Sport Horse Racing

Saturday 16 December 2017

Cootamundra makes amends for Berry

Thomas Kelly

Cootamundra finally made amends for a career full of frustration when scoring for the first time over fences in the valuable Ladbrokes Troytown Handicap Chase at Navan.

Very much one for the small men, it was only a third winner of the season for jockey Robbie Moran and a fourth for Wexford-based trainer John Berry.

Tony McCoy, back on Colbert Station for the first time since being unseated from him in the Grand National, was right in the thick of it alongside eventual runner-up Mad Brian, but the 10-year-old Cootamundra, a 25/1 chance, finally delivered late on to collect this valuable event by half a length. Colbert Station was third.

"It's great – he just needs to arrive on the line," said Berry. "I'd say the ground being better might have helped."

There was no shortage of quality jumpers on show for the top stables and, although Noel Meade is now in the shadow of his friend Willie Mullins, his Apache Stronghold could put his name in lights again.

The 9/2 chance, third to The Liquidator in the Champion Bumper at the Punchestown Festival, took apart a field of previous winners in the Grade Two Monksfield Novice Hurdle under a motionless Paul Carberry.

Meade said: "I thought it was a very strong race beforehand and to win like that is a real bonus. Paul said he was cantering all the way and he jumped well apart from the last."

Mullins, Ruby Walsh and owner Rich Ricci showed off two more members of their astonishing team as Moyle Park and Ballycasey both came out comfortable winners.

Unbeaten chestnut Moyle Park was back up against Wrath Of Titans, which had pushed him hard in the Goffs Land Rover Bumper at Punchestown, in the INH Stallion Owners EBF Maiden Hurdle.

This time the 4/5 favourite toyed with his rival before quickening six lengths clear under Walsh, while Kick On Boss snatched second.

Ballycasey (4/6 favourite) made one minor mistake during an otherwise solid round of jumping in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Beginners' Chase and needed to make up a bit of ground on Ned Buntline and Mount Colah before slipping clear on the run-in.

Patrick Mullins gave his father a treble by partnering Shesafoxylady (3/1) to victory in the ITBA Fillies Scheme EBF Mares Flat Race.

Mikey Fogarty, who is not long out of the amateur ranks, already looks like a polished professional and excelled aboard Go Paddy Go (9/4 favourite), which followed up a win at Clonmel in the Dunderry Handicap Hurdle.

Irish Independent

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