Heavenly joy for Harley at Down Royal
Eighteen-year-old Letterkenny jockey Martin Harley was singing in the rain yesterday after having ridden the winner of the Ulster Oaks Handicap, feature race at Down Royal.
Harley, who was having his first ride in the race, scored on Angels Story for trainer Jim Bolger, who was continuing his recent purple patch which has included the Epsom Derby as well as two races at Royal Ascot.
This was Bolger's first win in the Down Royal race and Harley said: " It's a tremendous boost for me and it follows up on the fact that I had my first winner on the flat on this course last year when Proud Ruler was successful in the race before the Oaks. Angels story was always going well and I felt I had a bit chance after the turn for home when I fought off the late challenge of Dancera. I've had a lot of winners since last season but this success will probably be one of the most memorable."
Mervyn Turrens who trains at Omagh was not to be disappointed that Dancera didn't deliver the goods.
"I had toyed with running her in a maiden hurdle here on Friday night but then I thought she might have a big chance in today's feature," he said. "I came close but not close enough and to be honest at this point in time I have no thoughts about her next outing. I have been left a little rocked by this result for I felt deep down that she might win."
Third place went to Varsity trained by Charlie Swann but really Angels Story who was in second place for most of the trip behind Shaimaa was always looking like a winner and finished up a 4-1 chance - joint favourite on the day.
The winner scored by two lengths and there was no immediate information about future plans for the trainer Bolger wasn't at the meeting.
Earlier in the day Drunken Sailor gave Paul Flynn a timely winner in the Club White lemonade handicap.
Flynn had one with the same horse last Thursday at Ferryhouse to give him his first success on the flat.
Flynn said: "I have ridden a few winners at Down Royal but it's nice to have a success as a trainer. Galloway is always a possible at this stage of the season and I suppose I will go there in July."
Lemons Legend continued the high strike rate of Steven Mahon when winning the club slim tonic handicap hurdle after having been in the leading group throughout.
Mahon said: "This has always been a lucky track for me and I'm thinking now about a handicap at Bellewstown next with Galloway not out of the question."
Easiest winner of the day was Kalderon trained by Tom Hogan in Tipperary who blasted the opposition apart under Paul Carberry to win the club tonic hurdle at prohibitive odds of 9-2 on.