NEWMARKET-on-Fergus-born Martin Brassil resisted the temptation to run his dual Kilbeggan winner Double Seven at the recent Galway Festival and his patience was rewarded when the JP McManus-owned seven-year-old landed his third race on the bounce at the Midlands track when successful there again last Saturday evening in the Hackett’s Bookmakers Handicap Chase.
A winner over the course back in June, Double Seven followed up that when landing the Midlands National last month and punters were alive to his chance on Saturday as he went off 4/1 joint-favourite for the two-and-a-half-mile test under McManus’ retained jockey Mark Walsh.
Dropped out in the early stages of the 11-runner contest, Double Seven, who obviously appreciates nice ground, improved into second two out and once Walsh asked his mount to quicken at the final fence, the victorious son of Milan stretched clear to beat Noel Meade’s Fisher Bridge by five and a half lengths.
Based in Dunmurray, County Kildare, Brassil, who will always be associated with the memorable success of Ennis native Bernard Carroll’s Numbersixvalverde in the 2006 Aintree Grand National, continues to do well with his small string and Force Seven is an improving horse that will surely continue to progress.
Dessie Hughes enjoys a profitable strike-rate at Kilbeggan and his Flanagan’s Field made light work of his rivals when running out a clear-cut winner of the opening maiden hurdle.
Roger Loughran did the steering aboard the 3/1 favourite, who nipped around the tight circuit when edging clear after three out to beat Ned Mitchell’s Kestrel by nine lengths.
Jockey Barry Geraghty and trainer Jessica Harrington are a potent force and the duo struck when landing the Michael Moore Car Sales Mares Novice Hurdle with 8/11 favourite Cailin Annamh.
Clearly the form horse of the race, this filly by Definite Article had little bother putting her nine opponents to the sword when passing the post 10 lengths to the good over the Shane Butler-ridden runner-up, Lily The Lioness.
The Sizing Europe colours of Ann and Alan Potts are becoming a major force in Irish jump racing and their Sizing Machine justified strong support when easing to victory in the Kieran Kelly Memorial Beginners’ Chase.
Trained by Waterford handler Henry De Bromhead, as most of the Potts’ horses are, the 11/10 favourite (from 5/2) poked his head in front with six to jump and this two-and-a-half-mile contest was all over bar the shouting from that point, as the successful son of King’s Theatre drew effortlessly clear in the hands of Andrew Lynch to beat Gordon Elliott’s Raajih by 14 lengths.
Willie Mullins and his son, Patrick, combined to land the concluding Tom Bermingham Menswear bumper with 5/2 shot Pink Hat. Mullins Snr is known as the ‘bumper king’ in this country and this filly by Presenting kept up the good work when making a winning debut.
Asked to quicken off the home bend, Pink Hat did so impressively when running on well inside the final furlong to beat 2/1 favourite Alton Bay by two lengths.
Taken Twice finally breaks his duck
THERE was joy for Cratloe owner/trainer Michael McDonagh at Roscommon last week where his 6/1 chance Taken Twice came out the right side of a desperately close finish to land the JF Hanley Handicap Hurdle under a strong ride from Cork jockey David Splaine.
Having shown improved form when second in a similar contest at Ballinrobe 15 days earlier, Taken Twice was fancied to run another big race for his sporting connections and didn’t let the side down when battling like a tiger to get his head in front for the first time in his career.
Tucked away in mid-division for most of the three-mile marathon, Taken Twice improved from the main pack on the run to the third-last flight. Having gotten on terms at the last, the seven-year-old really dug deep to beat the Shark Hanlon-trained runner-up Knockanarrigan by a neck.
The winner, who had been knocking on the door for a while, may well stay over hurdles for now but his long-term future appears to be over fences.
Enda Bolger is eyeing up a crack at the Velka Pardubicka in the Czech Republic for Mount Sion, who ran out a good winner of the Class Grass Handicap Chase at the western track.
The Velka is regarded as the toughest steeplechase in Europe and Mount Sion, who races in the JP McManus colours, staked his claim for a spot in the line-up when carrying Niall Madden to a two and a quarter-length success over Carmel’s Boy.
Speaking after the race, Bolger, who went so close to landing this year’s Galway Plate when second with rank outsider Quantativeasing, divulged, “Mount Sion is in the Velka Pardubicka on October 13 and the plan is to go there. I was second in the race a few years ago with Risk Of Thunder and Doctor Pat was seventh in it last year.
“It’s one of the oldest and most prestigious races in the world and I’d love to win it. Mount Sion may have another outing at Listowel in between and that should leave him spot on for the trip,” added the Bruree, County Limerick handler.
Elsewhere on the card, the first three-year-old hurdle of the season went to Paul Flynn’s Seeyouallincoppers, who made all the running under a forceful ride from Mick Darcy.
This was a grief-stricken affair with 100/30 favourite Frozen North unshipping Ben Dalton at the first but, at the business end, it was 13/2 shot Seeyouallincoppers who took the spoils when staying on stoutly up the home straight to beat Ballyglasheen by four and a half lengths.
Noel Meade’s horses are coming back to form and the Meath handler was on the mark in the two-mile maiden hurdle, where his Thomond justified 7/4 favouritism with the minimum of fuss.
Davy Condon sent his mount to the front at the final flight and the duo were full value for their victory when battling tenaciously to beat runner-up Countess Salome by two and a half lengths. The winner, who landed a point-to-point at Kilmallock as a four-year-old in 2012, will now go over fences.