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Report | Dromahane 28th April 2019

The opening Goffs Punchestown Sale four-year-old mares’ maiden the race won last year by the unbeaten Grade 1 winner Honeysuckle, certainly provided its share of drama as the original winner Noreen Bawn was disqualified in favour of runner-up Tucanae.

Richard Black's charge, a half-sister to none other than former Queen Mother Champion Chase winner Dodging Bullets, moved through to lead from three-out in the hands of Luke Murphy.

Noreen Bawn however made her way to the front with Mikey O'Connor at the final fence and Brian Jordan's charge duly fended off Tucanae by a neck. 

However, there appeared to be some close riding and the stewards eventually called an enquiry. They found that interference had occurred and that it was sufficient to alter the result. Tucanae was duly awarded the race with Noreen Bawn being demoted to second.

Handler Black said of the Eclipse Bloodstock Ltd-owned mare: “She's a very good filly and I fancied her coming here today."

Handler Brian Jordan, out of luck earlier with the demoted Noreen Bawn in the four-year-old mares' maiden, didn't leave empty-handed as he struck here with The Bull McCabe in the Tattersalls Ireland five-year-old maiden.

The favourite Defuture Is Bright made what appeared to be decisive move by setting sail for home after four-out. However the eventual winner, who failed to complete the course on his two previous starts, was alive to the move and he mastered the market-leader inside the final 100 yards to score by one and a half lengths in the hands of Benny Walsh.

"He's a lean type of horse that loves this nice ground and I think that he will improve a lot," said Jordan of the Noel Casey-owned gelding, whom he purchased at the 2017 renewal of the 2017 Fairyhouse August sale.

Ellen Doyle is experiencing a fine campaign and the Monageer-based handler struck with newcomer Skatman in the 12-runner Goffs Punchestown Sale four-year-old geldings’ maiden.

The winner took the measure of runner-up Barbados Buck's with Barry Stone at the second last and the victorious son of Mustameet was clearly travelling on the run to the final fence, with the winning margin being two lengths.

The handler’s brother James Doyle was on hand to say: "He's a fair horse and we thought plenty of him coming here. He will now be sold. "

The Denis Leahy-trained Desertmore Glen overcame an absence of in excess of a year by landing this closing contest in the hands of Jimmy O'Rourke.

Sent off favourite when pulling up on his only previous start in the maiden won by subsequent British hurdles scorer Hill Sixteen at this same venue in early-April 2018, the winner tracked the front running Top Question virtually throughout. 

The six-year-old moved through to tackle Top Question with three fences remaining and he took the measure of the long-time leader at the final fence to score by three parts of a length.

"This has taken a year longer than I hoped. This horse's owner Brendan O'Brien, who has been with me since I started training after I came home from England in 2003, has been very patient,” said handler Leahy.

Fitzgerald Family, Mallow open for novice riders saw 20-year-old Susie Doyle moved onto the four winner mark for the season, one ahead of Liz Lalor in the race for the ladies' championship, by steering her father Pat's Samanntom to a scintillating front running victory.

The 11-year-old who was posting a third success of the season, gave a superb display of fencing at the head of affairs and he stormed clear from three-out to dispose of All Hell Let Loose by 10 lengths.

All Hell Let Loose however was subsequently disqualified, with Sea Light being promoted to second spot, as his rider failed to draw the correct weight on account of losing his lead cloth in the closing stages of the race.
"He's a wonderful horse and we are very lucky to have him. We will run him away in points for the remainder of the season," said handler Doyle of his wife Mary's charge.

The Dairygold Co-op & Grange Stud Winners - Bonus Race, was one of the most valuable point-to-point race ever staged as it featured a generous €3,250 bonus that was presented by the Irish National Hunt Steeplechase Committee, attracted some nine runners and the Seamus Spillane-trained Wrong Direction returned from a four-month break by coming home as he pleased under Johnny Hurley.

The nine-year-old, who still held every chance when falling two-out in the Limerick hunters chase won by Glorious Galway over the Christmas period, was having just a third career start and he was always positioned close to the pace as Briar Lane set out with the intention of making all.

Wrong Direction, owned by his handler's wife Breda, went for his race on the run to the third last and he asserted  from two-out to beat Noel Kelly's Co Derry challenger Decor Orlandais by four lengths.

The Spillanes' son Dinny said: "He was a little sore after his fall in Limerick at Christmas. We gave him a bit of time off after that and he came right again. It's great to win this pot and he will probably now run in another hunters chase."

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