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Report | Portrush 20th October 2018

David Christie once again proved his talents in sourcing new horses, as his latest purchase, Kadmer, made a winning debut for his Fermanagh yard in The Royal Court Hotel winner of three contest.

The nine-year-old, a two-time winner when with Ray Hurley, had already proved himself in open company last term against the likes of Fenno’s Storm and Oighear Dubh, and despite surrendering a lack of a recent run to his three race-fit rivals, the Ray Nicholas-owned son of Kadeed picked up best in the hands of Barry O’Neill to defeat Castletown-Geoghegan winner Star Wizard by four lengths.

“I thought a lot of him until he worked terribly on Tuesday. We spent all week trying to get him right. If it had been a hunter chase or a decent race I wouldn’t have run him,” said the winning handler.

“I was the least confident about him, and he is the one that has ended up winning!”

The Barry O’Neill and David Christie combination had high hopes of further successes in a number of the day’s other races, none more so than with the odds-on favourite, Sambremont, in The Inn on the Coast open lightweight.

However, their challenge came a cropper at the penultimate fence, having just been narrowly headed by Mr Boss Man at the time. Nigel Slevin’s versatile 10-year-old, who is now a winner under all codes, had the advantage of a recent run under his belt having finished fifth just six days earlier at Loughrea.

The Luke McGuinness-ridden Mr Boss Man passed the post 15 lengths clear of Twilight Shadow.

The Meath handler indicated that his charge would remain pointing for the time being.

It proved to be a worthwhile trip north of the border for Tinahely-based handler John Walsh, when his Minimum Mix, the outsider of the quartet in the Eurospar Coleraine older geldings’ maiden, ran out a convincing winner.

Fifth at Ballingarry in June on his latest outing in a run which received a timely form boost a week earlier with the Fairyhouse bumper success of race winner Gemma’s Flame, the grey son of Fair Mix was produced from off the pace by the handler’s son James, to comfortably score by six lengths.

“He wasn’t right all last year, but we seem to have him right now and we will look to go again with him,” said the six-horse handler.

For the second Saturday in succession brothers Ben and Stuart Crawford combined successfully, as they teamed up to take the Philip Tweedie & Co. mares’ maiden with Drumnagreagh.

Unsuccessful in ten starts under rules, the five-year-old was carrying the colours of Alastair McKay for the first time on her return between the flags, and she was delivered with a well-timed challenge to head the favourite, Jasper Bear, on the run to the last.

A good leap there sealed a three and a-half length victory over the now four-time placed Jasper Bear.

“She had a very good run in her first bumper and if you look back at the form, it is pretty strong, and she just took a while to find her feet over hurdles,” said the winning handler.

“She will probably stay pointing for now and likes that better ground. That will be a big confidence booster.”

Horses from Donnchadh Doyle’s Wexford yard have opened the cards in the Northern region on the opening two Saturday’s of the new season, and Lone Rocket extended that to three successive weekends when claiming the day’s opening Dennison Commercials four-year-old maiden.

A faller on debut at Loughanmore in the spring, the son of Milan, who came with a €48,000 price tag from the Goffs Land Rover sale in June 2017, was never out of the first two placings in the hands of Rob James.

Slipping the field around the home bend, the Monbeg Syndicate-owned gelding could not be reeled in from that point, defeating Toomebridge runner-up Braeside by four lengths.

“He was going to finish fourth at Loughanmore last year, but he just wasn’t 100% right so we left him off to give him a break and he returned a lot stronger,” said the winning rider.

“He loves a bit of yielding ground and will probably go to the sales.”

Owner Wilson Dennison had to settle for second in that race which he sponsored, however 30 minutes later he had some compensation when his Getaman proved a comprehensive winner of the Gormleys Pharmacy & Tattersalls Ireland Cheltenham five-year-old geldings’ maiden.

An eye-catching second at Toomebridge on the opening day of the season, the Getaway gelding, who has a smart pedigree being out of a half-sister to the likes of L’Ami Serge, Sizing Codelco and Viens Chercher, could be called the likely winner some way out.

He ultimately crossed the line under Derek O’Connor with 12 lengths to spare over the perennially placed Oscar Academy.

“He improved a lot from his first run. He has always been a backward horse, but the penny has dropped with him and he is going the right way,” said winning handler Colin McKeever, who added that he would now be sold.

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