Punters who travelled to Clonmel on Thursday hoping to put a little nest egg away as we head into the big Christmas racing programme took a sever battering as all seven favourites were turned over.
On the face of things Willie Mullins who has been dominating the season so far looked good for a three timer but he left empty handed while the only premier county trained winner Kylecrue did little to help the situtation as he started at 16/1.
We had a sign of things to come when Theatre Bird captured the opening two mile and four mares maiden hurdle at the expense of the Mullins trained odds on favourite Pink Hat. A point to point winner last season Theatre Bird had shown promise in a couple of outings over hurdles and even though her connections were expecting a bold showing Pink Hat was confidently expected to do the business.
Ahead from as early as the second flight of hurdles Theatre Bird extended her advantage on the downhill run to the straight and in spite of the best efforts of her jockey Patrick Mullins Pink Hat was never able to get in a blow at the impressive eight length winner. Winning trainer Sean Doyle told me that his charge was at home on the decent ground, she will now be put away until the late spring and the long term plan is the Galway festival where there will be a couple of races to suit her.
Mullins and stable jockey Ruby Walsh looked to have the two mile and three beginners chase at their mercy with Kalmann as they headed towards the second last fence however the odds on favourite came a cropper leaving Golanbrook to finish in splendid isolation seventy nine lengths clear of He Rock’s.
Trained by Tom Foley of Danoli fame the winner has been a good servant to connections winning a bumper and three over hurdles, he as shown up well in a few decent beginners chases and was certainly winning out of turn. Foley told me that he has nothing in mind for his charge but is expecting the handicapper to anchor him fairly well when he goes down that route.
Mullins’ tale of woe continued in the two mile and a half maiden hurdle when Turnandgo unseated Patrick Mullins at the second last flight when under pressure and not certain to succeed.
Starting one of the hottest favourites ever seen at the venue the five year old went to post at odds of 1/10, his hurdling was far from fluent and was being roused along when stumbling and shooting Patrick out of the saddle. Victory went to the 10/1 chance Gort An Chnoic who made every post a winning one and shaded top verdict by a nose from Willow Grange after a tremendous set-to. Sporting first time blinkers Gort An Chnoic is trained near Kilworth by Sean O’Brien who told me that the seven year old will now head to Limerick for winners contest over the Yuletide period but his true vocation is jumping fences and he will make transition sometime in the new year.
Templemore handler John Ryan who was responsible for the runner-up has his string in great order at present, he landed the featured conditions hurdle with Foildubh at Thurles the previous week and was on the mark again here courtesy of Kylecrue who caused an upset in the 80-95 handicap hurdle for claiming jockeys.
Given a stylish ride by Ryan Treacy the son of Gold Well who has been caused some unparlimentery names in the past certainly put his best foot forward on this occasion.
Treacy always had him in a handy position before taking over at the hurdle before the straight and in spite of jumping out to his left at the final couple of flights had enough in reserve to land the spoils by two and threequarter lengths from Dawn Flyer.
Piltown based trainer David O’Brien added his name to the scoresheet when saddling Is Herself About to run out an impressive winner of the two mile beginners chase.
Without a victory in almost two years the Flemensfirth mare had shown some improvement in recent outings and she was not neglected in the betting market. Always close to the pace Is herself About was sent to the front by jockey John Cullen at the top of the hill and from there the combination never saw another rival as they passed the post eleven lengths ahead of Treat Yourself.
Like many others Arthur Moore has suffered badly in the recession with only a handful of victories to his credit this term so it was good to see him visit the winners enclosure when Miteball Forluck got up in the very last stride to touch off Tellherimnothere in the 83-112 handicap chase over a two mile trip. Ridden patiently by Barry Cash the son of Westerner still had plenty to do turning to face the judge but picked up well and finished best of all.
Making his handicap debut Miteball Forluck did not set the world on fire on his two previous outings over fences but since he is only a five year old he has time on his side and is bound to improve.