Ruby keeps on a roll at Roscommon
FRESH from recording a double together at Limerick on Sunday, Tony Martin and Ruby Walsh maintained their purple patch with another winner at Roscommon.
Martin's string have started the winter campaign in fine fettle and Miriam's Dream (9/4) underlined the potency of his partnerships with Walsh as the six-year-old dug deep to capture the Athleague Maiden Hurdle.
The son of Lord Americo had to battle to see off 6/4 favourite Minella Reception and Davy Russell by a head after an exciting battle away from the last.
"I thought he might blow up a bit but Ruby gave him a great ride," said Martin. "I'm delighted as he is owned by a great bunch of lads from Dublin which includes Declan Arthurs, who bred the horse."
Martin's Meath colleague Gordon Elliott unveiled an exciting prospect in the closing bumper as Bonisland defied a market drift to make a successful transition from point-to-points to the racecourse.
The four-year-old had scored impressively between the flags at Sligo and was subsequently bought by Michael O'Leary at the Brightwells Cheltenham National Hunt Sales in May for £125,000.
Racing in the colours of O'Leary's Gigginstown House Stud, the 7/2 shot took up the running with two furlongs to go and while he tired close home, he galloped on strongly to beat the Dessie Hughes-trained Thunder And Roses (running in the same silks) by a length.
Ballygill Gale followed up on his recent Galway handicap chase success as he took the two-and-a-half-mile handicap hurdle under Barry Geraghty for trainer Val O'Brien.
Sent off the 5/2 favourite, the son of Sheer Danzig stayed on strongly to score by just over two lengths from John Neilan's Noble Pageant.
The Flat action was confined to the first four races and saw Coolibah break her duck at the second time of asking with a smooth display in the opening juvenile fillies' maiden. Sent off a largely unconsidered 16/1 chance for the one-mile contest following an uninspiring Curragh debut run last month, Charles O'Brien's juvenile was much sharper on this occasion.
Favourite Pearl Of Africa showed good speed in the early stages but the alarms started ringing with a furlong and a half to go as Declan McDonogh brought the winner with a powerful run to hit the front and his mount stretched over five lengths clear of Coquette Noire.
"She is a lovely big filly and seemed to handle the ground well," McDonogh said.
There was another big upset in the Oran Maiden over 10 furlongs as 33/1 outsider Coilogshakeysirgin, ridden by Ben Curtis, beat Aidan O'Brien's red-hot favourite Exact.
The Sabrina Harty-trained Coilogshakeysirgin was making its Flat debut, though he had trailed home in two bumpers, and got up close to home to land the spoils by a length.
"He is a horse who has loads of speed but Jamie Codd was riding him in bumpers and said that he just wasn't staying," Harty explained.
"He is owned and bred by Chris Byrne and Chris broke a number of bones when he fell from him while doing a piece of work at home one day. He is very quirky at home and killed a calf! We all call him the calf killer now. He is massive and he is probably still growing."
Joseph O'Brien remains five ahead of Pat Smullen in the race for the jockeys' title after they enjoyed one winner each. Smullen struck first on Vasoni (9/2) for Timothy Doyle as the veteran rider showed all his strength to get his mount up close to home in the seven-furlong handicap, but O'Brien responded by partnering Dusty Trail (6/1) to victory for Eoin Doyle in the Knockcroghery Handicap.