Johnny Barry initiated a double in the opening Beeches Stud, Lismore & Winners Enclosure, Conna four-year-old mares’ maiden aboard Minella Melody.
Justifying her lofty reputation, the daughter of Flemensfirth picked up the running from three-out, before staying on stoutly to see off the runner-up Old Dominion by ten lengths.
The debutant, who cost €65,000 at the Derby Sale in 2017, is both owned and trained by John Nallen who said: “She is a very good mare, you don’t come across many like that, and she is very uncomplicated.”
Artic Skipper took the O’Brien’s Saddlery, Midleton & Kenneally Steel open, completing the brace for Conna rider.
Trained by Vincent Halley, the former Grade 2 winner was never too far away from the pace, before staying on well in the closing stages to beat former Irish Grand National winner Thunder and Roses by three lengths.
“He did it well. I suppose we will have to look at hunter chases now,” said winning owner Lar Halley.
Paul Bannon was seen to good effect when steering home Dream On John to a two-length success in the opening division of the Tattersalls Ireland Cheltenham Sales four-year-old geldings’ maiden.
The Pearse Callaghan-owned gelding is by the in-form Arakan and was always to the fore of proceedings, before sticking gamely to his task in the closing stages to get the better off Hardy Man.
“He just idled the whole way up the straight. I only hit him behind the saddle at the second-last and once I jumped the last it was just hands and heels,” said the winning rider on behalf of handler Gillian Callaghan who was absent.
The second division of the Tattersalls Ireland Cheltenham Sales four-year-old geldings’ maiden went the way of the Terence O’Brien-trained Chance Finale.
Given a patient ride, the €12,000 August sale graduate showed a likable attitude in the closing stages to fend off the strong challenge of On Eagles Wings, who ultimately only failed by a head.
“He is probably the best horse that I have at home. We think he will develop into a smashing hose, so if I could get someone to buy him and hold onto him in the yard that would be ideal,” said the Cork handler who also owns the winner.
Michael Sweeney further enhanced his credentials for the Under-21 rider’s title, when recording his fifth success of the season aboard Gaye Breeze in the O’Brien’s Saddlery, Bandon, Goffs and Glenview Stud winner of one.
Having raced in mid-division, the Getaway gelding soon pulled clear turning in, before going on to win by seven lengths over Colonel Sam.
“We will go for a winners of two and see what he does. The point-to-point bumper may be a long-term plan as he has plenty of boot,” said handler Declan Queally of the five-year-old who is owned by his mother Bernie.
The second division of the Kelkab Ltd & Dungans Daybreak, Tallow five and six-year-old geldings’ maiden saw Declan Queally bring up the double as a handler, and he was also in the saddle on this occasion.
The British-bred debutant Springfield Fox always kept the leaders in his sights, before galloping on strongly to the line, defeating Moon Rua by an extending eight lengths.
“It is tough going out there, and you need a good one to come through it. He is owned by John Needham from Ludlow and I will have a chat with him now about plans,” said the season’s leading handler.
Derek O’Connor did not leave Boulta empty handed, as Clounts Pride provided the multiple champion with a winner in the opening division of the Kelkab Ltd & Dungans Daybreak, Tallow five and six-year-old geldings’ maiden.
Owned by Mary O’Sullivan and Daniel McCarthy, the home-bred was having his first start and was given a typically patient ride by O’Connor.
Having made smooth progress through the field, the Milan gelding rallied well after the last to get up in the dying strides, denying Exciting Oscar by just a head.
Winning handler Robert Tyner said: “He is a nice classy horse. We have been waiting a while to run him and he probably wouldn’t like the ground out there. He will be for sale now. ”
The concluding O’Brien’s Saddlery, Bandon, David Allen Engineering and McDonnell Brothers five-year-old and upwards mares’ maiden saw 26 horses declared, resulting in the third divide of the day.
Rider James Walsh and handler Kieran Roche combined to take the opening division with the previously placed Sopat, who having cut out much of the running, came home a distance clear of Trumps Ace in second.
The daughter of Gold Well is owned by Michael Kenny and connections indicted that they are likely to keep the wide-margin winner.
The second division of the O’Brien’s Saddlery Bandon, David Allen Engineering and McDonnell Brothers five-year-old and upwards mares’ maiden saw Eoin O’Brien open his account for the season when scoring aboard Deputy’s Oscar in the mud-spattered colours of Bridget Collins.
The daughter of Oscar tracked the leaders for much of the contest before jumping to the front at the final fence, from where the debutant stayed on gamely to see off the only other finisher Hiupinthesky by two lengths.
“She is good and tough. She has always shown plenty at home, so we were confident. I imagine we will be hoping to find her new owners now,” said the winning handler Matt Collins.