The action got under way at 10:30 for a bumper feast of pointing action at Dromahane for Ireland’s final meeting of the autumn season and the opening Four Year Old Maiden resulted in three winners who look like making into rules performers in time.
The first of those winners was debutant Moores Road who saw off Bold Bachelor and eleven others by three lengths under Declan Queally. The French-bred son of Vertical Speed raced handily for much of the way and despite making a mistake at a crucial stage of the race he was in front prior to two out and stayed on well. He appears to have plenty of speed and could well be up to winning a bumper or at least a Maiden Hurdle over a shorter trip for current trainer Michael Hourigan.
Virtuel D’Oudon shares his sire with the leading two mile chaser Sprinter Sacre and while he appears to lack the class and speed of that one he looks like he could develop into a fair horse for staying handicaps on the track. The gelding had been a good second to Voyage A New York on his second outing at Laurencetown in May prior to finishing a thirty one length sixth behind one of this season’s most impressive youngsters Definitly Red at Loughanmore at the end of October and it would come as no surprise where he to depart Willie Codd’s yard prior to his next outing.
The slowest of the three divisions resulted in an easy six length success for the Jamie Codd ridden Master Of Verse. The gelding led prior to entering the straight and was clear before jumping the last for what resulted in an easy success for the son of Milan. The four year old appears to have plenty of class about him and can reasonably expected to make his presence felt under rules in the coming months.
Another race to divide was the Five Year Old Geldings Maiden with the opening division going to Kieran Roche’s Just Likeold Times who looks a potentially useful staying chaser in scoring here at the third attempt having made virtually all under Bon O’Neill. It’s of great credit to the gelding that he’s come back from two falls when close-up back in March including here on his debut to prove successful and he’s clearly been well schooled by connections during the Summer. The gelding is by the little known sire Zerpour who was a late retirement to stud and has yet to sire a winner under rules – this fellow should however correct that in due course when there’s an emphasis on stamina.
For Gortnatona recorded a success at the fourth attempt for trainer Mick Winters in the Five And Six Year Old Mares event and the daughter of Oscar could bid for further success on a possible rules debut at either Limerick (Mares Bumper) or at Thurles (Mares Maiden Hurdle) in the next week or so. Owner Donal Sheahan had great success with his mare For Bill (also trained by Winters) and given the way that For Gortnatona stayed on well to see off a fair looking field here she could well follow in For Bill’s footsteps in scoring under rules.
Railway Vic was given a positive mention here two weeks ago prior to disappointing at a big price in a six runner event at this track under Hadden Frost. Jimmy Frost’s charge steps up to what would appear to be a more suitable trip and contests this amateur riders event off a five pound lower mark and having won three points under today’s jockey Briony Frost last season they look a fair bit to follow up under rules in this low grade event.
Medieval Chapel has had a number of entries over the past month and he could make his debut for trainer Nicky Henderson in the 2m6f Maiden Hurdle at Ascot on Friday. The five year old had race out of the Ian Ferguson for his pointing career in Ireland which concluded with two victories in the North. The latest of those on yielding to soft was an impressive success in a small field with the runner-up scoring in a point two starts later. It’s slightly concerning that the race in the main was full of exposed horses with little rules form but he is of interest in what looks a hot looking event. Port Melon featured in the ten to follow and would be dropping down in grade as well as heading upwards in trip here and is another of interest.
Padge is another who’s cropped up more than once in this column in recent weeks and Evan Williams expensive purchase holds an engagement in the bumper at Uttoxeter this coming Friday. The four year old son of Flemensfirth saw off subsequent graded hurdle winner Very Wood and five others including rules scorers Mountain Tunes and Wildcatted and the promising looking Straidnahanna in a heavy ground 2m4f Four Year Old Maiden at Punchestown in February and having joined a good yard he can take a hand in this. Mercers Court is another with an Irish pointing win to his name, this coming at Loughanmore on soft ground at the end of October and having run well in two decent quality bumpers at Punchestown and Downpatrick in the Spring he looks worth keeping an eye on as he could make his debut for Newmarket handler Neil King in this concluding bumper.
Sybarite proved disappointing when beaten twenty three lengths by Beat That at Ascot even when taking into account the significant drop in trip he was encountering. The seven year old son of Dark Moondancer featured in the ten to follow column from back in October and he’s worth siding with should he take his chance in the 0-120 Handicap Hurdle over three miles at the Berkshire venue on Saturday. It’s worth remembering that Sybarite won over 3m2f in points last season in the pointing Gold Cup at Chaddesley Corbett and given I was of the opinion that he would prove well handicapped for staying chases off a mark of 120 he has to be of interest this weekend off a handicap mark of 112. Nigel Twiston-Davies’ charge was running the likes of Champion Court and Chablais close over hurdles whilst runs behind useful chasers such as Grands Crus and Solix show he has a decent level of ability and he can take this returned to a much more suitable trip for his handicap debut over hurdles.
The concluding bumper at Navan this Saturday plays host to a number of interesting former pointers in the shape of Boondooma, On Your Eoin, Killultagh Vic and Wounded Warrior. The last named has already featured in this column and having seen off the impressive Loughanmore winner Definitly Red at Maralin in March the Noel Meade-trained son of Shantou finished a solid third to Shaneshill in a bumper at Naas. Shaneshill is held in high regarded by his own trainer Willie Mullins and it will be interesting to see how Wounded Warrior fares in the market in relation to that ones stablemate Killultagh Vic. Killultagh Vic had just the one start for his former trainer Colin McBratney with that resulting in a fourteen length fourth to Aircraftman who was running a sound race at Wexford earlier this season prior to falling with the Southwell bumper winner Cogry finishing runner-up. That particular race was held at Largy and run in a decent time and Killultagh Vic looks likely to go well on his debut for the Champion Trainer. On Your Eoin is a second ex-pointer who could represent Noel Meade here and he hasn’t been seen in action since making a winning debut for the Wexford-based yard of Willie Codd at Maralin in April 2011. The now six year old saw off Clondaw Warrior by six lengths with a further twenty lengths back to UK pointing winner Boardwalk Empire. This was a particularly impressive performance in a small enough field with the best horse to emerge from the event being Peter Fahy’s Owega Star who has won and been competitive in graded races since being sent under rules and though coming off a prolonged absence it will be interesting to see how On Your Eoin if he runs this weekend. Boondooma tasted pointing success in a Lemonfield five year old event on heavy ground in March 2012 and has since run well behind the likes of Briar Hill and Sizing Tennessee. The son of Westerner is a well-bred sort given he’s a brother to the high class pair of Rocky Creek and Tell Massini and though chasing is likely to be his game in the long run he can make his presence felt dropped back into a bumper after a couple of outings in Maiden Hurdle’s in February and March last season.
Finally I’d like to wish all readers a very Merry Christmas and with no pointing action over the coming days next week’s column will focus primarily on the action under rules over the Festive period.