A very successful benefit meeting for the Clonmel Hospice Support Group at Clonmel last Thursday comprised a seven race mixed card which featured the SEPAM Tipperary Perpetual Cup Handicap over two miles and half a furlong. Patrons were treated to very competitive fare and enjoyed a number of exciting finishes. Three favourites proved successful and a number of good gambles were landed despite the testing conditions which were officially described as soft (heavy in places).
The big event was the fourth race on the card and produced very open betting with Beau Michael going off favourite at 5/1 having been supported from 7/1 with Headford Flyer second best at 11/2 also from 7/1 together with the 2010 winner of the race Galianna.. After Idarah had made the early running Scots Gaelic took it up with five furlongs left and was five lengths clear entering the home straight. However he failed to last home and was challenged by Headford Flyer and Beau Michael in the final furlong and in an exciting climax the former under an excellent ride from Kevin Manning too the coveted trophy by three-quarters of a length from Beau Michael with Scots Gaelic a length and three-quarters back in third place. The winner last ran in a chase in Wexford and enjoyed the conditions. He is trained near Cork racecourse outside Mallow by Eoghan O’Grady who hinted that a return to chasing at Killarney this week is a likely option.
The opening race of an evening which saw all events with the exception of the Sepam Tipperary Cup run under the banner of Clonmel Hospice Support Group was a flat maiden over the two and a half furlong trip and it attracted a fine field including a number of highly rated hurdlers led by Rebel Fitz which went off the 6/4 market leader.
Though bound for chasing, this seven-year-old proved most impressive on conditions which his trainer Michael Winters from Kanturk in Co. Cork described as beautiful summer National Hunt ground. With Shamie Heffernan in the saddle Rebel Fitz coasted to a facile five length win over He’ll Be Remembered with Jacksonslady three-quarters of a length back in third place.
Only two counted in the market for the second event a flat handicap over the same extended two mile trip. Ghareer trained in Co. Waterford by John Morrison edged favouritism at 2/1 over the 9/4 chance One Cool Shabra running for the ever colourful Monaghan trained Patrick O Brady. One Cool Shabra set out to make all the running and stayed on in fine style in the last furlong to take the spoils by four and a half lengths from the 33/1 outsider Faranadooney with Ghareer four lengths back in third place. The winner which is owned by Rita Shah was greeted by Brady in his unique style and he informed one and all that the Galway Hurdle would be the next objective.
The second division of the flat handicap saw Enter The Indian go off the well backed 15/8 favourite but this one found one too good in the shape of the 10/1 chance Ionisphere (over 14/1 on the tote) which went clear in the final furlong before being all out to hold the flying finish of the favourite by the narrowest of margins in a gripping finish. Sounds of Thunder took third place some two and a quarter lengths in arrears of the runner-up. This proved a third career win for Ionisphere which is trained on the Curragh by Willie McCreery and was well handled by Wayne Lordan who is having a great season.
Local trainer Edward O’Grady and another in form rider Barry Geraghty were supported to 5/2 favouritism to take the maiden hurdle with Tugboat. However, this one could only keep on at the one pace in the final stages as the 4/1 chance Glamorous partnered by Robbie Power stayed on best to defeat the John O’Shea trained 25/1 chance Regal One by a length and a quarter. A successful soft ground performer Glamorous can surely add to this success given similar conditions. She is trained in Moone, Co. Kildare by Jessica Harrington and owned by her husband John.
A huge gamble was landed in the penultimate event a handicap hurdle over two and a half miles. The Adare based trainer John Long who had not saddled a winner since May, 2008 was represented by Baresi, a son of Milan which had not won in fourteen previous races but was heavily backed at 25/1 in the offices before opening up at 9 /1 on course and ending up the 4/1 favourite. Baresi given a great ride by five pound claimer Robbie Jones was always prominent but was headed two furlongs from home and came again to get up and score by a neck from the 10/1 chance Credit Box with Moving On back in third place.
Despite having won with five of their last nine bumper runners the Willie Mullins stable’s newcomer Mr. Groocock was opposed in the market by the Edward O’Grady trained Crocus Bay and the pair went to post inseparable at 5/4 joint favourites. On the track, however the Mullins representative proved far superior and romped to an eight and a half length win over his rival with Fast Eddie six and a half lengths back in third place.
Owned by the Matt The Millers Partnership and ridden by the trainer’s son Patrick, Mr. Groocock is according to his handler a summer horse who will go jumping before long.
The next meeting at Clonmel is scheduled for Thursday evening, May 31.
In common with the Tipperary meetings held in recent weeks, Clonmel’s meeting last Thursday benefited substantially from French racecourse betting on the tote and the evening’s aggregate bet amounted to j667,757.27 compared to the j89,649.57 wagered at last year’s corresponding meeting.
The Jackpot pool of j5,000 saw one lucky winner receive a dividend of j3,750 while 936 units shared the Placepot pool of j24,608.73 with each unit receiving j19.70.