With just the two meetings staged last weekend at Rockfield and Grennan there appeared to be little in the way of top class prospects on display. Never the less there were a few decent maiden winners to look forward to for likely rules careers in the future.
The Last Derby put a poor run in a Limerick Hunter Chase behind him when romping home in the Open at Rockfield, though his task was made a lot easier by the previous weeks Tattersalls runner-up Made In Taipan running below par and pulling up in a four runner field.
Beepers Milan has run well throughout her career and scored at the eighth attempt in the mares’ maiden by a neck from Somethingprecious. The seven year old daughter of Milan had placed behind the likes of handicap hurdle winner Samantha Jones and she may well be able to score under rules once she has obtained a handicap mark for trainer Eoin McCarthy.
The opening four year old maiden went to the Alan Potts-owned debutant Venitien De Mai. The gelding was an expensive purchase for his owner at the Tattersalls Ireland sale back in June 2012 and he shaped like a promising stayer in this competitive looking affair. By Sprinter Sacre’s sire Network the Jim Dreaper trained gelding showed excellent reserves of stamina to rally once headed by the runner-up Kayf Supreme at the second last and he went on to score by half a length in a decent time. At this stage he looks the type to head to a bumper but long-term he’s likely to be seen to better effect over longer distances.
The winner of the opening race at the Grennan fixture proved to be the Philip Rothwell-trained Thornhill Flyer. The son of Broadway Flyer made mistakes early on in the contest but was still going well at the second last and scored in a decent time at the second time of asking. Thornhill Flyer had just the one outing last season when third to the Highflyer purchased Lessons In Milan with the horse directly behind him on that occasion (Jamrham) scoring subsequently. This form ties in with some rules form earlier in the season with the third Fight Away Boys beaten four and a half lengths here having finished thirteen lengths behind Carlisle Bumper winner Five In A Row at Toomebridge back on the opening day of the season at the end of September.
Most of the remaining races featured small fields for this time of year but the ex-Jonjo O’Neill-trained Sweet Prince took the six year olds and up maiden for new trainer Denis Murphy in good style. They went a decent gallop in this particular event despite just eight going to post and the son of Court Cave travelled well into the race prior to going on prior to two out and seeing off Colgrave Sound by two lengths. With just the four finishers and a twenty length gap back to the fourth this was a decent performance and with the winner rated just eighty four under rules he’d be of great interest back in a handicap should new connections head back to the track.
As mentioned last week young Eoin O’Sullivan has looked a promising rider thus far in his limited career and the seventeen year old recorded a first success just a week after The Hollinwell had unseated him at the last on the same horse when defeating the game mare Isourbell and the veteran Tattersalls banks race winner Backstage by two lengths and a length respectively. The Hollinwell was a relatively cheap purchase out of Ferdy Murphy’s yard and may be capable of going well in a hunter chase at some point throughout the season with the next option in that sphere being at Wexford later this month.
This weekend in points promises to be much busier with meetings at Athlacca in County Limerick, Kinsale down in Cork and at the Wexford track at Ballinaboola where a large number of entries has resulted in an early start to proceedings.
Rules Round Up
Last weekend was a good one for this feature with Classic Move, Oscar Rock, Forest Walker, Carraig Mor and Mendip Express all scoring under rules with the last named and Sunday’s Huntingdon bumper winner Urban Hymn both going in for the ten to follow feature.
There are a number of pointers entered up at Thurles on Thursday with the most interesting returning to rules being the Cregg faller Begerin Bridge. The six year old gelding trained by Bernadette Murphy was likely to finish runner-up behind Sam Cavallaro when taking a heavy fall at the last fence on good to firm ground. The Craigsteel gelding had shown little under rules since scoring at the same venue back in October 2012 so there’s always the possibility that the gelding is merely a Cregg specialist.
A number of ex-pointers could make their debut under rules at Musselburgh on Friday with the now JP McManus owned Bratton Down maiden scorer V Neck who will represent trainer Paul Nicholls this season and the now Michael Smith trained Masterleaderman. V Neck broke his maiden at the first attempt when receiving a hefty weight allowance from the majority of his rivals on good ground back in May whilst Masterleaderman hasn’t been seen since finishing runner-up to King Helissio at Maralin over a year ago. Masterleaderman has a hurdlers physique and he looks likely to fare well in this sphere though he may show his best form once handicapped.
Volo Mio scored twice in Northern and Yorkshire points last season and he could make his rules debut for Chris Grant at Kelso on Saturday. The son of Endoli was carried out at Alnwick back in February but won his two subsequent starts over two and a half miles and three miles at Whitcliffe Grange and Corbridge respectively and he shaped like a useful enough performer in the making at Corbridge where he beat previous winners by four lengths with the runner-up scoring two starts later in the same grade.
Marlbrook from the ten to follow list has another beginners chase engagement at Naas on Saturday for his new trainer Colm Murphy. The five year old gelding had been entered last weekend but failed to take up either of his engagements and he would be of interest up against fellow highly regarded ex-pointer Foxrock who could represent Ted Walsh whilst the likes of Teelin Star and Road To Riches who also scored in points are others to consider.
Definitly Red received a highly positive mention in this column last week following his Loughanmore success and his Maralin conqueror from last season Wounded Warrior could debut under rules in the concluding bumper for trainer Noel Meade. Owned by the Gigginstown House Stud the four year old is a full-brother to the yards useful novice chaser of last season Sword Of Destiny who himself scored on his rules debut after a heavy defeat in a point the previous season. Wrath Of Titans who scored impressively in a six horse point at Lingstown in March and subsequently finished runner-up to the high class Moyle Park at Punchestown is also entered for the Gigginstown House Stud and would be another of interest if taking up this engagement.
Now Ben recorded an easy success at Lismore at the start of March and he could contest the concluding bumper at Wincanton on Saturday for trainer Nicky Henderson. Now Ben runs in the colours of Mr & Mrs Sandy Orr and featured in our earlier ten to follow column. He could face opposition from a number of useful looking horses including Rebecca Curtis’ Tara Road who defeated Ed’s Legacy in a Rathcannon Confined maiden under Mikey O’Connor in March.
Buywise was still travelling well on his debut over regulation fences in a decent maiden hunter chase at Kelso back in April when the son of Tikkanen fell at the third last fence. Now with Evan Williams the gelding had been highly touted prior to that outing in as much as he was sent off favourite against far more experienced rivals despite having had just the two outings in points and it will be interesting to see how he gets on here on ground that’s likely to be softer than he has encountered in the past. Knight Of Noir could oppose him here with David Pipe’s point winner unraced since finishing runner-up in a Towcester bumper in mid-May.
Noakarad De Verzee had a successful time of it in points last season scoring twice (including in a match-race) and not finishing outside the frame in six starts for jockey David Maxwell and he could return to rules racing as a twelve year old in the handicap chase at Market Rasen on Sunday. He doesn’t look particularly well handicapped but the spell pointing could have brought new spark to the gelding and he could go well in this with a professional jockey likely to be in the saddle.