ABSTRACTION’ [16s to 7/1] defied a six year absence from the winners enclosure when claiming the sprint handicap for Banbridge trainer, Natalie Lupini at Down Royal on Friday evening. Partnered by Shane Foley, the local horse recorded a clear cut victory when, having always been prominent, led in the final stages for an easy success.
Lupini, originally from Milan, said: “He is a horse very close to my heart. Since I bought him, he’s been my baby really. I’m delighted to see him winning for me, this is special for everyone in the yard. The owners love him. It really is special, because he had loads of problems, so it is great to have him back in the winners enclosure. Shane (Foley) was brilliant on him – best ride I’ve seen!”
Donnacha O’Brien completed a double when landing the featured listed race Her Majesty’s Plate on ‘Downdraft’, trained his brother Joseph. British runner ‘Altra Vita’ attempted to make all, but the winner, fourth for most, challenged at the furlong mark readily denying favourite, ‘The King’, while ‘Giuseppe Garibaldi’, last for most of the race, kept on to claim third.
Donnacha said: “He’s a beautiful horse to ride, you just throw the reins at him and he goes along at his own pace. Then when you give him a squeeze, he is there for you. He’s an improving horse and I think the step up in trip brought about more improvement. I’ll leave it to Joseph (O’Brien), but there is anywhere he can go with him – he can go anywhere, he is tactical and he relaxes, so you would have a load of options with him.”
The long odds-on favourite ‘Royal County Down’ and ‘Recall the Show’ fought a duel at the head of affairs in the two-year-old maiden, with the first named trained by Aidan O’Brien, with son Donnacha aboard, prevailing by a nose at the line.
O’Brien junior said: “He’s a little bit of a slow learner, but once he got the hang of things he stuck his head out front.”
The John Murphy trained ‘Think Big’ denied the hot favourite ‘Millisle’ in the opener, however, connections had a lengthy wait before the winner all right was called, with a stewards enquiry called as the winner drifted right in the last 50 yards, despite jockey Robbie Colgan efforts to keep his mount straight.
Trainer’s son and assistant trainer George Murphy said: “There’s no doubt he is a very, very good horse. He was just actually a bit green there when he did hit the front. The best horse won on the day.”
Trainer, Denis Hogan supplied the first and third in the Magners Handicap with the winner ‘Bahwlan’, partnered by apprentice Joseph Sheridan, challenging five wide at the furlong marker to relegate the front running ‘Sweetest Taboo’ to second, while ‘Gopsies Daughter’ filled third in a blanket finish for the places.
Sheridan said: “He did (come home strongly), he jumped alright and sat in behind the leaders and picked up well the very minute I asked him. Denis’s (Hogan) horses are flying.” [Hogan also successful at Wexford].
Sheridan doubled up on the night when recording a runaway victory aboard ‘Lusis Naturea’ in the apprentice handicap supplying trainer, Paul Traynor with his first success and the winner locally owned by Karen McNeilly.
Traynor’s partner Karen McNeilly said: “I’ve had ‘Lusis Naturea’ since he was about four. We wanted to keep him at home, so Paul passed his licence about six or seven weeks ago. We’ve only a couple in as we’ve only started. It is just something that Paul has always wanted to do. Hopefully it is onwards and upwards. We are based just off Nutts Corner in County Antrim.”
The Aidan Fogarty trained ‘Next stop Broadway’, with Shane Crosse in the saddle, made most of the running to claim the finale.
Fogarty said: “Sure he’s as tough as nails. Con (Marnane) bought him cheap and he is a grand horse. We might find something in Galway towards the end of the week. I think there is a race there for him on Saturday, so he might go for that.”
The veteran 12-year-old ‘Black Spot On’, having attempted to make all, had to settle for a dead heat with ‘Mister Butler’ in the handicap hurdle at Wexford on Friday night, maintaining Armagh trainer, Ronan McNally’s run of success.