Saturday 24 March 2018

'Boris' triggers Listowel double for Fleming

Landofhopeandglory, here winning at Galway, carries top weight in the nursery at Listowel today
Landofhopeandglory, here winning at Galway, carries top weight in the nursery at Listowel today

Michael Hanley

On a day when the ground at Listowel held up remarkably well, considering the heavy rainfall in the south-west over the weekend, Alan Fleming took the training honours at the track with a short-priced double.

First up for Fleming was the success of Boris De Blae, which maintained his progress by following up on his Downpatrick bumper win by landing the three-mile maiden hurdle in the familiar colours of owner Barry Connell.

The five-year-old, which had the benefit of two previous runs over flights, was sent off the 10/11 favourite, and punters who supported him into the price must have been happy with themselves as Adrian Heskin's mount travelled like a market leader should for most of the journey.

Having settled his horse in mid-division off a sedate early pace set by Icantsay, Heskin eased his mount closer going down the back straight for the last time, and a good jump at the third last saw him move behind the leader.

Icantsay tried to rally up the straight, but Heskin just had to nudge the favourite to the front between the final two flights, and the pair galloped clear on the run-in to record a three-length victory from the long-time leader.

The Fleming double was completed in the closing bumper as Volvalien, running in the same yellow silks of Connell, made all the running for an emphatic 19-length victory.

Sent off the 6/4 favourite, the six-year-old was sent straight into the lead by Steven Clements, who gradually wound up the pace on the final circuit and never saw another rival. Heath King (20/1) finished a distant second under Finian Maguire for Denis Leahy.

The feature prize was the Kerry Group Handicap Chase, and the spoils here went to the John Ryan-trained Kylecrue, which has been a model of consistency all summer and recorded his fourth win of the year.

A winner of three handicap hurdles, the eight-year-old was running for the first time over fences since May, and the 5/1 shot showed no signs of ring-rustiness as Danny Mullins quickly sent him to the front.

Ryan's charge was headed by 11/4 favourite Rogue Angel at the fourth last fence, but, showing admirable courage, Kylecrue regained the lead jumping two out and showed the greater resolution to beat the market leader by just over a length.

The biggest prize at the Kerry venue today comes on the level as 10 runners are scheduled to line up in the €30,000 EBF Premier Nursery over a mile.

The top weight of 9-7 is carried by Aidan O'Brien's Landofhopeandglory, which does have the benefit of having five pounds removed from its back courtesy of the claim of the trainer's son Donnacha.

An impressive winner on his debut at Galway, the son of High Chaparral is as low as 20/1 in the ante-post market for next year's Epsom Derby, and he is bred to get every yard of the trip. However, it may pay to side with one of the lower weights with Emily Square, Set To Fire and Verbosity all worthy of closer inspection.

Dewdrop is the Ballydoyle representative in the opening fillies' maiden, in which Charles O'Brien's Rose Of Tralee would be an appropriate winner, while it should be worth waiting for John Queally's Uncle Danny in the finale as Ruby Walsh's mount has some excellent form in the book.

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