Friday 23 February 2018

Cossack turns on style at Galway

Thomas Kelly

BASED on early evidence, Michael O'Leary's novice chasing brigade looks like making a big impression this term, and Don Cossack seems sure to be among his standard-bearers following an impressive fencing debut at Galway.

The imposing six-year-old, running in the maroon and white colours of O'Leary's Gigginstown House Stud, failed to live up to high expectations as a novice hurdler, but showed where his future lies with an easy victory in the WB Gavin & Co Beginners Chase. Toon River made it a true test and led to two out, where Andrew Lynch brought Don Cossack to challenge, and the Gordon Elliott-trained 10/11 favourite duly pulled away to power home by 20 lengths from Dressedtothenines.

"The (low-lying) sun down the back didn't help but he was clever and should improve a lot for that. He was only in second gear there," said Lynch of his mount, which Paddy Power gave a quote of 14/1 for the RSA Chase.

Royal Moll backed up a bumper win with victory on her jumping bow in took the Mares Maiden Hurdle. The Willie Mullins-trained 4/5 favourite, ridden by Paul Townend, jumped ahead at the last to score by a length-and-a-quarter from Catimini.

"She missed the second-last a bit, but she jumped adequately," said Townend. "She got away with that trip on the ground, but she needs further."

Townend completed a double when getting up in the final strides on Viaduct Joey (7/1) for Terence O'Brien in the John Mulholland Bookmakers Hurdle.

"He won this race off 109 two years ago and we were hoping he'd go on to better things but he has had problems with stomach ulcers and hasn't been enjoying his racing," O'Brien explained.

Young five-pound claimer Jody McGarvey showed his skills aboard Count Salazar as Eoin Doyle's charge gamely held the late challenge of Goonyella to gain a deserved success in the Ennis Lifts Handicap Chase.

The Winkler then gave Doyle a double when holding Like It A Lot by a nose in the bumper under Kevin Sexton.

It's rare for Enda Bolger to have a first-time-out winner over hurdles, but the Co Limerick trainer's Gilgamboa was well supported to make a winning debut and the 4/1 shot led on the run-in to take the opening maiden hurdle.

Mireya dug deep to deny Rory O'Moore in the shadow of the post for rider Kate Harrison and her mother owner/trainer Cathy Harrison in the (Q.R.) Race.

Irish Independent

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