples combined to land the concluding Kenneth Davis Tree Surgeon six-year-old and upwards maiden with newcomer Colonel Sam.  The son of Black Sam Bellamy, who raced a shade keenly in the early exchanges, settled well when taking-up the lead after a circuit. The six-year-old kept on well from before the last fence to defeat Liam Kenny’s locally trained Montarlot by 10 lengths.

‘He did that well.  He needs that type of ground, he loved conditions today and we could go for a winners next on similar type ground.  I am delighted for Michael who is Sean (Staples) uncle,’ said Walsh afterwards.

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