Raid on Perth yields rich rewards for Hanlon yard
AFTER a sparkling treble by Irish-trained horses at Perth yesterday, a further 19 hopefuls feature on the final card of the year at the Scottish track this afternoon, while there are another five among the declarations at Newmarket.
The two-day Perth fixture got off to the best possible start when John 'Shark' Hanlon combined with the talented seven-pound claimer Brian Hayes for an opening race double courtesy of Mart Lane and One For Joules.
A Leopardstown bumper winner, Mart Lane (6/4) is held in high regard by the in-form Hanlon and yesterday's facile 23-length maiden hurdle romp provided Rosscarbery native Hayes with a first success since he joined the paid ranks last month.
"That was good as he's a small horse, but I couldn't have expected him to do it any better," said Hanlon. "He travelled so well during the race and jumped so well. It's hard to get a horse to win a maiden first time over hurdles, but he's done it very well. He's a brother to Western Leader, which was probably the best horse I've ever trained, and we'll take our time with him."
Hayes quickly followed up in the claiming hurdle when 15/8 favourite One For Joules delivered Hanlon his sixth triumph since Alfa Beat's fine coup in last week's Kerry National.
Today, the Carlow handler is doubly represented at Perth, but the better chances appear to lie among the Meath delegation of Gordon Elliott, Tony Martin, Robbie Hennessy and James McAuley. Elliott also got on the score sheet yesterday when The Ice Factor justified odds of 5/6 to run out a six-length winner of the juvenile hurdle under Tony McCoy, and the duo team-up five more times today.
Manger Hanagment may be one of their better prospects when he bids for a fourth win on the spin in the novice hurdle. Esporao also has a squeak in the subsequent race, though Tony Martin's Redera looks a more potent challenger in that.
At Newmarket, the two-year-olds Crusade and Zip Top tackle the nine-runner Somerville Tattersall Stakes. Jim Bolger is hoping that the fast ground will help his Sheikh Mohammed-owned Zip Top bounce back to form in this Group Three after disappointing behind Fire Lily at The Curragh in July.
Crusade, on the other hand, travels on a high, having landed a decent maiden at headquarters recently. This year's Irish Derby-winning rider Colm O'Donoghue did the steering that day, and takes the reins again on the Ballydoyle representative.
Vincent Ward saddles half of his four-strong string in the subsequent Jockey Club Rose Bowl. Both of his runners, Fictional Account and End Of The Affair, have done him proud since switching from Dermot Weld's care, each obliging no less than six times.
Today's two-mile Listed race is likely to be the last time that either mare will compete for Ward, with the breeding shed beckoning for both via the sales ring. "They've been in since January, but this is their final destination," the Co Meath operator said yesterday, "and hopefully they can give a good account of themselves."
Meanwhile, Aidan O'Brien elected not to declare the prolific Maybe for tomorrow's Fillies' Mile and John Oxx has warned against placing too much faith in Akeed Mofeed's breathtaking Leopardstown maiden victory ahead of his tilt at the Group Two Beresford Stakes at The Curragh on Sunday.
"He was impressive, but that was only a maiden he won," Oxx said. "We're very happy with the horse and we are looking forward to seeing him run, but a maiden is one thing and a Group Two is another, so we'll wait and see."
But punters are paying little heed, as Paddy Power were compelled to cut Akeed Mofeed from 6/4 to 5/4 for the Beresford yesterday. The firm go 6/1 bar, while Boylesports have installed Oxx's Dubawi colt as their 11/8 market leader.