Form students were out in force at the two-day Thurles fixture on Thursday and Friday and they had plenty to ponder on by the time the fixture concluded.
Not least among the items down for discussion was the victory of Forpadydeplasterer in the three mile conditions chase at the opening session. Without a victory since his 2009 Arkle triumph at Cheltenham the Moscow Society gelding was tackling the trip and he saw it out well.
Dropped out early by rider Bryan Cooper Forpadydeplasterer gradually crept into contention going down the back on the final circuit, he was clearly going best of all turning to face the judge and when Cooper asked to for his effort going to the last fence he responded well to defeat Snooze by five and a half lengths with course specialist Berties Dream a further four and a quarter lengths further back in third place.
Winning trainer tom Cooper told me that he Ws glad to have the race out of the way as three mile on heavy ground was a worry. He will now campagain his charge with the Aintree Grand national in mind which means that the horse will have an outing over the Christmas period and one thereafter before the Liverpool showpiece.
Although he rising eleven years of age the winner still has plenty of life left bin him according to Cooper, thing went wrong for him last term so connections are hopeful that he may yet return to his glory days.
Willie Mullins looks to have a smart recruit to chasing in the shape of Marito which bolted up in the two mile and two beginners chase. a smart horse on the level in his native France the six year old has encountered plenty of training problems but Mullins has been very patient with him.
He was the only one that punters wanted to know about and he did not disappoint in the hands of Ruby Walsh. After tracking the leaders early on Marito improved to join issue leaving the back straight, Walsh was content to wait until early in the straight before popping the question and the combination quickly settled the issue winning comfortably by eleven lengths from He’llberemembered.
In his post race remarks Mullins revealed that his charge is not the biggest but has plenty of heart, he was an expensive purchase but is expected to pay his way in the fullness of time.
Charlie Swan was on the mark when Make A Track captured the two mile and six beginners chase under Davy Russell. Always in contention the son of Hernando took a definite advantage at the penultimate fence and pulled out plenty to see off the challenge of the favourite Vesper Bell by a length and a quarter. A winners of one now awaits Make A Track which Swan described as being honest if a shade below graded class.
The executive must be complimented for faming the Ken Whelan hangs up his boots handicap chase which had to be divided and there was hardly a dry eye about as a presentation was made to Whelan for his services to the game.
He has now embarked on a new career as he taken out a lease on the Water Mill in Thurles with a friend and a special retirement party will be held there next weekend. Everybody connected with racing will be hoping that Ken makes a success of his new venture and that racegoers will patronise his new establishment. It was good to see racecourse manager Pierce Molony joining in the send-off the Whelan, Pierce has been on the easy list due to illness but he looks ready to go back cantering again and hopefully he will be fighting for the next meeting at the venue.
Willie Mullins was the trainer in form at Fridays concluding session recording a three timer one of which was partnered by his son Patrick and the others by Paul Townend and David Casey.
The Shirocco filly Annie Power set the ball rolling with a runaway success in the two mile mares maiden hurdle. a dual bumper winner for the Jim Bolger yard before transferring to Mullins Annie Power was making her hurdling debut and the vibes were positive so it was not surprising to see her start a red hot favourite. Always in contention the four year old was pulling double going across the top of the hill and once Patrick gave her an inch of rein she drew right away to land the spoils by thirteen lengths from Dubh Go Leir by thirteen lengths. An out and out stayer according to Mullins Annie Power will now be stepped up to graded level where she is expected to make her mark.
Touch of Eden overcame an absence of a year and a half to open his hurdling account in fine style to give Mullins his second winner of the afternoon in the two mile maiden hurdle.
Given a patient ride by Paul Townend Touch Of Eden led off the home turn and had far too many guns for stable companion Raise Hill which he defeated by seven lengths. A fine big scopy horse the winner looks a chaser in the making but we must wait until the autumn before we see him in that discipline.
Bishopsfurze completed the hat-trick for the trainer with a workmanlike success in the two mile and six conditions hurdle. Ahead almost from the drop of the flag Bishopsfurze had to withstand a serious examination from Folsome Blue before landing the spoils by a couple of lengths.
Already a course winner the Broadway Flyer gelding is earmarked to return to chasing but will have another outing over the minor obstacles before that.