Westerner Mare Pounces Late For Grade 3 Prize
Skyace (5m Westerner - Graigace, by Milan) produced a late challenge to land Saturday’s Grade 3 Mares Novice Hurdle at Down Royal.
Dropping back to two miles, the John Hanlon-trained mare raced towards the back of the field and was pushed along from four out. Making good headway, she kept on strongly on the run-in and led close home, beating the short-priced favourite by a head on the line.
Bred by Breandan Long, Skyace made an impressive start to the season when winning her first two starts, having previously been placed in all three of her starts in bumpers.
Western Victory (7m Westerner - Zara’s Victor, by Old Vic) was another daughter of Westerner to have proven useful over hurdles, as demonstrated by her Listed win last season. She transferred her talent to chasing this season and won a Mares Beginners Chase by 13 lengths in August.
She recorded her second chase success on Thursday when justifying favoritism by 16 lengths under Sean O’Keeffe. Trained by Declan Queally for S O’Neill, Western Victory was bred by Tim Conroy.