Wednesday 21 March 2018

'Fierna displays mark of Champs

KNOCKFIERNA gave a boost to impressive Cheltenham winner Sir Des Champs with her victory in the feature ITBA Fillies Scheme EBF Dawn Run Mares Novice Chase at Limerick.

Red-hot Barry Geraghty was booked by Charles Byrnes to ride the classy 8/11 favourite, who had already won twice at this Grade Three level over fences and gave Sir Des Champs a real race at this track over Christmas.

Left with just one serious rival to beat after the fall four out of Belle Brook, Geraghty only pushed the button after the last and shot clear to win by nine lengths from Special Token.

"She's a hell of a mare," said Byrnes. "The form of her run here at Christmas (when she ran out at the second-last) has worked out really well with Sir Des Champs winning at Cheltenham and Four Commanders also running well.

"I have no regrets about not taking her to Cheltenham. This was a nice pot and after Christmas this was the plan.

"She would have been put at risk going to Cheltenham.

"She might have one more run this season but I don't have any definite plans yet."

Three father-and-son partnerships went home happy elsewhere on the card.

The Andrew McNamaras were on the mark with 33/1 shocker Peccatorum in the Ballynoe Stables Handicap Hurdle.

He foiled something of a gamble on Whiskey Hall and it was a great bit of riding from the younger McNamara who bided his time off a frantic early pace.

"I put that win down to jockeyship," said the winning trainer.

"Andrew said when he came in that he thought he had gone too fast with a circuit to go, although he was last. So if he felt that he had gone too fast what had the rest of them done!

"He will have a summer campaign now and I'd say he will be better on better ground but I may be wrong."

Jimmy and Paddy Mangan combined to win the Kerry Group European Breeders Fund Mares Novice Hurdle with Noras Fancy.

Eddie Harty's Dressedtothenines was sent off favourite to cap a memorable week for owner JP McManus but the writing was on the wall early in the straight for her backers.

Paddy Mangan made a positive move on a 7/1 chance and subsequently stole two lengths approaching the second-last.

Madam Bouvray and Shadow Eile both emerged from the pack as chasers but neither could make much impression and Noras Fancy ran out a convincing two-and-three-quarter-length winner.

Mangan senior said: "The ground is the key to her. She will be left off when the ground dries out.

"She has had a long campaign and this is great.

"We have no plans for her now."

Not to be outdone, Willie and Patrick Mullins combined as Mozoltov justified 11/8 favouritism in the Kevin Frost Memorial (Pro/Am) Flat Race.

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