Sport Horse Racing

Sunday 25 February 2018

Table Mountain caps big day for O'Briens

Thomas Kelly

RISING star Joseph O'Brien enhanced his growing reputation when claiming his first treble at Navan yesterday.

The smart apprentice's winning spree helped formulate a sparkling four-timer of triumphs for his father, Aidan, whose Ballydoyle operation is finishing the season with a real flourish.

O'Brien Jnr set the ball rolling when Tom Mullins' high-class National Hunt performer Fosters Cross recorded his first win on the Flat with an impressive performance in the October Maiden.

The two-mile contest attracted a number of high-profile names from the jumping sphere, including Grade One-winning chaser Rare Bob and Punchestown Champion Bumper winner Hidden Universe.

Fosters Cross was sent off at 25/1, having gone almost a year without victory, but he travelled well throughout and came home clear of Cross Appeal. Hidden Universe disappointed.

"It was a great ride. The horse could go for an amateur race at Galway now at the end of the month," said Mullins. "There is also a two-mile chase there for him. He'll run there in something if the ground doesn't go really bad."

The young O'Brien then went on to complete a double in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Fillies Maiden as he guided Ballydoyle's Eirnin (5/1) to a narrow victory over stablemate Diamond Brooch.

Not to be outdone, O'Brien Snr then went on to complete a hat-trick as 14/1 shot Exodus, ridden by Seamie Heffernan, and Don Carlos, the mount of Johnny Murtagh, both played starring roles in their respective races.

The O'Brien clan had the last word in the finale when 5/4 favourite Table Mountain eased home under Joseph in the three-year-old maiden -- completing the four-timer for the Ballydoyle handler.

Jedward looks a filly with a decent future, meanwhile, after landing the Kells Maiden for Charles O'Brien and Fran Berry.

"I kept straight from her high draw and from halfway she came on the bridle. When she met the rising ground she went on and won nicely," Berry said of his 7/1 shot.

Statue Of Dreams (10/1) opened his account at the 17th attempt by making every yard of the running in the Derrinstown Stud Apprentice Handicap under Leigh Roche.

"It's about time he won. He's been knocking on the door all year," winning trainer Jim McCabe said. "We'll keep him to the same company and find another race for him."

There was a big surprise in the Meath Handicap when Flowers Of Spring produced a 33/1 shock by landing the spoils for northern handler Andrew Oliver. Chris Hayes sent his mount to the lead under two furlongs from home and she soon had matters in hand.

"She has always shown plenty of ability," said Oliver. "We put cheekpieces on and decided to give her a positive ride and Chris gave her an excellent ride."

Irish Independent

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