‘Proper mare’ Dorans Weir triumphs in Thurles

Five-year-old, ridden by Taaffe, beats Burn The Evidence by three and quarter lengths

Dorans Weir revived memories of the great Dorans Pride when opening her account in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Mares INH Flat Race at Thurles.

Wearing the famous green and red colours of owner Tom Doran, Dorans Weir had shown promise on her racecourse bow over hurdles on this course last month.

The five-year-old on Sunday travelled smoothly for amateur Pat Taaffe before cruising into the lead over a furlong out and striding clear to beat Burn The Evidence by three and a quarter lengths.

Michael Hourigan said of the 4-1 winner: “She is a nice one to have and is a well-bred mare as well. She is very honest, did it well and he [Taaffe] said she was very green. She jumps well and we got the bonus [to win a bumper] today.

“I had a lot of luck for Tom and it is great to have him back and great for her to win. This is a proper mare.”

Dorans Pride won a total of 29 races in a long career from 1993 to 2003, including the Irish Hennessy, Power Gold Cup, Drinmore Novices' Chase and Hatton's Grace Hurdle, and amassing €657,000 in prize money.

Division Two was won in impressive fashion by Eabha Grace on her debut to complete a double for Willie Mullins.

Ridden by Jody Townend, the 5-6 favourite led over a furlong out and powered away to score by six and a half lengths from Scarlet Witch.

Mullins said: “She is a good mare and has a nice pedigree. She wouldn’t fill you with confidence working at home, but I brought her away once and she worked well and that’s the second time she has gone well for me.

“She is very lazy at home and Jody seems to have found another gear for her.

“I imagine she can go anywhere after that and can improve. We’ll look at the mare’s bumper at the Dublin Racing Festival and try to get black type and see how far she can go.”

Second attempt

Stratum imitated the brace when getting off the mark over fences at the second attempt when leading home a one-two for Mullins in the BetVictor Irish EBF Beginners Chase.

The 2-5 favourite was handed the lead when Skol came down at the fourth-last fence, but was challenged hard by his stablemate and had to be driven out by Paul Townend to score by a length.

This was the 10th success of Stratum's career after four on the Flat in Britain, including the Cesarewitch and Queen Alexandra Stakes and three Irish hurdle races.

Townend said: “He was probably entitled to do it on his run the last day. A reproduction of that was probably going to be good enough today.

“He must be a joy for Mr [Tony] Bloom [owner] to own because he’s brought him everywhere. He’s real neat – he’s like a cat over a fence. He made one mistake here the last day, but learned from that. He’s late going chasing, but he has plenty of bottle for it.”

Lunar Display recovered from a bad mistake at the second-last flight to win the BetVictor Irish EBF Boreen Belle Mares Novice Hurdle.

The Joseph O’Brien-trained five-year-old looked to have lost all chance at that point but was back on an even keel for JJ Slevin in a matter of strides.

Challenging for the lead at the final obstacle, Lunar Display (5-2) emerged through the fog in front and drew away to take the Listed contest by a length and a quarter from Getaway Star.

Slevin said: “The fast-run two miles played to her advantage and while she was only barely on the bridle, they went quick enough in front of her.

“It took me a while to learn how to ride her and I think I have been putting her in motion a bit soon, especially the last day when I put her in a dog fight and she was outbattled.

“We are learning about her all the time, she is a grand mare and she won easy today. She is very consistent and Joseph does a very good job with those types of mares.”

Mighty Tom (8-1) shrugged off a seven-month absence when making all the running to take the Happy Christmas To All Handicap Hurdle.

The six-year-old, trained by Tom Cooper and ridden by his son, Bryan, pulled away from the 11-4 favourite Mind Your Money to score by six lengths.

“It was his first run back, but he runs well fresh and the nice ground helped,” said the winning trainer.

Chasing

"We'll keep him fresh now and keep him until Leopardstown in February, for the Ladbrokes Hurdle. He should get enough for winning this to get in.

“His future lies over fences, but we were late getting him back this season as he had a hiccup, so felt it was a bad time to be going chasing.”

Western Sea (4-1) outstayed 16-5 market leader Ricky Langford to take the Adare Manor Opportunity Handicap Chase.

Ross O’Sullivan’s charge, ridden by Shane O’Callaghan, was headed approaching the last but rallied in game fashion to get the verdict by three-quarters of a length.

O’Sullivan said: “He won a hurdle race here as a young horse and likes this place. The ground is the key to him as it has been so dry and usually he’d be out on grass at this stage. He had a nice weight on his back, Shane gave him a dinger of a ride and it was a nice pot to win.

“We might keep going now, they are watering at Leopardstown and he could go there next.”

Gordon Elliott got on the scoresheet with Mr Fred Rogers (evens favourite) in the Horse & Jockey Hotel Rated Novice Hurdle, while Rodger Sweeney's Shane Says (18-1) nabbed Presenting Point on the line to land the Molony Cup Handicap Chase.

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