Saturday 16 December 2017

Maguire happy to see kite fly

There weren't many lucrative pots Adrian Maguire didn't win as a jockey. However, the Munster National at Limerick was one of them. Yesterday he put that someway right by winning the Ladbrokes-sponsored contest as trainer with 20/1 shot Golden Kite.

Making almost every yard in the hands of Shane Hassett, the ever gutsy eight-year-old held off the Noel Meade trained Fisher Bridge by the tightest of margins to give the former jockey one of his biggest successes since taking out the trainer's licence.

"I never won the race as a jockey myself, but it is brilliant to win as a trainer," Maguire said afterwards.


Golden Kite had been well beaten behind Alfa Beat in the Kerry National at Listowel last time, but trouble in running and sensible manoeuvres from Brian O'Connell on that occasion, meant he was fresh and well to go to war at Limerick yesterday.

"He was unlucky at Listowel in the Kerry National where he nearly got brought down but Brian minded him afterwards and got the horse back in one piece," said Maguire.

Indeed, the stewards enquired into the apparent improvement of form of Golden Kite in relation to that Listowel effort.

The trainer reported to the stewards that he was slowly away at Listowel, impeded by fallers and couldn't dictate as he likes to and could yesterday, to which the stewards accepted the explanation.

Owned by Anthony Calnan, a Bandon-based doctor, Golden Kite has no real future target but Maguire did admit afterwards that, "good ground is key to him".

He concluded: "The horse would burst his heart trying for you."

Also at Limerick the Grade Three Pricewaterhousecoopers Chase over 2m1f went for export as Cornas obliged for trainer Nick Williams and Irish rider Daryl Jacob, while in the opening listed hurdle, Macville continued an impressive spell of things for trainer Paddy Neville.

Meanwhile, the Curragh brings the curtain down on their season today and at HQ yesterday afternoon, Aidan O'Brien again stole the day with a treble to follow up his Navan four-timer earlier in the week.

Johnny Murtagh was onboard to collect a double, while Aidan's apprentice title seeking son Joseph completed the hat-trick which left him one behind Gary Carroll and Ben Curtis at the top of that respective championship.

Curtis went level with last year's winner Gary Carroll on the same card as he claimed a second listed win of the season -- a more than creditable feat for any apprentice -- as Hazarafa gave him the biggest success for his boss John Oxx in the Finale Stakes.

Pat Smullen's rare blank and Johnny Murtagh's double means that just five separate them at the head of the Flat Jockeys Championship with Fran Berry back in third, two behind Murtagh.

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