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Report | Portrush 30th March 2019

Rob James and the Doyle brothers proved to be the combination to follow at Portrush on Saturday, as they left the popular Co. Derry venue with a treble, which included both divides of the Dennison Commercials four-year-old maiden.

Vandemere was undoubtedly the horse to beat in the opening division of that maiden on account of his fine third on debut behind Sporting John, in what has arguably been one of the most competitive looking maidens of the spring at Borris House three weeks earlier, and he vindicated that view with a comfortable seven-length defeat of Ahead Of Schedule.

The first two home both having made their respective debuts in that same Borris House contest in March, and the winner, a €50,000 Land Rover sale purchase, will now be offered for sale.

“He had a lovely first run and we probably didn’t make enough use of him, so decided to make it today.  He’s fairly smart and should go on and win races on the track,” said the winning handler Donnchadh Doyle.

The typical big crowd that the seaside course attracts witnessed the Monbeg Syndicate colours of Donnchadh Doyle return to the winner’s enclosure in division two of the Dennison Commercials four-year-old maiden with the newcomer Grandads Cottage.

The own-brother of the 2013 Cheltenham Festival runner-up, Super Duty, entered his competitive bow with a notable price tag having cost connections €58,000 as an unraced three-year-old at the Derby sale last summer.
However, he justified that spend when defeating fellow newcomer Kilbrook by six lengths. Like his earlier winner, Doyle is now set to offer Grandads Cottage at tomorrow’s Goffs UK Aintree sale.

Wexford rider James teamed up with Donnchadh Doyle’s younger brother Cormac to complete his treble in the Stonebridge Feeds and Tattersalls Ireland mares’ maiden.

Darling Daughter, a €30,000 Derby sale acquisition, had pulled up on her debut at Lisronagh as a four-year-old in the autumn, however the Presenting mare returned a transformed individual by getting the upper hand over Jim Dreaper’s newcomer, Shopping Around, by two lengths.

“Cormac thought a lot of this mare and she did it well today.  She is very well bred and could head for a winner’s race next,” said Donnchadh Doyle who was representing his brother.

It could so easily have been a four-timer for James and a treble for Donnchadh Doyle, as their Borris House maiden winner, Madera Mist, lost out in a tight finish in the Royal Court Hotel winner of two contest, which saw the Stowaway five-year-old and Royal Drumlee getting close on the run-in.

The ensuing steward’s enquiry failed to produce an alteration to the result, confirming the recent Armagh maiden winner as the one length victor for the father and son team of Sean and Noel McParlan.

The six-year-old will now be aimed at another winner of two race if not sold beforehand.

Jennifer O’Kane and John Hegarty sponsored that winner of two contest with their Royal Court Hotel, and the pair who are gearing up for a busy summer season with the upcoming North West 200 and British Open Golf that is set to descend on the town in the coming months, held high hopes of a local success in the Kellys Portrush open with their Winged Leader.

The five-year-old had come up against leading horses in the division, Kruzhlinin and Sizing Coal, in recent times, and he once again had to settle for the runners-up spot, as despite making up good late ground, he was still three quarters of a length in arrears of Longhouse Music at the line.

The Derek O’Connor-ridden 10-year-old recorded her sixth success of the season, and will look to take advantage of Kruzhlinin being targeted at the Aintree Foxhunters, by possibly re-appearing quickly next weekend.

“It’s great to get her back going.  We gave her a little break and she has come back in great form.  She could run again in the mares’ open next weekend at Courtown,” said handler Sam Curling.

The Stuart Crawford-trained Glynn made a winning debut when coming out on top in the Albert Bartlett five-year-old geldings’ maiden.

The Winged Love gelding got the better of Peter Flood’s Brief Ambition by three lengths in a race where the first four horses home were covered by no less than four lengths.

“I have been trying to run him the last few weeks and he really enjoyed the nice ground. He travelled nicely throughout the race and did it well,” said Crawford of the five-year-old who was partnered to success by his younger brother Ben.

Molpeg bounced back from a disappointing run at Armagh most recently when staying on best to land the Blairs Caravans and Jack Semple older geldings’ maiden in the hands of Karen Ferris.

The Shane Gault-trained six-year-old had only been defeated by half-a-length in a tight finish at Tattersalls Farm on his penultimate start and he re-captured that form to get the better of CAFRE College’s Patriot’s Prayer by five-and-a-half lengths.

“He had a great run in Tattersalls before Christmas and then we took him to Armagh and he didn’t like the ground.  Karen gave him a great ride.  She is still a novice but she has plenty of experience.  He made a few mistakes but Karen took her time and he won well.  He could go for a winner’s race next,” said the winning handler.

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