Ben Coen got off the mark with his first winner of 2022
Ben Coen got off the mark for 2022 when combining with Curragh trainer Johnny Murtagh to win the six-furlong maiden with Angel Girl at the rescheduled Dundalk meeting last week.
The well-supported 9/4 favourite got up in the final strides to get the better of the front-running Joseph O’Brien hope Hypernova and then held off the late lunge of the day’s big gamble, Ma France, backed from 50/1 to 7/2, to score by a head.
Fethard man Coen said, “She jumped out smartly and has probably sharpened up a bit from the last day. When Friday’s meeting was cancelled we were drawn in stall 10 and we got put out another three to stall 13 today so she has actually done well.
"She’s a good, hardy, honest filly and it’s nice to get a maiden win into her. I’d say she will stay seven and hopefully she keeps going in the right direction.”
It was Murtagh’s second winner of the New Year. Coen’s cousin Andrew Slattery made it three winners for the New Year when teaming up with his father Andy to take the opening division of the eight-furlong handicap with Sunset Nova.
In the familiar colours of the Men Of Forty Eight Syndicate, the 10/1 chance led inside the final furlong to beat the Jimmy Lambe-trained Reverberation by three-parts of a length to record his sixth success on his 60th start.
Above: Rachael Blackmore
The Kenny Alexander-owned Brampton Belle bounced back to winning ways with a narrow, and possibly fortunate, success under Rachael Blackmore in the Listed BetVictor Apple’s Jade Mares Novice Hurdle at the rearranged fixture at Navan on Sunday week last.
The weekend storms caused a 48-hour delay to the meeting but Henry de Bromhead’s six-year-old certainly wasn’t put out. A well-supported 7/2 chance, she got the better of the front-running Shane O’Brien-trained My Design after the final hurdle and then held off the late surge of Joseph O’Brien’s 9/4 favourite Lunar Display by a diminishing half a length to record her second win from just four starts.
De Bromhead commented, “I’m delighted with that, she really toughed it out and Rachael was brilliant on her. That’s her gig, she stays well, jumps well and I’d say the softer the better for her. The plan was always to come here and then head on to Limerick next month for the Grade 3 Shannon Spray Mares Novice Hurdle over two miles and six furlongs.”
The father and son team of Eamonn and Eoin O’Connell from Cullen, west Tipperary struck at Punchestown on Wednesday of last week when 11/1 chance The Niffler took the opening division of the two and-a-half-mile handicap hurdle.
Coming from well off the pace, the five-year-old beat John McConnell’s Command Chain by a length and three-parts with the winning trainer saying, “He’ll be alright going forward and I’d say he’ll go through anything and will go on nice ground too.
"Hopefully he’ll keep progressing and he’ll run again in three or four weeks’ time. He’s still only five so won’t overface him. I’ve nothing picked out and we’ll see where we end up.”
County Kilkenny trainer Pat Murphy gave Cahir’s Nathan Crosse his third winner of the winter series and his 80th winner in all as Craft Irish landed the seven furlong maiden at Dundalk on Friday night.
Owned by the J & J Racing Partnership, the 4/5 favourite had loads in hand as he beat the John Nallen-trained Cristal Clere by two and-a-half lengths.
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