Tipperary’s “Summer Sunday” proved very successful despite the fact that the attractive seven race all National Hunt card had to contend with not alone many counter attractions but with wintry weather which made overcoats a necessity. The going was described as good to yielding and with excellent prize-money on offer the racing proved very competitive and offered patrons several pointers to next week’s Galway Festival. The main honours of the afternoon went to jockey Mark Bolger who completed a 101/1 double and top owner J.P. McManus who doubled up in races sponsored by his brother bookmaker Kevin McManus, and his own Martinstown Stud.
That Kevin McManus Bookmaker Grimes Hurdle a Grade 3 event was the highlight of the afternoon and it boasted a winner’s prize of over e40,000. Captain Cee Bee trained by Edward Harty for McManus and with A.P. McCoy in the saddle went off the 2/1 favourite and this former Supreme Novice Hurdle winner at Cheltenham, back over timber for the first time in over three years, impressed all present even though he was all out to hold the challenge of the hands and heels ridden runner-up The Real Article trained by Edward O’Grady by a short head. Trainer Harty reported that the original plan to run Captain Cee Bee in the Galway Plate still stood although the horse’s hurdling performance had given food for thought. The runner-up was confirmed as a Galway Hurdle contender.
The second McManus winner was Double Seven who was a big drifter in the market from 7/2 to 11/2 in the Martinstown Opportunity Handicap Hurdle. Partnered by the highly talented Bryan Cooper this Martin Brassil trained gelding overcame a mistake at the final flight to defeat Sox’s Girl by two and a half lengths with the 9/2 joint favourite Lake Return three quarters of a length back in third spot.
Earlier the opening event of the afternoon the Packie Downey Memorial Chase was as expected won by Edward O’Grady but not with his 3/1 favourite Out Now. This one had to be satisfied with fourth place behind stablemate Slieveardagh who, however, had seemed to have it all to do when third behind Royal Choice and Gracchus at the second last fence. The leaders both fell independently, however, leaving Slieveardagh to come home some fourteen lengths clear of Kilflora. The winner a 9/2 chance after being supported from from 7/1 was partnered by five pound claimer Paddy Mangan and is owned by Simon Davis. Off the course since Killarney in May the winner will be expected to improve for the outing and looks one for Galway.
Rugby International Alan Quinlan was on hand to make the presentation for the second event, The Thank You to Alan Quinlan Beginners Chase, which was appropriately won by a syndicate of ten Ulster rugby supporters who call themselves The Hard To Get Ten Syndicate with the 5/1 chance Paradis De Thaix which initiated Mark Bolger’s double. This proved an incident packed event and the winner was left clear by the falls of Doransfirth at the second last fence and of Vital Plot at the last.
Paradis De Thaix is trained at Moone, Co. Kildare by Jessica Harrington.
County Waterford trainer Henry De Bromhead and his leading owners The Alan and Ann Potts Partnership took the Ballykisteen Hotel & Golf Resort Handicap Hurdle with the 7/4 favourite Catcherinscratcher and in a race in which the runners were strung out like the proverbial washing the winner won as he liked by twelve lengths from Bingo Lady. Davy Russell was the winning rider.
The longest priced winner of the afternoon was Tajweed in the www.thetote.comGalway Plate Trial Handicap Chase and that success by a 16/1 chance with the bookmakers which paid almost 27/1 on the tote sunk the hopes of most Jackpot patrons and ensured a carry forward to Ballinrobe. Tajweed will not make the Galway Plate field and is now likely to run on the flat at the festival. Trained by Luke Comer in Dunboyne, County Meath and completing the Mark Bolger double the gelding had two lengths in hand of Sea Stallion at the line.
The final event of the day was the Jim Ryan Racecourse Services Irish National Hunt Flat Race yielded a well supported winner in the shape of the 5/2 chance Donatis Comet which was all out to defeat Competitive Edge by a short head in a gripping finish. The winner was completing a hat trick of victories and had to survive a lengthy stewards inquiry to do so. Trained by Patrick Martin in Navan, County Meath Donatis Comet was ridden by Mr. B. O’Neill.
The aggregate totealisator bet at the meeting amounted to e51,368.76 compared to the e48,953 wagered at the corresponding meeting a year ago.
The Jackpot pool of e531 was not won and carried forward to Ballinrobe. The Placepot Pool amounted to e16,166.29 and e25.47 winning units each received e475.90.