Mantles Prince skins his rivals
Mantles Prince is expected to line-up along with stablemate Quinze for Saturday's Ladbroke Hurdle at Leopardstown after a bloodless victory at Fairyhouse yesterday afternoon.
Quinze missed the Fairyhouse Handicap Hurdle because of a skin allergy, leaving Mantles Prince to beat just two opponents comfortably at odds of 1 to 5.
After his two-and-a-half length victory over Bob Cullen, Mantles Prince was found to be also suffering from the same skin allergy but their trainer Pat Hughes was not unduly worried.
"Quinze has suffered with skin allergies all along, but it is perfectly treatable with dexamethasone and he should be alright in two days," he explained.
Shane McCann was one of the early pace-setters in the jockeys' championship this season but the talented claimer ended a long losing sequence when successful aboard Rose Of Inchiquin in the opening Hangover Maiden Hurdle.
The Sean Treacy-trained mare forced the pace in this two and three quarter mile event and rallied under pressure in the straight to hold off Peggy's Lad and Arctic Copper by three lengths and a short head.
The Jackpot pool of £8,304 was not won - mainly as a result of the shock victory of Darmil in the Kilbride Beginners Chase - and will be carried forward to the next meeting at Fairyhouse on January 16th.
Meanwhile in Cork, Gerry Cully, who stole the headlines at Tramore on New Year's Day when No Problem landed the opening contest of the new millennium, struck again when he saddled Vain Minstrel to win the featured Siucra Handicap Chase.
Partnered by Shay Barry, the well supported 6 to 4 market leader battled on gamely to put his head in front after the bypassed second-last obstacle to land the spoils by seven lengths. In the interests of safety, the penultimate obstacle was omitted for the race because of ground conditions in the vicinity.
"I think his back was at him before he won at Thurles in November. A back specialist from the UK, Sarah Culverwell, came over and sorted it out and he's more free in himself now," said Cully.
Mill Lane Lady, a winner over fences at Tramore New Year's Day fixture, followed up again, but this time over hurdles, when making all the running in the hands of Philip Carberry in the Excellent Choice Hurdle.
Templevalley ran out at the second last fence in that race at Tramore when still holding a chance but he duly compensated connections when landing the Fermoy Fish Beginners' Chase under Pat Verling.
"He was unlucky at Tramore. He's a horse that has had a lot of problems but I suppose the ideal race long term for him could be the Power Gold Cup, assuming the ground wouldn't be hard," said winning trainer Liam Burke.
Conor O'Dwyer, out of luck when Kadouko fell in the Beginners' Chase, enjoyed better fortune later when he teamed up with Tommy Stack's Party Lad to justify favouritism in the maiden hurdle.
Bookmakers suffered another blow in the bumper when newcomer Golden Row landed several tidy wagers. "I've only had him seven weeks and he didn't come cheap but I suppose he's cheap now," remarked shrewd trainer Charles Byrnes, before he outlined future plans for his charge who stands at 17 hands high, "He'll run in a winners' bumper next and won't go hurdling this season."