Waitnsee breaks barren spell with Cork strike

Waitnsee landed an authoritative victory in the BARONERACING.COM Chase at Cork.

A field of six runners went to post for the Grade Three feature, with Go Another One the 13-8 favourite.

The John Ryan-trained Waitnsee was a 7-2 chance to claim a first win since opening her account over fences at Tramore last summer, since when she had finished second on four occasions.

Kevin Brouder’s mount looked booked for minor honours once more after making a bad mistake two fences from the finish, but managed to regather her momentum to join Spyglass Hill at the final obstacle.

This time Waitnsee was much more fluent and she picked up well on the run-in to score by four and a half lengths from Spyglass Hill, with Go Another One third.

Ryan said: “She deserved that and her run here against The Shunter, Heaven Help Us and when she was mugged by Home By The Lee in Cork the last day, was good enough to win this race in my opinion.

“She has three seconds in black-type races and won her maiden hurdle by 24 lengths. I always thought she was a proper mare and she has a heap of very good relations.

“We’ll see what the handicapper does with her and she’ll go to Punchestown now.”

Trainer Norman Lee and conditional jockey Simon Torrens combined to land the BARONERACING.COM Hurdle with 14-1 shot Sole Pretender.

With 4-6 favourite Petit Mouchoir under pressure when falling at the second-last, Sole Pretender readily put the high-class Bapaume in his place with a five-length verdict.

Lee said “I never had a good horse until we got him. He is a proper good horse and we can keep dreaming.

“We’ll make plans tonight or tomorrow, but you can go anywhere once you’ve beaten a horse who was second in Cheltenham (Petit Mouchoir).

“He’ll improve a little bit from today and we won’t get carried away – talking never made a horse win.”

Botani (10-1) got the better of favourite Zoffanien in a thrilling finish to the O’Dwyers Steel Dundrum Easter Handicap Hurdle.

Just a short head separated the pair at the line, with rider Brian Hayes completing a double after the earlier success of The West Awaits (6-4) in the O’Flynn Motors Mallow Mares Maiden Hurdle.

Hayes said: “She (Botani) deserved that as she was unlucky in two maiden hurdles in Thurles when she was touched off. In fairness to (trainer) Colm Murphy, he said he’d try to win a big pot rather than lose her maiden status.

“I’m absolutely delighted for Colm Murphy and he has been very good and loyal to me. I rode a lot for him in the past and since he has got his licence back, I have done plenty of work for him.

“He has point to pointers and is training the odd few horses for the track – you don’t lose it.”

Jessica Harrington’s Ya Ya Baby justified 10-11 favouritism in the opening Dermot Casey Tree Care Maiden Hurdle under Sean O’Keeffe while former cross country ace Josies Orders struck gold in the Munster Waste Management Handicap Hurdle.

Winner of the 2016 Glenfarclas Chase at the Cheltenham Festival and a multiple scorer over the banks course at Punchestown, Josies Orders had not triumphed in over two years but partnered by Phidelma Elvin, the 13-year-old came home two lengths clear in the colours of trainer Enda Bolger at odds of 100-1.

He said: “I said to Phidelma I’d give her a fiver for every horse she passed, so who’s the fool this evening!

“Phidelma comes down from Wicklow every Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings and leaves at 4.30am and deserves to get her chance.

“Mr (JP) McManus (former owner) gave the horse to me for the kids to have fun with and she wanted to ride him over the banks at Punchestown, so we said we’d give him a tune-up today and fair play to her.

“He seemed a light of older days, but Aileen Sloane Lee did a great job with him as she had him until recently and freshened him up taking him to the beach.

“He was on fire today and Nina Carberry was the first one on the phone because she retired from him (in 2018), so it is a great story.”

Scorpion’s Revenge sprang a 25-1 surprise for American trainer Keri Brion in the closing Jim Ryan Racecourse Services (Pro/Am) Flat Race.

Brion has managed a small team in Ireland through the winter, with this son of Scorpion providing her with a first success.

She said: “I was starting to doubt whether I’d get a winner and am due to go back on Saturday.

“Our season is getting ready to start in America and all the horses are going back to Saratoga to run for big money, and the owners rightly want them home and freshened up.

“I sourced this horse for the Naylors in November to come back to America and he was just about ready to run, but we gave him the winter off as he was never going to like the winter ground in Ireland.

“We said if the ground got better we’d give him a run and, finally, the weather played into my favour!”

Brion added: “I think we will come back – the owners have really enjoyed it and a few of them would love to come to the races.

“I learned a lot, but was just missing this win. I know exactly now what type of horses are needed and it is a high standard.

“French Light is a Grade One horse in America, but runs in a novice handicap hurdle tomorrow at Fairyhouse, so that tells you what you’re looking at. Plus, you are competing in the winter, which is the toughest racing.”