The loudest cheer recorded at Gowran Park on Saturday afternoon came when Shimmer’s Rock took the concluding Ronan Lawlor Memorial bumper for local Leighlinbridge trainer Par Fahy.
The success was tinged with sadness as Lawlor used to work for Fahy before being tragically killed, and ever since this race was run in his memory, Fahy has been trying to win it.
He had to hold his breath, too, as the Richie Deegan-ridden mare had only a head to spare at the winning line from Crackerdancer.
The special success of Shimmer’s Rock could have been backed at 5/1.
Tombstone gave Bryan Cooper a big winner on his return from injury as he claimed the scalp of former Champion Hurdle hero Jezki in the Red Mills Trial Hurdle at Gowran Park.
Fourth behind Altior, Min and Buveur D’Air in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle last season, Gordon Elliott’s seven-year-old was only third to Jezki on his comeback at Navan and had nearly three lengths to find.
The 9-4 chance took the lead off Rory O’Moore on the run to three out, with Jezki in his slipstream.
The 2-5 favourite closed up at the second-last but Tombstone pulled out more and while neither horse was particularly fluent at the final obstacle, Cooper’s mount kept going to prevail by four lengths for Grade Three honours.
Ballycasey ran out a determined winner of the Grade Two Red Mills Chase at Gowran Park.
Clarcam took the lead off Montys Meadow at the fourth-last and appeared to be going better than Ballycasey, who went in pursuit, but Ruby Walsh had not played his hand and when he did approaching the last, Ballycasey found more reserves of stamina to pass Clarcam and score by four and a quarter lengths.
He was returned at odds of 4-7.
With thanks to Horse Racing Ireland.