‘BUILDING Bridges’ (28/1) provided a local victory in the handicap hurdle at the Downpatrick meeting on Friday, May 6, for father and son duo Gary and Oran McGill. The winner made every yard of the running in the long distance event and the Maghera based amateur rider Oran McGill, who is establishing himself on the local points circuit, can be proud of the ride he gave his father’s horse, which had been bought for £3,000 from cross-channel handler Stuart Edmonds.
McGill Junior said: “We sort of expected it as he was going well at home. He always went from the front in England and we thought he was too keen. We tried him from behind the last day at Down Royal, but he sulked, so today we said we would give it a shot out in front. He loved it. We got a breather at the top of the hill and he sailed down the hill and ran on right to the line.”
‘Ottoman Style’ (3s to 2/1), trained by John McConnell, won the opener supplying jockey Thomas Reilly with his fourth success. The former winner of an Irish point to point was only having his second outing for the trainer, having been bought from British trainer, Jamie Snowden. The winner quickly moved to the front rank at the third flight and, having always been close, led two from home assuming command and won with a degree of ease.
McConnell said: “He’s a lovely big horse. He had a promising first run and had come on from it. He likes nice ground and obviously he will make a nice chaser.”
The County Meath trainer doubled up on the night when ‘Wild Shot’, with Shane Fitzgerald aboard, easily won the maiden hurdle. The field was quickly strung out from the start, but four had claims at the last, where the front-running ‘Dromolought’ made a very bad blunder, however, the winner had made steady improvement from three out to score.
The Andrew Kinirons trained ‘Hidden Land’ (16s to 100/30) proved the runway winner of the mares handicap hurdle. The winner, partnered by amateur Johnny Barry, tracked the leader ‘Reverse Polarity’ throughout the contest, prior to leading at the penultimate flight and won with plenty in hand.
Kinirons said: “She had a great run in Cheltenham and she didn’t have a race at all in Punchestown. It probably left her fresh, as she was bucking and squealing after it. She loves this track and the owner is actually local originally, so it is great for him and he is over so we are delighted.”
The three-mile handicap chase was run at a hectic pace, but it was ‘Nuttoridge’, trained at Sligo by Mark McNiff, that prevailed and continued the successful week of jockey Philip Enright.
Enright said: “Mark was confident he would run well and he likes this track – Mark has an excellent strike rate here. Hopefully he can get some better horses, as he does a great job with those he has.”
‘Golden Ferret’, with Irish Grand National winning jockey Paddy O’Hanlon in the saddle, was the very easy winner of the handicap chase run at a good pace and the lead alternating numerous times. The winner, trained by Paul Stafford, led three from home and thereafter had the race in safe keeping.
The concluding bumper developed into a duel in the closing stages, when ‘Meetingofthewaters’ overhauled long-time leader and favourite ‘Ellis Boyd Redding’ in the closing stages, supplying another family success with the winner trained by Eugene O’Sullivan and ridden by his daughter, Maxine and warranting the very long trip from Mallow, County Cork.
Maxine O’Sullivan said: “He had a really nice run last time and finished really strongly. We were probably riding him a small big cagey in Cork to make sure he finished his race and pulling up I was delighted with him. I think he will appreciate a bit of nicer ground again. Most of his runs, unfortunately for him, have been on heavy and he has done brilliantly, but we think he might appreciate the better ground. He’s a lovely horse and we are delighted to have him.”
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