Run For Mary (right) comes to tackle Fulysse on the run-in
By Donal Murphy
Run For Mary maintained her unbeaten record in the Host Your Event At Punchestown Mares Maiden Hurdle, but it was by no means straightforward for the market leader.
A winner of two bumpers last summer, the Charles Byrnes trained five-year-old was expected to make a winning start over flights this evening, and was sent to post at 2-7.
Awkward in jumping at times, the Flemensfirth five-year-old was pushed along in fifth from three out, but was still poised to challenge in second on the turn into the straight.
She needed to be switched left before the last and another slow jump there certainly didn't help her cause.
However it mattered little in the end, as she found plenty when ridden on the run-in, getting to the front inside the final 100 yards, going on to prevail by two lengths.
Fulysse (7/1), who looked set to score from the last, had to settle for second under Donagh Meyler for Joseph O'Brien, while 33/1 chance Do Ya Feel Lucky was another seven and a half lengths back in third.
Byrnes, who trains the winner for the Top Of The Syndicate, said afterwards: "She jumped very big but she'll come on plenty for it, although she will need to. She jumped the first few okay but then lost her way a bit.
"She had been schooling alright at home but hadn't been away at all. She will go for some mares' races, and should get further. She finds plenty and was the same in bumpers.
"It was a poor enough race and those who took the 1/3 must have been getting a bit worried."
* The Stewards enquired into the running and riding of Vic's Little Miss, ridden by P. Merrigan, and trained by Paul W. Flynn. Evidence was heard from the rider and trainer concerned. P. Merrigan, stated that his instructions were to get the mare settled early, and take his time with her before pushing her on. P. Merrigan further stated that he was caught unaware at how relaxed Vic's Little Miss jumped off, and that this put him at a disadvantage. He added that he should have tried to be closer early on and that this was a misjudgement on his behalf. Paul W. Flynn confirmed the instructions given to P. Merrigan and stated that he was surprised the mare didn't go forward more with the addition of a tongue tie and considering how free she had run on her previous runs in Sligo and Cork. Paul W. Flynn added that he was not satisfied with his mare's run, and that the addition of a tongue tie on this occasion did not help. The Stewards also received a report from the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board Veterinary Officer, who stated that Vic's Little Miss was post race normal. Having viewed the recording of the race and considered the evidence, the Stewards noted the explanations offered.
* The Stewards interviewed P. Merrigan, rider of Vic's Little Miss, concerning his use of the whip in the final 3 furlongs of this race. Evidence was heard from the rider concerned. Having viewed a recording of the race and considered the evidence, the Stewards were of the opinion that P. Merrigan was in breach of Regulation 10.3 (g), in that he used his whip with excessive frequency. Having considered his record in this regard, the Stewards cautioned P. Merrigan on this occasion.
* The Stewards interviewed Miss P. Elvin, rider of Nancy D'alton, concerning her use of the whip in the closing stages of this race. Evidence was heard from the rider concerned. Having viewed a recording of the race and considered the evidence, the Stewards were of the opinion that Miss P. Elvin was in breach of Regulation 10.3 (b) in that she used her whip unnecessarily after her chance of winning or being placed was clearly gone. Having considered her record in this regard, the Stewards suspended Miss P. Elvin for 1 raceday, and ordered her to attend R.A.C.E for 2 days tuition on the correct use of the whip.
Additional reporting by Alan Magee