The new season at Tipperary began on a bright note last Thursday with a lovely evening and a high standard of flat racing that produced a number of impressive performers who should make their mark at a higher level in the not too distant future. Kildare-based trainers took four of the seven races with Dermot Weld chalking up a double but the locals made a major contribution as Kilfeacle trainer Joe Fogarty sent out Kateeva to win the second event and Bansha’s own Christy Roche was one of the successful Kildare-based trainers. On the jockey front, honours were divided between Pat Smullen and Gary Carroll who each recorded doubles.
The opening event was the Irish Stallion Farms E.B.F. Maiden over five furlongs which produced a very impressive performance from the 6/4 favourite Tough As Nails trained in Co. Meath by Michael Mulvany and the first leg of the Gary Carroll double. Tough As Nails had recently been first past the post on his debut at the Curragh but had been disqualified for interference but there was no room for doubt on this occasion as Tough As Nails was eased to the front two furlongs from home and won as he pleased by seven lengths from the Aidan O’Brien trained Boris Grigoriev. The winning trainer reported post race that he felt that his winner was a Group horse and would probably return to the Curragh for the Marble Hill Stakes.
Joe Fogarty, a former well known hurler from Kilfeacle and an All-Ireland Intermediate medalist with the Premier County, saddled the 16/1 chance Kateeva to take the second race, The Derrinstown Stud Apprentice Handicap in fine style. Kateeva led two out and stayed on well to defeat Queen Grace by a length and a half with the 4/1 favourite One of Three down the field. The winner which paid odds of almost 29/1 on the tote was partnered by Dingle born rider Katherine O’Brien who has over 150 successes in pony racing.
The Irish Stallion Farms E.B.F Maiden over seven furlongs had a warm favourite in the shape of the 4/5 chance Anderiego and the Dermot Weld trained runner landed the odds in fine style coming home well to account for Burn The Floor and Sun Queen by three lengths and three and a half lengths with Pat Smulled in the saddle.
The trainer who was present expressed his pleasure at the winner’s performance and felt that a handicap would be the next target for the Invincible Spirit colt.
Park Ranger which had been noted in running at Leopardstown was supported to 9/4 favourite for the Tipperary Vintage Rally On Easter Sunday Handicap and won with great authority for rider Fran Berry and trainer Christy Roche. Bred by Dermot Weld’s mother, the High Chaparral gelding strolled to a four and a half length win over Queen Commander with McTaggart the same distance back in third place.
Notable Graduate at 2/5 was the hottest jolly of the evening in the Curragh Racegoers Maiden and the race produced two eye-catching performances from the winner and the runner-up. Notable Graduate, a son of Galileo, was on offer at odds of 6/5 in the offices in the morning and he duly obliged with an effortless two and a half length win to complete the Weld and Smullen doubles. Trainer Weld expressed the hope that the winner of what he termed as ‘probably a good maiden’ would progress to an Irish Derby horse. The runner-up Kasanka a newcomer from the John Oxx yard ridden by Johnny Murtagh ran on in great style and finished six lengths clear of the third home. This daughter of Galileo will certainly come on a lot for the outing and is very definitely one for the notebook. Trainer Oxx also saddled the third placed Minsk, a 33/1 outsider.
Monasterevin based Seamus Fahey trained the 14/1 winner of the Join The Tipperary Supporters Club 2011 Handicap Tinas Exhibition which completed jockey Gary Carroll’s double by holding on for a head win over Kings Road in an exciting finish. Tinas Exhibition paid odds of almost 25/1 on the tote.
The final event of the evening was the Follow Tipperary On Facebook Race over a mile and six furlongs and Dermot Weld was fancied to complete a treble with the 6/4 chance Galileo’s Choice which was ousted as favourite by the weight of money for Pittoni which was a 4/1 chance in the morning and was supported on track from 9/4 to market leader at 11/8. The punters got it exactly right as the two leaders in the market had it between them. Pittoni stayed on well under pressure to take the spoils by a length and a quarter from Galileo’s Choice and it was all of eight lengths to the third home The Bull Hayes. Pittoni which was partnered by Johnny Murtagh is trained in Ballingarry, Co. Limerick by Charles Byrnes.
The total aggregate bet on the tote for the meeting amounted to a very satisfactory j63,328.61 which compared more than favourably with the figure of j42,425.57 wagered at the corresponding meeting a year ago. The Jackpot Pool amounted to j10,754 and 32 winners each received j260.10.
The Placepot Pool was j10,492.04 and 40.21 winners each got j195.60. The Tote Daily Double paid j200.50 to a j5 stake.