Inis Cara makes amends
Michael Hourigan's Inis Cara bounced back to winning ways before a bumper Bank Holiday crowd at Tramore yesterday when justifying favouritism in the featured TJ Carroll Chase. Partnered by the trainer's son Paul, the 8 to 11 shot edged past the front-running Bangabunny after the second last but needed several reminders from his rider in the very testing conditions to shrug off the renewed effort of pacemaker Ken Whelan.
"The old track wasn't to his liking. He likes to come from off the pace and he's a nice horse," said Hourigan of his charge who came to grief at the third fence behind impressive scorer Nick Dundee at Leopardstown last Monday.
"I think he might have won that day as he was working very well beforehand but we'll never know what might have happened," he reflected.
A winner now of three races over fences this season, including the scalp of Nick Dundee when he blundered over the last at Gowran in October, he may reappear at Leopardstown next Saturday according to his handler who went on to record a double in the Kent Brothers Opportunity Handicap Chase when Rosetown Girl, also partnered by his son Paul, held the late rally of No Problem by a neck. Susan Leahy celebrated New Year's Day in winning style when notching up her fifth success in the Lady Riders Maiden Hurdle aboard her father Austin's 9 to 2 chance, Irvine.
After striking the front on the run down to the final flight, the pair had to work overtime to hold off the fast-finishing Janiste by a rapidly diminishing half-length with Beal Na Blath a head adrift in third.
Leahy's son-in-law Gerry O'Neill struck in the next when he saddled Digital Signal, carrying the colours of the five-strong Emmet's Syndicate, to upset the well-supported market leader Stradbally Hall by the minimum margin in the hands of Kevin O'Sullivan.
Favourite backers had no luck in the next when Blackburn, sent off at 5 to 4, could finish only third in the Beginners Chase behind the Gerry Cully-trained Vain Minstrel.