Honoria scoops Oyster for O'Brien yard
REPORT: GALWAY, Monday
HONORIA struck for Aidan O'Brienand Seamie Heffernan when landingthe Listed Ardilaun Hotel Oyster Stakes by three lengths from Via Galilei.
It was O'Brien's first success in the 1m4f event since Theatreworld scored in 1999 and Heffernan, who had won the race on Blue Corrig for Joe Crowley in 2005, said of Honoria: "She's a very genuine filly and seemed a lot better on this soft ground.
"She had run well in good company in the past and was all the better for the break she hadafter running at Cork last time."
Ghimaar, 7-4 favourite to follow up on his easy course-and-distance win in July, could never get to the first two and was four and a half lengths back in third place.
In the previous race Heffernan's use of the whip on runner-up Love To Dance, who lost by a head to the Fran Berry-ridden newcomer Blues In Cee, a 14-1 shot, in the 1m4f three- and four-year-olds maiden, resulted in his picking up a one-day ban for "excessive frequency".
Blues In Cee, trained by John Oxx for his wife, Catriona, was one of four Oxx-trained runners in the race for which his Tarvini, who could finish only fifth, was backed from 7-2 to 11-4 favourite.
Jimmy O'Neill, assistant to Oxx, said of the winner: "She'd been working well and it's not a big surprise she's won, although we thought the experience of a previousrun might have done it for Tarvini."
Berry now trails Johnny Murtagh, currently serving a three-day ban, by only one (63 to 64) in the race for the jockeys' title with Pat Smullen, defending champion, on the 62 mark.
Blues In Cee was the second leg of a double for Berry, who took the 1m½f three-year-old handicap on 11-2 shot Vignelaure Rose, trained by Charles O'Brien for his father, Vincent, who also bred the daughter of Danehill Dancer.
Vignelaure Rose is named after a wine developed by David O'Brien, brother of the filly's trainer, at Chateau Vignelaure the French winery he used to own.
The Guinness Kerry National at Listowel next Wednesday is the next likely target for Artiste Bay, whom David Casey forced home tocatch and beat Dreamy Gent by a neck in the 2m1f novice chase.
Trainer Eoin Griffin said of the winner: "That trip was too short for him but winning means he will probably get into the Kerry National now. He jumps for fun and will take his chance."
The Quiet Enforcer continued Barry Geraghty's good recent run when getting off the mark over hurdles at the first attempt in the three-year-old maiden. Rated 85 on the Flat, the Stephen Mahon-trained gelding scored by one and three-quarter lengths.
Conclave took the 2m4f handicap hurdle for trainer Adrian Sexton and 7lb claimer Ian McCarthy, beating Molinero by a length and a half.
Caim Hill completed a four-timer when adding the 2m4f novice hurdle to two bumper victories, the second of them at the festival meeting here last month, and a maiden hurdle success at Sligo.
The five-year-old pulled away from Montero on the run in to score by three lengths under amateur Brian O'Connell, and trainer Philip Fenton said: "He's a lovely horse and is going to have a break now. We'll aim to have him back around Christmas, if not a bit sooner."
Fran Berry, whose double put him into second place in the title race, one behind Johnny Murtagh and one ahead of Pat Smullen