Casey gives perfect farewell to Mullins
David Casey, who heads to Lambourn after the Tralee Festival to take up his new role as first jockey to Oliver Sherwoood, produced Lady Margaretta with a storming late surge to head top-weight Ashjar in the final 20 yards of the Glenpatrick Spring Water Handicap Hurdle on the final day of the Tramore Festival. The win, which helped Willie Mullins to capture the leading trainer award at the meeting, was aided when the runner-up, a course winner on Thursday, knocked the final flight when holding a good advantage. "I'll miss David when he goes to England, but he'll ride for me whenever he's home," said Mullins, who later saddled Three Rivers and Jimmy The Lark to fill the minor placings behind Jessica Harrington's Koko Nor in the Ernst & Young Beginners Chase.
Paul Moloney, who joined the paid ranks during the Galway Festival, brought his professional tally to four by scoring on the Christy Roche-trained hurdling recruit Francines-Boy in the Dawn Meats three-year-old Hurdle.
Earlier, Jason Titley enjoyed an armchair ride aboard Edward O'Grady's Quintus to comfortably justify warm support from 1 to 2 to 2 to 7 in the maiden hurdle.
"I probably shouldn't have run him twice at Galway, but he'll make a nice jumper. He'll run in a 10-furlong handicap at the Curragh in two weeks," said the Ballynonty trainer, who trains the four-year-old for former British tennis star David Lloyd, Maynooth-based Tony Barrett and Ken Jones from Liverpool. Sue Bramall, visiting her daughter in Canada, sent out Heemanela to win the featured Queally Group Handicap under Seamus Heffernan. "We were a bit concerned whether he'd handle the track, but he stuck at it well," said assistant Mike Stanners.
At Dundalk, it was a case of deja vu when Asas took the featured Hibernian (Opportunity) Handicap Hurdle. The five-year-old son of Nashwan was following up the victory of his illustrious younger brother Haami the previous day in the Group 3 Ridgewood Pearl Desmond Stakes at the Curragh.
The Gerry McArdle-trained gelding struck the front after the penultimate flight under Robbie McNally, and held on by half a length from Magua.
Noel Meade had contrasting fortunes on the day. The Navan trainer took the opening novice hurdle as expected when 1 to 3 shot Admiral Wings made virtually all under Adrian Maguire to beat Super Franky by three lengths.
However, he was unlucky not to complete a mixed double later with Mythical Nature in the Blackrock EBF Maiden. The Mtoto juvenile didn't enjoy the clearest of passages under Mick Kinane but finished strongly inside the final 100 yards to get within a short-head of favourite Huangdi.
Leading apprentice Jamie Spencer moved onto the 36-winner mark for the season when Helorhiwater gained a hard-earned victory in the Highfield Handicap.
Meanwhile, on Saturday, absent Rolling Stone Ron Wood had his colours carried to victory when Jessica Harrington's Have Merci landed the featured Richard Power Handicap Hurdle.
Just touched off by Francis Bay under a vintage Tony McCoy drive at the Galway Festival, she duly made amends here by coming home with nine lengths to spare over Mister Chippy.
Garrett Cotter and Fran Berry shared the riding honours before another large crowd. Cotter initiated a brace aboard top-weight Avoid The Rush on the flat before following up on Galway Blazers scorer Martys Step in the supporting Charmian Hill Memorial Chase.
Berry equalled last season's personal best tally of 26 by also notching up a double, sparked off with second reserve Frontliner, a first flat winner for Moyne handler Tim Doyle, before recording a runaway victory on Michael Halford's warm favourite Dariole in the mile-and-a-half maiden.