Good Man Jim shows outstanding quality to vindicate Goff’s view
Eoghain Ward reports on Sunday's Meath & Tara meeting
A RECORD 6,000 crowd at Dowth Hall were treated to something special from Good Man Jim. The Michael Goff-trained gelding blew away 11 rivals en route to an all-the-way, 14-length success in the Tattersalls Ireland Cheltenham & Ascot Sales four-year-old maiden under Shane Fitzgerald.
It left behind a disappointing debut when finishing fifth to the Aintree sale topper Madison To Monroe at Monksgrange.
He had scoped badly that day but after this impressive victory the grey son of Martaline is sure to attract plenty of interest.
“He is a very good horse. He has that much speed you can put him wherever you want to,” his Wexford-based trainer said.
“I said to Shane, ‘wherever you go with him, just settle him’. He is probably one of the nicest horses I’ve ever had. He is a little bit special.”
Racegoers could have been excused for thinking that would be the most comfortable of the day’s winners.
However, that winning margin was beaten when Double You Be sauntered to victory in the following Fleet Financial five-year-old geldings’ maiden.
After an encouraging second at Punchestown on his debut in February, when chasing home Sunday’s Galway bumper victor, Gallagher’s Cross, the Yeats gelding lost his way.
Back with a bang on his reappearance, the bay gelding eased clear under Jamie Codd from the fifth-last to defeat the only other finisher, Stornaway, by a distance.
In-form trainer Philip Dempsey indicated his charge, who carried his colours, would be offered at the Cheltenham sales.
Five-pound claimer Neil Bashford landed his first success of the season when guiding the favourite Cavite Beta to victory in the Savills open for novice riders.
The 11-year-old, a three-time winner between the flags last season, kicked off his second term of pointing by outjumping chief market rival Eddies Miracle to cross the line four lengths clear.
“I said it last year – he is as consistent and genuine a horse as we have. He is an absolute star who is owned by local people.
“Alan Potts was very good to pass him on to them for point-to-pointing and he’ll stay at this job for now and we’ll have a bit of fun with him,” Tom Dreaper said of the Beta Chance Syndicate-owned chestnut gelding.
Having finished third against younger rivals at Castletown-Geoghegan on his first start for the Peter Flood yard, much was expected of Star Wizard as he made his first foray into the older maiden division in the Boyd Stores six-year-old-and-upwards geldings’ maiden.
The even-money favourite tracked market rival Thinkinginmysleep for much of the slowly run contest before it developed into a sprint from the second-last.
Just gaining the upper hand in the closing stages, the six-year-old got the verdict by three-quarters of a length to record a popular success for owner/breeder Hugh Mulvihill, a regular clerk of the scales at point-to-point fixtures in the Midlands.
“He was good the last time and we would have been disappointed if he had been beaten here,” said the trainer.
“They went slowly early and could have done with a better gallop. He’ll win plenty of races as he’s improving all the time.
“I got him during the summer and he would have needed the run in Castletown.
“I’m delighted for Hugh to get the winner as he has his daughter here today with him.”
Forced to settle for runner-up spot at Portrush 24 hours earlier, Brian Hamilton was delighted to gain compensation by returning to the Dowth Hall winner’s enclosure with Canadian Steel after the James Gogarty winners-of-one contest, although he was given some moments of worry in the closing stages.
His Kirkistown maiden winner, looked to have the race in safe keeping at the penultimate fence, only for the eight-year-old to tire on the run for home.
That allowed De Name Evades Me and Chinatown Boy into the race, but the photo-finish showed the Craigsteel gelding had won by a neck for Declan Lavery.
“He’s not bred to get three miles being by Craigsteel out of a Flat mare,” said Hamilton.
“We ran him over hurdles and he’d been running away okay but it just wasn’t happening for him, so we came back pointing.”
“He’s back in winning ways, so we might look for a two and a-half mile chase somewhere for him.”
It was a case of 17th time lucky for Larkfield Lass, as she made amends for a disappointing incident at Tinahely seven days earlier when carried out early.
She was an easy 14-length winner of the ITBA & Collier International mares’ maiden for Rob James and Richie Rath.
The Presenting mare, a bargain €600 purchase as a foal for owner James Brennan at the Tattersalls November sale, was returning from an unsuccessful spell under rules for a long-awaited success.
“I’m delighted she’s won her point-to-point. I’m after trying a lot of times,” said the owner.
“We got carried out last week at Tinahely and maybe it was for the best as we’re here today.
“The plan was always to turn her into a broodmare. It is maybe a bit up in the air after this but I’ll talk to Richie and see where we go from here.”