Trainer Edward O’Grady continued his rich vein of recent form when Time Please ran out a narrow winner of the two mile maiden hurdle at Tramore on Saturday.
This tight seaside circuit is not everybodys cup of tea but Time Please seemed to handle it well and in spite of tiring visibly in the closing stages landed a few decent punts. Settled behind the leaders early on the Westerner gelding was left in front when Ma Heffernan’s Bar slipped up before the halfway point. He was joined by the locally trained Knockeenonthedoor before starting the downhill run to the straight and when the latter dropped away at the second last he looked like running out an easy winner. Just as connections were shouting him home he began to tread water and kit took all of Mark Walsh’s considerable strength to get him home by a neck from Tracey Hotels Boy with the outsider Goal filling third place thirteen lengths further in areers. It was probably a combination of being left in front so early in the race as well as fatigue that caused the winner to tie up, but he would have been an unlucky loser. In his post race remarks O’Grady revealed he is hopeful that his charge can go on and win another hurdle race or two before he goes chasing.
There was an exciting three way finish to the opening 4.y.o maiden when Busted Tycoon got up in the very last stride to touch off Age Of Glory with Dougal Philps just a whisker back in third place. Rider Paul Townend elected to try and make every post a winning one aboard Dougal Philps and for a time it looked likely as thought the tactic would be successful, however, Busted Tycoon and Age of Glory closed right up after the final flight and as they flashed across the finishing line it was anybody’s guess as to which had won. The photo showed that jockey Martin Ferris had literally lifted the daughter of Marju across the line to land the spoils by a head from Age Of Glory with Dougal Philps relinquishing his advantage in the final stride or so and finishing third a short head further back. A former inmate of the Tommy Stack yard Busted Tycoon had shown glimpses of form on the level, it’s unusual for a Tony Martin winner to start at 14/1 so further evidence of her ability would be needed before putting her into the note book as one to follow.
Henry de Bromhead had some measure of compensation for the defeat of Tracey Hotels boy when Beckwith Star ran out a comfortable enough winner of the two mile 80-95 handicap hurdle in the hands of Philip Enright. Shouldering top weight the Flemensfirth gelding which is a course winner over fences was given time to find his feet, he moved into contention before the straight before jumping the last in front and puling out plenty to defeat Breeze With Ease by three and a quarter lengths. the winning handler told me that the horse has been difficult to keep right but is not short on ability, he will wait and see how he comes out of the race before deciding where to go from here.
A thick mist over the course reduces visibility for a few races but we were left wondering what happened to the hot favourite Slate Lady in the bumper when the field reappeared, it transpired that she had burst a blood vessel and finished a long way adrift. Victory went to the Pat Flynn runner Storm Away which was making her racecourse debut and created a nice impression as she accounted for Fromdollarstoeuros by a length. A half sister to Bahrain Storm which was a Galway Hurdle winner for the yard the Kalanisi filly looks a bargain 5000 Euro Derby Sale purchase, Flynn told me that he was afraid she would not handle the ground and will improve significantly once conditions dry up.
The sudden passing of trainer Mick Quinlan caused much sadness among the racing fraternity. A native of Moyne Mick first set up as a trainer on this side of the water but it was when he relocated to Newmarket that his career took off. He was one of an elite band of trainers to have saddled a Royal Ascot winner as well as a Cheltenham scorer when Langs Lash captured the Queen Mary Stakes in 2008 and year later Silk Affair was an impressive winner of the F red Winter Novice Hurdle. He scored another notable victory courtesy of Dev which landed a Grand Sefton Chase over the National fences at Liverpool. A popular and gifted horseman Mick recorded more than 200 winners as well landing some spectacular coups and the scenes which greeted Glitter Baby’s victory in the Guinness Handicap at Galway a few years ago will always remain in my memory. A man who lived life to the full Mick handed over the running of the yard to his brother Noel in 2011 but remained very much part of the business, to his family we extend our deepest sympathy.