Domonic O’Brien and John Byrne with weekend winners Knockalton King and Knockalton Conor.

TRAPRISE - Conor and King secure Byrne brace

Local kennels were busy at many tracks across the country once again over the past week and delivering a Saturday double for trainer John Byrne, at two separate venues.

Forming part of the undercard to the Reddan Windows & Doors Champion Bitch Stake at Thurles, a first step beyond the standard distance saw Stephanie Ryan’s Knockalton Conor (Silverhill Shay-Kitmins Denise) relish the 570-yards on the Premier circuit when the November 2018 whelp produced a career best performance in his A3 contest.

Denied a clear run in each of his previous two outings, Knockalton Conor clearly remained in good form when placed both times and crucially defending the inside pitch from his suitable Trap 1 draw on Saturday, the Byrne charge converted with a cleaner passage this time.

Reaching the first bend with a narrow advantage, he skipped clear to a two-length lead on the backstraight and closing the door on his nearest pursuer at the third turn, scored in impressive fashion thereafter. Staying stoutly for a two and a half length verdict in 32.10 (-60) on a heavy track, Knockalton Conor rises to A2 next time but appears entirely capable of coping with the rise on the evidence of this third race success.

News of that success would have reached Limerick just in time for a confidence boost before Dominic O’Brien & John Byrne’s Knockalton King (Good News-Newlawn Minnie) went to traps in search of a maiden victory and duly obliging at the fourth time of asking, the lightly raced October 2018 whelp claimed his A3 525-yard contest in gutsy style.

Well held in warm events to start his career last season, the Byrne charge was without a clear run before returning from a three-month absence on Saturday but breaking well from his trap 6 draw, he would immediately contest the lead this time.

Matched for early pace to his inside, Knockalton King arrived at the first bend while widest of a line of runners and obliged to chart a wider path to the backstraight, was shuffled back to third with four lengths to recover on the run to halfway. Impressing on the approach to the closing bends however, the Byrne charge advanced to second while reducing his arrears to a length before briefly checked at the crown of the turns. Gathering his stride for a final effort, Knockalton King loomed large as a menacing threat when gaining on the leader to the home straight and striking the front on the outside approaching the line, forged a most game one length verdict.

Posting 29.26, he will remain in A3 grade and open to plenty of improvement for this racing return, he will hold every claim to build on this first victory next time out.

Back to the Saturday action at Thurles and in wonderful form, Alice Guilfoyle’s Magical Jasper would go in search of an Open 570-yard hattrick. However, missing his break, his brave recovery effort would fall short as Ring Master (Sparta Maestro-Wrathchild) got back to winning ways while securing the local bragging rights for Paul Brussells in a high class affair.

Last successful over the same trip in A1 grade in November, a return to Thurles saw Ring Master back close to his very best when, breaking well from Trap 6, the Roscrea favourite immediately took command of the race with a swift exit.

Forging a one length lead at the opening bend as Magical Jasper raced in last place, Ring Master gamely defended that advantage all along the backstraight before finally shaking off his closest pursuer entering the home straight. Seeing out the trip well, Ring Master secured his eighth career win when holding the eye-catching late surge of Magical Jasper by a length and a half while posting a very smart 31.84 (-60).

It was a busy Saturday for the Guilfoyle kennels and that Thurles disappointment did not linger for very long as further exploits on the night delivered a brace of wins. Having impressed greatly while scoring victory in his sprint debut a week earlier, suspicion that Pat Guilfoyle’s Alice Wants Cash (Good News-Mystical Moll) harboured the potential for imminent improvement was confirmed as the May 2019 pup advanced to Open class in just his second race start at Galway.

Afforded the opportunity to contest in A5 grade over 525 yards, Alice Wants Cash broke on level terms from Trap 4 and forging a one length lead at the opening bend, proceeded to reduce the race to a virtual procession thereafter. Skipping clear to the backstraight and settling the verdict before halfway, Alice Wants Cash maintained an attractive gallop throughout his seven and a half-length win. Posting 28.86 (-20), the exciting prospect is clearly another potential star to follow closely from the Moneygall kennels.

Harbouring a wonderful strike-rate, the Saturday double for the kennels was completed at Shelbourne Park when Emer Guilfoyle’s Magical Cormie (Head Bound-Montore Lady) returned to his very best form in a sublime 550-yard performance in A1 grade.

One of the most likeable racers on the local scene, the James Treacy bred July 2017 whelp remains very lightly raced with a total of just 21 starts but on the approach to his fourth birthday, reaffirmed his ability to compete with the very best with a tenth career win which oozed class.

Just headed from Trap 5, Magical Cormie quickly drew level with Bellmore Warrior to his outer and outpacing all rivals to his inner, secured command of the rails at the first bend with slick early dash. Retaining a one-length lead to the second turn, the strong runner duly dominated the race thereafter. Powering to the closing bends while readily extending his advantage, Magical Cormie drew impressively clear in latter half of the race and held a comfortable five and a half lengths over Swords Duke at the line while posting a sublime 29.61, which will see him back in the top grade of racing for his next outing.

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