Trainer Mick Winters took the honours on Cork’s Easter Monday card, completing a double with Littlestickarubarb and Osca Loca.
The Ian McCarthy-ridden Littlestickarubarb recorded her second success over fences and bounced back from a recent defeat in Tramore to justify 2/1 favouritism, at the expense of Crazyheart, in the Hothouse Flowers 14th June Handicap Chase.
“She’s as tough as nails and keeping her racing suits her,” stated Winters. “Today was the first time she didn’t sweat up in the lorry. She’s easy enough to train when she runs in her own grade. We’ll play it one day at a time with her because every time we were ready to give her a break, we’ve managed to find another race for her.”
Forty minutes later, Winters was back in the winner’s enclosure, after Chris O’Donovan guided 13/8 favourite Osca Loca to a smooth win over the flattering Trumps Ace in the Glenview & Rathbarry Studs Mares Maiden Hunters Chase.
Osca Loca carries the colours of Carl Beame, who died last year and whose widow Caitriona became a grandmother yesterday, just half an hour before the mare’s thirteen lengths victory.
“Her owner became a grandmother half an hour ago and that took the pressure off me, “ quipped Winters.
"It’d be nice to have a nice mare for hunter-chasing, but I’d say she might go novice hurdling or novice chasing next season.”
Another popular local success came in the Jack Tyner Memorial Hunters Chase as It Came To Pass, trained in nearby Lombardstown by Eugene O’Sullivan and ridden by his daughter Maxine, romped to a convincing win over even-money favourite Billaway.
The nine-year-old, a half-brother to Gold Cup winner Lord Windermere and a full-brother to Sub Lieutenant, scored readily by seven and a half lengths, prompting O’Sullivan to reveal big plans for the Brian Boru gelding, explaining: “We got him in a job-lot with Electric Concorde when Jim Culloty retired from training and he’s a lovely horse.”
“He’ll go to Punchestown now, for the Champion Hunters Chase, if the ground is suitable and we’ll aim him at the Foxhunters in Cheltenham (a race O’Sullivan won with Lovely Citizen back in 1991) next year.”
Jack Wildman (17), from Salisbury in England, registered his first success over hurdles (and the second if his career) when Camden Village trained by his boss Gordon Elliott, got the better of Where Eagles Dare in the opening Racing Home For Easter Maiden Hurdle, prompting the teenager to comment: “He ran well first time and the step-up in trip and drying ground helped him.”
The Declan Queally-trained 4/1 favourite Bothar Dubh swooped late under 7lb. claiming amateur Mikey Sweeney to foil longshot Pilgrim Way by a short-head in the Race & Taste Restival Handicap Hurdle.
Queally explained: “He was a cheap horse, bought for a bit of fun and it’s a bonus that he’s won twice. The owners are local – they’re point-to-point people and wanted to have a runner here today. We’ll probably fool away with him for the summer.”
The Easter Monday action provided Wexford man Luke Murphy (22) with his first racecourse success as he steered Casey Jem, trained by Tony Black, to a convincing, nine lengths win over Ho Murphy in the Coolmore N.H. Sires Maiden Hunters Chase.
Similarly, Darragh Allen notched his first win on the track when Robert Murphy’s Ballynoe winner Darrens Hope proved best in the finale, the Cork & Waterford Mares Point-to-Point Flat Race, while Dot Love was on the mark with Jack Hackett (Aaron Murphy) in the Pegus Horse Feed Point-to-Point Flat race.