VETERAN Ballyclare trainer, Harry Smyth, who stock car raced in his younger days, is nothing if not patient and persistent. Three years since he last recorded success, Smyth was back in the Downpatrick winners’ enclosure on Sunday, June 13, when ‘Willyouwalkwithme’ kept on gamely to prevail by a nose in the second division of the handicap hurdle.
The local winner was only sixth prior to the last and hard ridden by jockey, Dylan Johnston but responded to
the urging to record a popular victory.
Smyth said: “I thought he would win today, as he has been going well at home and had run well here before. That’s his (Dylan Johnston) first winner. I told him I would get him a win. He knew where the line was and that’s a good wee horse. I would have thought there would be another day in him. I’ve only three horses. As long as you keep it fun, you’re not getting into trouble!”
Trainer, Denise Foster end-
ed a 50-plus losing run, when ‘Fakir D’Alene’, under a very competent ride from Jordan Gainford, claimed the opening maiden. The winner was settled in mid-division and, while chased along, readily hit the front after the final flight.
Gainford said: “It was a messy race. The track wasn’t probably ideal – it was a little bit sharp. He was flat out at the top of the hill. I think a bigger galloping track would suit.”
Trainer, Noel Meade has an excellent record at the
course and ‘Charlie Siringo’, with Eoin Walsh aboard, maintained his strike rate. ‘Hardwired’ looked the poss-ible winner, when leading four out, but found nothing when joined by the winner at the third last, after which the Meade runner stretched clear, while favourite ‘Was-dale Park’ never figured.
Walsh said: “I got a dream run around – I got a gap down the inside and I didn’t want to leave the rail, so I took it and kept going forward.”
Sligo handler, Mark McNiff is another with a great re-cord of winners at the local course and ‘Mr Moondance’, under an ultra-enterprising ride from Cathal Landers, established a huge lead from the start and when the favourite ‘Longacre Square’, which was a distant second, ran out four from home the race thereafter was always in safe keeping.
McNiff said: “Sure he has only one way of going and that’s hard as he can for as long as he can. It sounds ridiculous, because he is still a runaway, but I’d say he’s after settling a fraction with old age. He’s hardly improving at that age, but I’d say he’s less stupid.”
The featured mares hand-
icap hurdle was won by ‘April’s Joy’ in a four-way finish – three necks sep-arating the principals and supplying trainer, Gavin Cromwell, who had to settle for runner up in the opener, with compensation. The win-
ner, partnered by Conor Maxwell, led two from home and was always proving best afterwards.
Maxwell said: “She’s a tough filly – she has won a point-to-point, a hurdle, a chase and a flat race. She’s been good to me and she did it well.”
The Irish Grand National winning trainer Dermot McLaughlin claimed the first division of the handicap hurdle when ‘Massons Castle’ was produced late by jockey, Adam Short between horses at the last to win going away.
Short said: “He had a very good run in Fairyhouse the first day. His jumping was a bit sloppy in Kilbeggan. Here the last day, he ran over two five and probably didn’t get home.”
The top two in the market dominated proceedings in the Rated Hurdle with the Henry De Bromhead trained ‘Schone Aussicht’ – a five-time flat winner in Germany with Mikey O’Connor aboard – readily disposing of the better fancied ‘Clonbury Bridge’ to win.
O’Connor said: “Her jump-ing was brilliant for a mare that came off the Flat, she is just a real natural jumper. She seemed to do every-
thing very easily there now today.”
‘Carrigmoorna Elm’, trained by Declan Queally and with Mikey Sweeney in the saddle made all to win the finale.
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