Air Supremacy wins Listowel battle for Joseph O’Brien

Wednesday, Sep 12 2018

Air Supremacy lunged late to win the Ballygarry House Hotel Novice Hurdle at Listowel on Wednesday.

Just five runners went to post for the two-and-a-half-mile contest, but it did not lack intrigue.

Willie Mullins saddled the first two in the market, with Easy Game an 8-11 favourite to maintain his unbeaten record over hurdles and stablemate Getareason a 5-2 shot to follow up a recent victory at Tramore.

The latter looked in command before making a bad mistake at the final flight, opening the door to Easy Game.

However, it was the Joseph O’Brien-trained Killarney scorer Air Supremacy who quickened up best to claim a length victory in the hands of Mark Walsh.

Frank Berry, racing manager to owner JP McManus, said: “He’s battled away well, but I suppose the other horse making a mistake has changed it around. He jumped much better than he did in Killarney and he’s progressing.

“We’ll find another little one for him and take it from there. We wondered about the ground, but he handled it and probably would go on a bit softer and looser.”

Odds-on backers were made to sweat before Japan ultimately came out on top in the Exchange Inn Ballybunion & Kevin’s Bar Listowel Irish EBF Maiden.

Aidan O’Brien’s colt was a 1-2 favourite after finishing a promising seventh on his Curragh debut, but was under pressure early in the home straight.

However, to his credit, the son of Galileo responded to the urgings of the trainer’s son Donnacha and got up to beat Aristocratic Man by three-quarters of a length.

O’Brien junior said: “He was raw and green and it just took him a while to get the hang of it. He’s not used to a sharp track like that, but once I got him going in the straight he rattled home. He stays well.

“He wouldn’t have seen ground anything like that, but he has ability and once he got the hang of it, he did it nicely.”

Trainer James Barrett enjoyed a one-two in the Listowel Arms Handicap, with 9-4 favourite Time Queen seeing off stablemate King Of Leinster under 7lb claimer Gavin Ryan.

“She ran very well in Killarney a few weeks ago and we knew with a bit of ease in the ground today that she would be bang there. She went away and did it well,” said Ryan.

“She’s an improving filly and she’s going to come on again from that.”

Stormy Belle, who is in foal to Elzaam, was a 5-1 winner of the Brandon Hotel Handicap for trainer Pat Fahy and jockey Ben Coen.

Fahy said: “We were undecided where to go and said we might give her a shot at a black type race for breeding purposes, but a winner here means more to the owner than anything.

“We might have a go again on Friday. She was very fresh coming into this – she was bouncing.”

The Johnny Murtagh-trained Prosecution landed the Seamus Mulvaney Bookmaker Handicap, with Shane B Kelly the winning pilot while Quick Grabim lifted the M.S.D Animal Health Maiden Hurdle for Mullins and Paul Townend.

Nibblers Charm (40-1) won a dramatic renewal of the Listowel Vintners Association Flat Race, with 6-4 joint-favourites Eileen O and Doctor Duffy getting very close around a furlong and a half from the finish, with the latter unshipping Richie Deegan in a nasty fall.

The stewards sent the incident on to the referrals committee as Deegan was unavailable to give evidence due to concussion.

Deegan was later taken to Kerry University Hospital in Tralee for further assessment.

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