The Loughanmore point to point venue provided some excellent racing and a couple of possible stars on Saturday.
Surprisingly despite 35 entered in the opening four year old maiden only eleven went to the start. Downpatrick trainer Brian Hamilton supplied the winner with Bach De Clermont which he bought in France last year.
Stable jockey Declan Lavery delivered the debutante with a well-timed challenge to lead prior to the final fence as the front running Rio Bravo faded to finish third and another local runner – Tyrrell’s Success finished well to fill second place and his trainer, Danny Fitzsimmons indicated he was another possible for the sales.
The Downpatrick trainer and former Ulster Champion rider said: “Nigel Baring [from Oxfordshire] heads a syndicate of lads who own him. He’ll probably head to the sales now. He’s always shown plenty and benefitted from the summer grass. He’s a superb jumper and hard as nails – He’ll be a smashing horse to go to the course proper.”
Hamilton and Lavery highlighted their team was well forward early in the season when also claiming the second race of the day with Monlough Girl winning the mares maiden by a distance and had already looked the winner when the favourite, Boston Lady slipped up and fell turning the bend into the final fence.
Hamilton added: “Any day’s a good day when you have a winner – two confirms my thoughts the team is in good form. The mare is in foal so maybe that helped too.”
Crossgar handler Colin McBratney was present to see Marito march to victory in the featured open contest when winning in a casual canter with current local champion rider, Noel McParlan aboard.
McBratney stated: “He might get another outing in points but will probably go to Down Royal on Boxing Day for the hunterchase. The long term plan would be the Cheltenham Festival Foxhunters.”
The Crossgar trainer has seen his Carsonstown Boy finish runner-up in prestigious amateur riders race in 2014 and finish fourth in this year’s renewal.
The McBratney trained Butney Island has to settle for second behind Ticinese in the geldings maiden which supplied a local winner with Graham McKeever training beside the course and the owner – Peggy Hagan from Ballyclare a longstanding owner on the local scene and sponsor at her local venue.
McKeever Jnr, who bought the horse during the summer, advised that the winner was likely destined for the sales.
Numerous horses held serious chances going the final fence in the winners event, however A Bold Move representing the very successful Monbeg Syndicate and trained by Donnchadh Doyle prevailed to beat favourite, Ballyoptic which kept on well in the closing stages after losing his place on the final circuit.
American Image gained compensation for a last fence fall at Toome last time out when landing the finale for Glenavy based owner/trainer Michael Miller with the winner partnered by Johnny Cresswell.
FIRST RACE: 1st, Bach de Clermont [Declan Lavery] 6/4 fav; 2nd, Tyrrell’s Success; 3rd, Rio Bravo
6 – 4 11 ran
SECOND RACE: 1st, Monlough Girl [Declan Lavery] 4/1; 2nd, Malika; 3rd, Xtra Generous
Dist – 6 6 ran
THIRD RACE: 1st, Ticinese [Mark O’Hare] 3/1; 2nd, Butney Island; 3rd, Hit The Diff
12 – dist 8 ran
FOURTH RACE: 1st, A Bold Move [Robert James] 8/1; 2nd, Ballyoptic; 3rd, Theatre One
3 – 8 10 ran
FIFTH RACE: 1st, Marito [Noel McParlan] 1/2 fav; 2nd, Cootamundra; 3rd, Deputy Consort
6 – 8 6 ran
SIXTH RACE: 1st, American Image [Johnny Cresswell]; 2nd, Thornleigh Henry; 3rd, Suzy’s Music
4 – 3 7 ran