Mossey Joe advertises his National potential
Mossey Joe beat the odds yesterday after the Cork hurdles course beat the frost and jump racing finally resumed in Ireland following the big freeze.
Trained by Tipperary handler Willie Austin, the son of Moscow Society was aiming high on his first run over the smaller obstacles in the O'Connell Group Cork Stayers Novice Hurdle and started at 12/1.
However, the dual point-to-point and novice hunter chase winner took it all in his stride as he landed the Grade Three contest. Always travelling easily for Andrew Leigh as Saville Row and Fists Of Fury made the running, Mossey Joe jumped to the front at the third last and stretched clear to score by nine lengths from Fists Of Fury.
"I'm not surprised he won like that, he never came off the bridle to win before," said Austin. "He was never away for a gallop before today and that should bring him on another stone. He's a more of a chaser, but he might go in another hurdle. The Irish National would be his main aim, as he jumps well."
Dual bumper winner Bishopsfurze was cut from 25/1 to 16/1 by Stan James for the Neptune Novices' Hurdle at Cheltenham after making a winning debut over jumps in the first division of the maiden hurdle. The 11/10 favourite, trained by Willie Mullins, went on before the second-last in the hands of Paul Townend and kept on strongly to beat 33/1 outsider Changing Times by three lengths.
Changing Times' trainer Oliver McKiernan went one better when Profit Margin (9/2) gained a hard-fought success in the second division. House Rules held a narrow lead from Profit Margin at the last, but could not quicken as the latter got the better of Baily Green, with Stephanie Kate flying home at the finish to take second.
McKiernan said: "After all the snow we've had, he was only on the walker, so we got him to the Curragh last Thursday for a canter. He looked to be fit enough, but he's that type of horse anyway -- he doesn't carry much condition."
Michael Hogan's Mountain Heather bounded away from her rivals to take the novice handicap hurdle in good style as Paddy Kennedy moved his mount to the front at half-way and went on to win by eight lengths from Burnfort Girl with Lady Perspex third.
Osirixamix (12/1) ran his rivals into the ground in the two-mile handicap hurdle. Robbie Power had it all his own way on the Tony Martin-trained gelding, which never saw another horse as he won by three lengths from Fool's Wildcat.
Henry De Bromhead's Byerley Bear (9/2) saw off Metro Star to take the bumper for amateur David Roche.
Cork is also due to race today, but have again been forced to abandon their steeplechase races. Willie Mullins should have a strong hand, with Dare To Doubt, Sicilian Secret and Riltree all fancied.