The Edward O’Grady trained Gallant Tipp made successful debut over hurdles when taking the opening two mile maiden hurdle at Clonmel on Thursday.
A Roscommon Bumper winner last season in the colours of the trainer’s wife the son of Definite Article gelding now races in the JP McManus livery and he was the only one that punters wanted to know about, hence his starting price of 11/10.
Settled behind the leaders by rider Mark Walsh Gallant Tipp took time to get his jumping together but the further they went the better he became. He made significant improvement on the downhill run to the straight to lead after the second last flight and ran on well to defeat Wilde Sapphire by three lengths.
In his post race remarks O’Grady revealed that his charge had a fall while schooling the previous week which probably effected his confidence but he pinged the final two flights which was a big help. He was pleased with the way he handled the ground however, he will not be aiming too high for the present and will be on the lookout for a nice winners contest to further his education. This might yet turn out to be a decent performance as Gallant Tipp was conceding over a stone to the runner-up which was well fancied at Tramore but was turned the wrong way when the tapes went up.
Catch Me looked like he was going to complete a double for the winning connections when he ranged up alongside Truckin All Night going to the final hurdle in the three mile 89-114 handicap hurdle but failed to find as much as the latter from there and was beaten by a length and threeparts.
Without a win in four years or so Catch Me showed that there might still be a race in him in spite of the fact that he is now rising twelve years of age but he owes connections nothing as he has been a great servant to them.
Truckin All Night was the gamble of the race tightening from 10/1 at morning prices into a solid 4/1 chance, he was given a confident ride by Paddy Mangan as he was always on the heels of the leaders. Mangan threw down the gauntlet to the rest of the field leaving the back straight by sending the seven year old into a lead that he never subsequently relinquished. A maiden hurdle winner at the Listowel festival meeting in 2012 Trucking All night seemed to lose his way subsequently but finished well from off the pace at this years meeting, according to his handler Jimmy Mangan he is coming back to his beat and with easier conditions to contend from now on he can be placed to advantage again.
Feature race on the card was the Wilderness chase, a conditions event over two mile and a four and it produced a hugely popular winner in White Star Line under as polished ride from Bryan Cooper.
Trained by Dessie Hughes the son of Saddlers Hall was returning to the fray after landing the Kerry National at Listowel but unfortunately his owner Patsy Byrne passed away suddenly a couple of weeks after that victory so this success had some bittersweet memories. Starting at a shade of odds on White Star Line was settled in third place as Martin Ferris made the running aboard Becauseicouldntsee, the latter gave way early in the straight where White Star Line took over and from there found enough to see off the challenge of Make A Track by a couple of lengths. Hughes who is recovering from surgery was absent from the meeting but Cooper reported that the winner is only just coming to himself right now. He will be aimed at some of the good three mile chases with the Beecher Chase at Aintree a distinct possibility.
Mouse Morris provided the biggest upset of the day when he saddled Baily Dusk to land the three mile 79-109 handicap chase at 25/1. A maiden hurdle winner nearly three years ago the seven year old was still a maiden over fences going into this race and was sporting first time blinkers. He proceeded to make mockery of the formbook by leading from the second fence and pulling out plenty when it was required to defeat fellow outsider Thelobstercatcher by four and a half lengths.
Well regarded in his novice days the winner has been difficult to keep right and Morris paid tribute to his owner Adam Scott and surgeon Gerry Kelly who performed his wind operation. The trainer will not be aiming too high with Baily Dusk but he is well handicapped and if reproducing this form he is capable of winning again.
It was a day to remember for amateur jockey Ambrose McCurtin as he recorded his first double aboard Love On Top and Hard Bought both of which were trained by John Joe Walsh. A Ballinrobe bumper winner Love On Top who is also owned by McCurtin set the ball rolling when defeating Lilly Of The Moor in the opening two and a half mile maiden hurdle. not without support the daughter of Westener came for her race in the straight before jumping the last in front and galloping all the way to the line where she had a length and threeparts to spare.
Hard Bought looked in trouble coming down the hill in the extended two mile amateur handicap hurdle and in spite of a mistake at the last flight he responded well to the urgings of Curtin to lead in the closing stages to complete the brace for the trainer and rider.