Wednesday 17 January 2018

Sunbird flies home to trigger Nolan treble

Thomas Kelly

Paul Nolan enjoyed a near 141/1 treble at Limerick yesterday with Golden Sunbird, Aura About You and Politeo all striking gold in what he will hope is a good omen for Cheltenham.

The first two winners took the feature prizes in the hands of 7lb claimer Michael Doran, while Davy Russell was on board Politeo.

Doran was not allowed to use his allowance in either of the two big races, but he did not need any extra help it as he justified the faith of Nolan and owner of the pair, James Mernagh.

Aura About You upset hot favourite For Bill in the ITBA Fillies Scheme EBF Dawn Run Mares Novice Chase.

For Bill was never travelling like an odds-on shot as Gentle Alice tried to make all the running, while Doran produced the 6/1 shot to jump into the lead at the last. She ran out a smooth winner of the Grade Three heat by three lengths from For Bill.

"That was a great ride from Michael. She jumps well and she'll go for the mares' chase at Fairyhouse at Easter," said Nolan's brother and assistant James.

Golden Sunbird (8/1) also denied a hotpot, Dare To Doubt, in the Kerry Group EBF Mares Novice Hurdle. The pair pulled some way clear of the others before the straight, where Doran asked his mount for maximum effort.

She responded in game fashion and was 18 lengths ahead at the line. Definite Class got up to snatch second spot from Dare To Doubt.


A memorable day for the absent trainer was completed when 5/4 favourite Politeo took the novice chase by nine lengths in the colours of the Gigginstown House Stud.

The Dermot McLoughlin-trained Vics Canvas got up in the dying strides to reward favourite-backers in the opening maiden hurdle and give 5lb claimer Conor Maxwell his first winner since returning from injury.

At Navan, Hidden Cyclone was never out of second gear as he outclassed his three rivals in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Novice Hurdle to end his campaign in style.

John 'Shark' Hanlon's six-year-old made it six wins from seven starts with the minimum of fuss in this 2m 7f heat. He will now have a break before being trained for a chasing campaign next winter.

Fists Of Fury tried to make a race of it but he was easily shrugged aside as Andrew McNamara eased the 4/11 shot 13 lengths clear.

Francis Flood's Wicklow Lad landed the featured novice handicap chase in grand style under Adrian Heskin, outstaying favourite and top weight Ad Idem on the run-in. The winner could next run in the Irish Grand National.

Kyle's Turn found reserves in the dying strides to snatch victory in the beginners' chase. Alain Cawley, who replaced the injured Davy Condon, got a good tune from the gelding as he stuck his head in front close home.

Pontiac made a bold bid from the front and had his rivals hard at work two from home.

His advantage was eroded on the run to the line, however, with Kyle's Turn getting up to score by three-parts of a length. Mr Nosie just pipped the front-runner for second.

Irish Independent

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