Sean O'Brien was all smiles following the success of newcomer Nell's Well in the Hurleys Supervalu Midleton five-year-old mares’ maiden.
The debutant was always quite well positioned and it appeared that Elk Bridge had made the decisive move by injecting pace into the race after three-out and still held the call over Nell's Well when erring at the final fence.
The five-year-old landed the faster here and she stormed to the front with Eoin O'Brien some 25 yards out to deny the ultra-consistent Elk Bridge by a half-length.
"I've scarcely ever got as much satisfaction from having a winner in my life. This mare is owned by Pat Casey from Glenduff, Mitchelstown and we've been friends since we went to school together," said handler O'Brien.
The Sam Curling-trained newcomer Longhouse Poet created a hugely-favourable impression in the Tattersalls Ireland five-year-old geldings’ maiden by justifying strong market support in the hands of Derek O'Connor.
The five-year-old was always on the pace and he set sail for home after the third last. The winning son of Yeats soon had his pursuing rivals in trouble and he stylishly asserted between the final two fences to dismiss newcomer Do Wanna Know by four lengths.
"He's a lovely horse that has always shown us plenty and I'd say that he might be sold now,” said Curling of owner/breeder John Duggan's Longhouse Poet.
The Flavin Footwear, Youghal Mares winner of two is a race that will be spoken about for quite some time.
The Declan Queally-trained Ask Heather, already successful at Lisronagh and Mainstown this term, picked up the running after two-out and she was travelling best on take-off for the final fence.
However, the eventual winner made a notable error here, as a consequence of taking off literally at the wings of the fence, with Sweeney then understandably being shot forwards and he ended up holding on for dear life under his mount's neck.
Ask Heather, for her part, maintained a straight course as Sweeney defied gravity by most meritoriously swinging himself back into the saddle. The victorious daughter of Ask, owned and bred by Michael O'Donovan from Bartlemy, then forged clear inside the final 100 yards to beat Fort Worth Texas going away by four lengths.
Sweeney, who was recording a seventh success of the campaign, modestly said: "I thought I was going to come off, but Ask Heather thankfully kept her head up which helped me."
Ask Heather, a 13th winner of the season for current handlers' championship leader Queally, meanwhile is likely to be aimed at the Gain Mares' Final in Ballynoe.
Blackwater, Co Wexford-based owner/trainer Martin Corrigan saddled Gold Time to attain a deserved success in the 10-runner Gain Horse Feed six-year-old and upwards mares’ maiden for novice riders. The six-year-old, placed on three previous occasions, stepped up from her most recent fifth-placed effort at Borris House last month by making her way to the front before three-out. Whilst runner-up Trumps Ace eroded the deficit from two-out, but Gold Time was in no mood to be denied and she held on grimly in the closing stages to oblige by a length in the hands of Corrigan's 19-year-old brother Kevin.
Martin Corrigan, who has eight horses in training, disclosed: "She's a very consistent mare and she will go for a winners race next. Hopefully, we will have plenty of fun with her."
The Vincent Halley-trained Arctic Skipper repeated his success at the December 16th meeting at this same venue by gamely getting the better of B L Swagger in the Fogartys Bros Car Sales, Killeagh open. The ten-year-old always travelled well for regular partner John Barry. Although having to be rousted along briefly before three-out, Arctic Skipper went to the head of affairs after this third-last fence and he threw fabulous leaps over the final two obstacles which partly enabled him to beat B L Swagger by two lengths.
"John [Barry] thought that he would improve from his run here the last day and I would now like to run him in the hunters chase at Navan in four weeks’ time," said handler Halley of Arctic Skipper, owned by his father Lar.
The concluding Kennedys Bar, Killeagh & Pegus Horse Feed six-year-old and upwards geldings’ maiden saw New Earth, having looked a picture beforehand in the preliminaries, made his initial start for Innishannon-based handler Mikey Kennedy a victorious one by giving a faultless display of fencing with talented five pound claimer Michael O'Sullivan.
The six-year-old finished a fine third in the Kinsale adjacent hunts maiden last season, went to the front after a mile and he was always travelling best after throwing another spectacular leap three-out.
The winning son of Getaway was too strong for promising newcomer Knockenagh in the closing stages, three lengths being the winning margin.
"He's a big horse that has taken a lot of time and he still needs to mature. I would have liked to have got a run into him before now and he will now go for a winners of one" said 20-horse handler Kennedy of New Earth, his initial runner for owner/breeder Karen O'Driscoll.