Cashel based owner Peter Magnier has enjoyed plenty of success with trainer Mags Mullins and in Oscars Joy which opened her account over hurdles Fairyhouse on Saturday he has a mare that could well go on to better things. A Limerick bumper winner on her debut back in June the five year old ran a corker when just beaten at Roscommon on first run over hurdles but subsequently disappointed at Gowran Park.
She was then given a break and showed that it helped her cause as she returned fit and ready for the fray. After tracking the leaders early on Oscars Joy was a shade untidy t the hurdle before the straight but it made little difference as she led two out and ran on well to defeat Caoimhe’s Delight by al length and a half with a further thirteen lengths back to the third finisher Annie Oakley. On paper at least this looked a good display and the fact that the first pair were so far ahead of the rest would suggest that they are respectable animals. The winning trainer told me that although her charge is on the small size she is as though as they come and will now be aimed at a Listed Mares contest which would give her some valuable black-type for when she retires to the paddocks.
Brian O’Connell made a welcome return to the winners enclosure when he gave the Liz Doyle runner Rich Revival a peach of a ride to capture the extended two mile and five beginners chase.
Another to land his bumper at the first attempt the son of Turtle Island showed glimpses of form over hurdles before spending lot of time on the sidelines, he was among the fancied candidates here but that did not bother him as he was never too far out of his ground before taking over sat the penultimate fence and pulling out plenty to see off the challenge of the joint favourite Panther Claw by a length and a quarter. This was a good staying performance by the winner, he jumped well in the main and will now be asked to defy a penalty in a winners contest.
Patrick Mullins edged ever closer to the record of winners ridden by an amateur in calendar year when he captured the bumper on the John Magnier owned City Slicker. Having run well on first racecourse appearance at Naas after losing his action the son of King’s Theatre was all the rage here and he delivered the goods in impressive fashion. Mullins was in no hurry to take on the leaders but once given the office in the straight City Slicker quickened up in fine style and was not too knocked about to defeat Lady Of Glencoe by seven and a half lengths. A winners bumper now awaits City Slicker and on this evidence he could well be on the Mullins team for the Cheltenham festival.
This was the second leg of a double for trainer Willie Mullins as he had earlier saddled Apt Approach to land the two mile and half conditions hurdle in the hands of Paul Townend.
A winner at Grade2 level over fences the Bob Back gelding was also successful over the smaller obstacles, he carried plenty of stable confidence and went to post a short priced favourite. Townend was content to bide his time aboard the nine year old before sending him to the front on the run to the final flight from where he battled well to take the money by a length from Prince Rudi. In his post race remarks Mullins admitted that his charge is difficult to place over fenced so he will try and make him earn his keep at this discipline.
Veteran handler Paddy Hughes was on hand to greet Speed Dial after the seven year old just got the of the Denis Hogan trained and ridden Luke’s Benefit in the two mile 84-108 handicap hurdle. Well supported Speed Dial came from off the pace to touch down in front over the final hurdle an although Luke’s Benefit pressed him all the way he lasted home by a length , Andy Slattery’s runner Prince Of Milan also ran a tremendous race to finish third just half a length drift in third place over a trip that would look short of his bes.