Friday 27 April 2018

Cooper out of luck on Worcester debut

Jockey Bryan Cooper. Photo: PA Wire
Jockey Bryan Cooper. Photo: PA Wire

Thomas Kelly

Bryan Cooper had to settle for second place on Guiding Stars on his first ride at Worcester.

The Kerryman went close to making a winning start on Guiding Stars, but the Harry Whittington-trained four-year-old found odds-on shot Hatcher too good in the bumper.

Cooper sent the son of Bonbon Rose (7/1) into the lead just under two furlongs out but the move was covered by Harry Skelton on Hatcher and the 8/13 favourite went on to score by a length and a quarter.

Johnny Murtagh, meanwhile, had a double at Carlisle.

Passionatta (11/2) got the ball rolling for the Co Kildare handler when he backed up a last-time-out success at Chepstow with a two-and-a-half-length victory in the Watch Racing UK ON BTTV Handicap despite having unshipped jockey Rowan Scott on the way down to the start.

Murtagh said: "Something spooked Passionatta from behind. She is normally very quiet and that was very out of character.

"Her work has always been better than what she has shown on the track but maybe trying the visor has helped along with being down in that grade on that ground."

Stablemate Les Arceaux (9/4 favourite) showed that stamina is his forte when he ground out victory in division one of the 11-furlong handicap under Ben Curtis.

Making his first start since June, the son of Arcano appeared to appreciate stepping up to one mile and three furlongs as he proved two lengths too good for Rubis.

Murtagh added: "He won well at Gowran Park on soft ground and we have been waiting for it for this horse."

Paul Hanagan and Richard Fahey also left the Cumbria circuit with a brace.

Ocean Voyage (10/1) initiated the double when she got up by a nose to make a winning debut and then Powerful Society (9/4 favourite) burst through to land the Watch Racing UK On Sky 432 Fillies' Nursery Handicap .

At home in Galway, Ruby Walsh and Willie Mullins doubled up for a 7/2 brace with Contingency in the featured Deacy Gilligan EBF Mares Hurdle having won the opener with Stratum.

Previously trained by Jane Chapple-Hyam in England, Contingency changed hands for 31,000 guineas at Tattersalls last October and was successful on her debut for Mullins at Tramore last month.

The 15/8 favourite wasn't fluent over the last but was soon ridden to lead, keeping on well in the closing stages to score by three lengths.

Meanwhile, Airlie Beach faces 11 rivals as she bids for a glorious swansong in the Listed Ardilaun Hotel Oyster Stakes, which forms the centrepiece of today's card at Ballybrit.

The seven-year-old is in foal to Mount Nelson and trainer Willie Mullins will surely be eager to see her sign off on a winning note following a fruitful career that has yielded six hurdles wins, including one at Grade One level, a bumper victory and one Flat success.

Airlie Beach will be partnered by Pat Smullen after Kate Harrington rode her to victory in a Tramore maiden last time.

Other likely contenders on the ratings include John Oxx's Red Stars and Aidan O'Brien's pair of Pocketfullofdreams and Pavlenko.

Irish Independent

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