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Big family success for O'Connor at Thurles

Turlough O’Connor sent out his first winner on the track in almost five years when Cloudy Tuesday ran out a clear cut winner of the Templemore Maiden Hunter Chase on Thursday afternoon.
The Cloudings gelding has produced some notable efforts in defeat since winning an adjacent maiden at Dromahane in November, particularly when third at Limerick over Christmas and on that occasion he finished just over three lengths behind the Cheltenham Festival bound Staker Wallace and also Super Citizen who was a winner over fences at Leopardstown on Monday.
Despite that recent form boost, O’Connor’s charge was still not sent off as the favourite, with Enda Bolger’s Saint Benedict getting that honour following a runners-up effort at Clonmel a week earlier, and it was the two market principals that began to emerge from the pack at the end of the back straight. 
It was at this point that the six-year-old began to assume command of the race as he quickly burned off the attentions of the favourite from the penultimate fence as he ultimately returned home nine and a half lengths clear of Saint Benedict who was forced to settle for the second spot for the third straight time in Hunter Chase company.
Startect, who had briefly loomed as a challenger in the home straight, quickly saw his effort peter out in the testing conditions but he completed in third, some 18 lengths adrift of the runner-up for Chris O’Donovan and Mick Winters, with Texas Gold a further 35 lengths back in the fourth as the finishers returned at long intervals.
The success for the winning rider-trainer was a first under rules since the victory of Harry The Lemmon in a Hunter Chase at Cork back in 2016, and the following the success O’Connor said:
“He got a massive boost with Super Citizen winning in Leopardstown and that run stood to him coming here today. 
“The plan going up the back was to try and stretch them out, as if there were a couple of them in behind him cruising he probably would get beat for speed, so he has to have them beaten a half-mile from home really. 
“I would say he would make a lovely hurdler as he is very quick over a hurdle, but his owner might want to go back point-to-pointing again with him next season, so we’ll have to talk to them about that. 
“It is a real family thing and everything comes from home so it is to break them and bring them along from that and go from there. We have between 20 and 24 horses in most of the year and would do a lot of breakers in the summer but it’s mostly point-to-pointers.
“We’ve been forced to come to the track more so lately because of the Covid but it is great to be able to keep racing in fairness."


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