Dance Beat tunes up for Ladbroke
THE consistent Dance Beat made all the running to win yesterday's Fairyhouse Handicap Hurdle from Low Front and Derrymoyle and will next contest the Ladbroke Hurdle for which Sunday's winner Kharasar has been penalised 4lb.
Ridden by Charlie Swan, Dance Beat never really looked in dangers of defeat though top weight Derrymoyle and Low Front challenged on rising to the last, which the one-length winner jumped extremely well.
Derrymoyle, so unlucky in last year's Ladbroke will have a third crack at the race on Saturday week. Although absent since winning a Grade One hurdle at Punchestown in April Derrymoyle was said by Michael Cunningham to be pretty straight. Two and a half miles may be his optimum trip but he will make a bold bid at Leopardstown.
"He's a fair horse when he gets soft ground," said Noel Meade after the Paul Carberry-partnered Embellished had quickened on landing ahead of Just An Illusion over the second last to win the opening New Year Maiden Hurdle by four lengths.
"He settled well today and will have another run, probably at Leopardstown on Ladbroke day and if good enough will go for the Triumph Hurdle," added Meade.
The Co Meath trainer and Carberry also combined to win the INH Stallion Owners Maiden Hurdle with Hillson who held Dance Beat's stable-companion Grange Court. The Michael O'Brien-trained Clonmo Lady crossed the last in second place but unfortunately broke a leg on the run-in.
Successful with Have To Think in last year's corresponding race, Arthur Moore saddled 8 to 1 chance Professor Strong to win the Father Time Handicap Chase under bottom weight. The winner and Frank Be Lucky jumped the last alongside but Professor Strong drew clear on the run-in to score by six lengths. The stewards inquired into the winner's improvement in form but the trainer's explanation was accepted.
Meanwhile, Tom Foley said yesterday that Danoli continues to progress. Absent since injuring a fetlock in the Martell Aintree Hurdle last April the eight-year-old will be worked this morning on Jim Bolger's gallops but will not be asked to jump a hurdle. "He is a natural jumper. The priority is to get him ready for the Irish Champion Hurdle," he said.
Hoping to re-schedule Leopardstown's aborted McCain Chase, there are moves afoot to stage a meeting at Navan next Sunday.
Trainer Michael Cunningham and jockey Liam Cusack both started the New Year with doubles at Down Royal yesterday.
Cunningham was first on the mark when Noel's Dancer just held on to beat Huncheon Chance by one and a half lengths in the Sportsman's Opportunity Handicap Hurdle, and then Kalona followed up by running out an easy winner of the Harp Lager Handicap Chase.
Kalona was ridden by Cusack and he completed his double when taking the next race, the Boxing Day Beginners Chase, on Twin Rainbow, who although starting at 1 to 3 favourite, looked like getting beaten by Over the Mallard at the last fence before rallying to win by two and a half lengths.
Former top jump jockey Martin Lynch had his first win as a trainer this season when Party Woman just got up to beat Foyle Wanderer by half a length in the Calor Gas Mares Flat Race.
It was only at the last minute that Lynch decided to run the Party Woman, for the mare had fallen in his box on the way to the course and had cut her forehead. Lynch said afterwards "I had a chat with the owner, Charlie Latta, and we decided to let her take her chance. It has turned out to be a wise move.
Make An Effort made virtually all to record a comfortable success in the Benvoy Lady Riders Maiden Hurdle at Tramore yesterday.
Despite a mistake at the penultimate flight, the Michael Kauntze-trained home-bred, partnered by his daughter Sophia, who was recording her ninth win in the plate, kept up the momentum to twin eased down by 10 lengths.
A delighted trainer said: "He will go handicapping now and it's nice to have bred the jockey as well as the winner.
Today's postponed meeting at Cheltenham was abandoned due to frost after a course inspection yesterday.