Encanto Bruno (Mahler) Wins The Maiden Hurdle At Bellewstown

McConnell Continues Success With Smart Sons Of Mahler

Smart bumper horse Encanto Bruno (5g Mahler - Stratosphere, by Selkirk) made a smart return to action in Saturday’s maiden hurdle at Bellewstown.

John McConnell bought the son of Mahler for £210,000 after impressing on debut for Colin Motherway and was soon rewarded with back-to-back bumper wins. The Derek Kierans-owned bay was sent off favourite to make a winning hurdle debut at the weekend and led from flag-fall under Ben Harvey. Travelling strongly throughout, he was asked to quicken before the second last and boasted a clear advantage by the final flight, leading by 13 lengths on the line.

McConnell is plotting a return to Cheltenham with Encanto Bruno, who was bred by M O’Keeffe. It marked a second impressive hurdle debutante in as many days for the trainer, with Kinbara (5g Mahler - Dali’s Theatre, by Lomitas) having bolted up by 18 lengths at Wexford the previous day.

A smart winner on rules debut last season, Kinbara was sent off favourite for the maiden hurdle and raced prominently throughout the three mile contest under Ben Harvey. Shaken up to draw clear two from home, he was never challenged.

Speaking after the race, the winning rider said, “He is a horse we've always liked and was impressive when he won his bumper at Killarney. It's great to say that he can improve from that when he did it so easy. We are hopeful that he will shape up into a graded horse in time.”

Kinbara is owned by Ms Caroline Ahearn and was bred by Ms T Hassett.

Friends (5m Mahler - Rachel’s Star, by Presenting) completed a double on the card for her Beeches Stud sire when making a winning debut in the mares’ bumper over two and a half miles.

The Willie Mullins-trained mare was sent off favourite under Patrick Mullins, who rode her prominently for much of the way. Shaken up to lead inside the final furlong, she won by a length and three quarters, with another neck back to I Am Shadow (Getaway) in third.

Owned by the Lions Mouth Racing Club, Friends becomes the first winner bred by the Beeches Stud out of Rachel’s Star.