FOR the large crowd attending the opening meeting of the new year, at Cork Racecourse Mallow on Saturday, witnessed a potential superstar.
In the concluding bumper, the name on everyone lips leaving the course was Golantilla, which produced a most spectacular first racecourse appearance in the concluding bumper, winning by an unchallenged 13 lengths, in the style of a well above 4-year old. And what it day it was, for Kilally Kilworth trainer Sean O'Brien, who produced his stable star fit and well fancied, for his first racecourse experience, and in doing so, completed a massive 30/1 double, having for good measure, won the previous McCarthy Insurance handicap chase, with botton weight Wilde wit Pleasure.
Golantilla was given a peach of a confident drive, by 23-year old accomplished amateur, Ciaran Fennessy from Fermoy, who was also aboard, when the 4-year old, won its point-to-point at Avane on Dec 9th, in hugely impressive fashion.
The heavily supported 7/4 fav, travelled like a dream, all through the race. Racing out of the back straight, the distinctive red colours, with the dark blue sleeves, could be seen making eyecatching progress on the outside, racing into the long finishing straight, Ciaran produced his mount on the outside, and quickly went to the front, displaying an explosive turn of foot with two to race, racing right away off a true run pace, to win unchallenged, by no less than 13 lenghts from Overbury Prince and Nouveau Moulin.
The reception witnessed in the winners enclosure, had to be seen to be believed, as hundreds thronged the winners enclosure, to congragulate the hughly popular trainer, who is also a most stylist amateur, having ridden winners all the country in a glorious career.
He was clearly thrilled, speaking to The Corkman explaining '' we bred him ourselves, and he is 16.3 hands, and has amazed me, as all his pedigree are stayers, he won his point to point, with his head in his chest, and I was very confident coming her today, even though the pressure was on, as I sent him to the Brightwell Sales recently in England, where he failed to reach the reserve I had put on him, he looks a very cheap horse now after todays performance, I expect to sent him for a winners bumper, at either Naas or Fairyhouse, and then its on to the Champion Bumper at Cheltenham in March, which was always the main plan."
Ciaran Fennessy explained to The Corkman how the race unfolded, ''he settled well and travelled well, and was always in my hands, the plan was to stay wide for the better ground, turning in he quickened impressively, without I having to ask him any kind of a serious question, I let him go three out, and from then on their was no danger, he is by far the best horse I have ever ridden, he has a serious cruising speed, and can quicken impressively from it, so its exciting times ahead for the horse, I would not mind riding again."
Sean's mother Eileen owns the winner and was present to witness a truly memorable afternoon.
Half an hour earlier Sean was in the winners enclosure, with Wilde Wit Pleasure, which was given a real peach of a a drive, by on of the countries most underated and outstanding jockeys, Davy Condon fron Glengoura Mallow, which got the better of a terrific duel with Jack Bene from the last, and as Sean explained ''this was his first handicap, and he had a light weight, at long last the handicapper has relented and given him a reasonable mark, he ran well at Leopardstown last week, which put him spot on for this."
Conna trainer Eamon Gallagher, excelled once again with his 7-year old mare Backinthere, which provided him with his second racecourse success in recent weeks, under a quite outstanding drive, by Kilally Kilworth jockey Adrian Heskin, who produced his charge three out, and quickly ascerted, to win comfortably by almost five lengths, providing the hughly talented 20 year old jockey, with his 18th win of the season, and the 66th of his glittering racing career.
Eamon was delighted with his latest success speaking to The Corkman ''I was delighted to be able to get Adrian back on board her today, as he knows her inside out, she loves the soft, and has won a point to point, she got bogged down on the very soft ground at Limerick last week, but still stayed on well, she has been placed here in a bumper, regarding her next engagement, their is a Mares Listed Hurdle coming up somewhere shortly, which she will possibly contest."
The remainder of the card was dominated by Willie Mullins, who recorded a treble, two of which were well ridden by Lisgoold jockey Paul Townend, Blackstairmountain and Terminal, while Davy Russell from Youghal was aboard Midnight Oil.
The gamble of the year so far, was landed by Dalasiri, 33/1 on track into 9/2, for trainer Sabrina Harty and jockey Andrew Lynch, in the 2ml maiden hurdle.
The next meeting at Cork Racecourse Mallow, takes place on Thursday March 21, where it is Red FM student race evening.