O'Connor steals show at Cork
Mikey O'Connor was the man to follow at Cork yesterday as he completed a double in the saddle and also trained one of his winners.
O'Connor has exhibited his training skills with the progressive Make It Better, which completed a four-timer under his own guidance in the Glenview & Rathbarry Studs Mares Hunters Chase.
Previously successful in four point-to-points, and on her last three previous outings, the daughter of Son Of Sharp Shot had the measure of Rose Of Fairyhill when that rival fell two out, leaving Make It Better to score easily by 17 lengths.
Afterwards O'Connor, sporting a nasty looking cut over his left eye from a fall at Inch point-to-point last Wednesday, said he felt his mare is continuing to improve.
"While we were thinking about putting her in-foal, we'll keep her on the go now -- she has a nice mark over hurdles. Her half-brother (Banksters Bonus) won a mile maiden at The Curragh last year."
O'Connor completed a double by landing the Pegus Horse Feed Point-to-Point Series Bumper with the Kevin O'Sullivan-trained Leave Him Alone.
The son of Oscar, which was backed into 2/1 favourite, was produced to lead on the outer a furlong and a half out, before stretching clear for a five-lengths win over Forgotten Gold.
The opening maiden hurdle was captured by Ruaidhri Tierney's Boland's Corner. Ridden by Damien Murphy, the son of Fraam made most before seeing off the challenge of Eirland by a length and a quarter.
"Boland's Corner is from a German Flat pedigree and loved that good ground," said Tierney. "The first-time blinkers seemed to turn him inside out too and while he had a good run two runs back, my horses were sick when he ran last."
The Pat Colville-trained The Big Boyo benefited from first-time blinkers when scoring by 19 lengths from Rivazza in the beginners' chase.
Tim Townend's Emergency Cover caused a 25/1 upset when amazingly proving the third horse to win in first-time blinkers in the Munster Hunters Chase. Capitalising on the fall of favourite Annacarton, he won by five lengths from Optimus Prime under teenager James Joyce, who was partnering his first racecourse winner.
The Dessie Hughes-trained Optimum Force ran out the easy winner of the Coolmore NH Sires Ask & Getaway Hunters Chase. Ridden by Kevin Power, the son of City Honours moved to the front from three out and while he blundered at the next, he was six lengths too good for Owenacurra.
Jimmy Mangan saw his daughter Jane steer the 20/1 chance Jamie's Darling to win the concluding Mares Point-to-Point Bumper. This was the 17-year-old's first racecourse ride.
Mangan Jnr displayed strength and timing beyond her years to produce the daughter of Old Vic on the outer to lead inside the final furlong, eventually scoring by three and a half lengths from Bingo Lady.
Jockeys James Carroll and Damien Murphy were in the wars. Carroll was sent for X-rays on his neck after his fall from Rose Of Fairyhill, while Murphy fractured his collarbone following a fall from Clairs Choice in the beginners' chase.