Sport Horse Racing

Wednesday 21 March 2018

Wonder set to continue Dessie Hughes' purple patch

Dessie Hughes
Dessie Hughes

Thomas Kelly

ON the evidence of last week's Listowel extravaganza, horses coming out of Dessie Hughes' yard are on good terms with themselves, and the Curragh handler could be the man to follow at Ballinrobe today.

Hughes must have taken great pleasure watching his White Star Line capturing the featured Kerry Grand National.

The trainer's attention now switches west as his progressive Golden Wonder bids to repeat last year's success of stablemate Rivage D'Or in the Ballinrobe Race Committee Chase.

Winner of a maiden hurdle on good ground at Bellewstown, the seven-year-old opened his chase account at the first attempt in the mud at Galway last month – form that runner-up Spring Heeled has since enhanced. His relative inexperience over the larger obstacles is a worry, but that also applies to several of his rivals – Minella For Value and Black Benny. On ratings, Golden Wonder's chief threat looks to be the Willie Mullins-trained 10-year-old Themoonandsixpence.

Hughes has excellent prospects of initiating a double in the preceding beginners chase with the lightly raced Art Of Logistics. Bryan Cooper's mount won a decent novice hurdle at Fairyhouse and looks to have more scope than Usa or the frustrating Nearest The Pin.

Mullins runs an interesting French recruit, Noble Inn, in the opening Ballinrobe Members Club 2014 3-Y-O Maiden Hurdle and this son of Sinndar is taken to make a winning bow in the winter game.

At Tipperary yesterday, Irish Grand National-winning jockey Andrew Thornton showed his versatility by landing the five-furlong maiden for two-year-olds aboard Diamond Stilettos.

Thornton's victory on the 9/4 second favourite ended a seven-year drought for Annemarie O'Shea.

However, this daughter of Ad Valorem should could ensure that long wait isn't repeated as she looks a filly with a bright future, having followed up her promising debut run – third to Guerre on the Curragh – with a comfortable defeat of Amygdala.

Diamond Stilettos could now head to the CL Weld Stakes, and a prominent run in that Group 3 contest would be a huge boost to O'Shea's small string based at Stoneyford, Co Kilkenny.

Thornton just missed out on a double when his mount Red All Star failed by a nose to reel in Willie McCreery's South Ring in the sprint maiden for older horses. Pat Smullen kicked for home early on the 2/1 favourite, and that move proved crucial as she clung on to victory by the narrowest of margins.

David Wachman's Time For Action showed a smart turn of foot to land the feature event on the card, the South Tipperary Tourism Fundraiser 6th October Handicap.

Settled off the pace by Wayne Lordan, the well-supported 4/1 chance hit top gear in the final furlong to catch Tri Na Ceile and quickened away to score by a length and three-quarters.

Fresh from recording a double at his home track at Gowran Park on Sunday, Jim Bolger had to settle for just one winner as Teocht claimed the fillies' maiden under Kevin Manning.

Former jump-jockey Johnny Levins was on the mark in the opening claimer as Kentra ran out a comfortable winner under Gary Carroll.

Pat Martin and Ronan Whelan combined to land the nursery with Hilltown Gal, which edged out Ever Yours in a photo-finish, while the apprentice handicap over five furlongs saw another winner for the red-hot Colin Keane aboard David Marnane's Sword Of Light.

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