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Report | Kirkistown 10th Feb 18

"“We still have to win another point to qualify for the Foxhunters at Cheltenham so we are running short on time.”"

Bitterly cold conditions greeted the racegoers who braved the winter weather at Kirkistown on Saturday with Mark O’Hare enjoying a double on the day. O’Hare’s opening winner of the day came in the Dennison Commercials Ltd four-year-old maiden aboard the Warren Ewing-trained Bold Plan.

The son of Jeremy was prominent throughout where he progressed to lead from the halfway point and was never headed after that. Quickening the pace over the final few obstacles, Bold Plan asserted clear before the final fence where he secured an eight length win over New Age Dawning. Purchased by Bernice Stables for €28,000 at last years Goff Land Rover Sale, Bold Plan is the first runner and winner out of the King’s Theatre mare Kings Orchid who was placed over hurdles.

Training the winner for the third year in a row, a delighted Ewing commented “He jumped great and he is very professional about how he does things.  Mark said he had plenty left in the tank at the finish.  He’s a very nice horse and we thought he would run a big race.  He will improve for the run and will head to the sales now.”

O’Hare didn’t have to wait long for the second leg of his double when the Jerry Cosgrave-trained Tin Town Liz ran out the comfortable 25 length winner over Quinnsborotemptres in the McCausland Light & Rankin Ltd five-and-six-year-old mares’ maiden.

Carrying the colours of the Oliver family syndicate, the daughter of Scorpion made it a pillar to post victory to provide her handler with his first winner of the season. This was Tin Town Liz’s debut run in point-to-points having previously recorded a fourth-place finish in a three-year-old hurdle at Fairyhouse in December 2016.

“I wasn’t sure how she would go in the heavy ground but she jumped great and did it easily at the finish.  She is a real decent mare.  Hopefully she will go to the sales now”, reported her winning handler.
Former Grade one winner, Morning Assembly secured his first win in open company when he won the James Murdoch Contracts open for the Pat Fahy yard. Ridden to victory by his handler’s son, Conor, the eleven-year-old had previously finished second at Dungarvan at the end of January and made steady progress throughout to take up the lead at the penultimate fence where he kept on well to win by five lengths over Vinnie Luck.

Winning handler Fahy stated, “To be honest we didn’t know where we were until he ran in Dungarvan but he improved for that outing and looked good today.  We still have to win another point to qualify for the Foxhunters at Cheltenham so we are running short on time.  He is a classy horse and he will improve again for that.”
The 1/2 favourite Milan Dancer registered her third win of the season for her handler Noel Kelly when she won the Old Manor Mill mares’ winners of two with ten lengths over her runner-up City Break. Ridden by Noel McParlan, the seven-year-old mare opened her account in points at Loughanmore in October for the Kelly family and backed that victory up with a win at Loughbrickland the following month.

“She really loves that ground and did it easily today.  She came up against a good winner the last day who has won again since so that has turned out to be a good race.  She will continue in points and could go for the mare’s title”, reported her winning handler. 
The debutant Hotel Du Nord ran out the good winner of the Albert Bartlett five-year-old maiden for Wexford-based handler, Sean Doyle. Racing in mid-division until the seventh fence, the son of Voix Du Nord disputed the lead for the remainder of the race where he held a commanding advantage turning into the home straight and combined with a good jump at the last, he secured a comfortable six length win over Ballyart in the hands of Rob James.

Graham Breen representing Doyle commented “He won that very easily and is by a good sire Voix Du Nord.  It was worth the long trip up which took us four and a half hours.  He’s laid-back horse and jumps well.  He will head to the sales now.”

Commanding Spirit had his consistency rewarded when he took the John Beers Recovery & Commercial Repairs six-year-old-and-upwards maiden for his owner Christopher Johnston. The Peter Flood-trained winner had finished runner-up on his previous three starts and was given a patient ride by Anthony Fox where he progressed to join the leader Derryhale on the turn into the home straight and was left a clear passage following the latter’s exit at the final fence to win by 25 lengths over his runner-up Bel Cavallo.

“He has been running well recently and we were thinking maybe against running him with the ground being so heavy but I’m glad we did.  I’m delighted to get the winner for his owner Christopher Johnston.  Anthony (Fox) gave him a great ride, hunting him around and he did it well. He has been consistent and deserved to get his head in front and he will go for a winner’s race now” commented a delighted Flood on his winner who is out of a half-sister to The Listerner.

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