Ulster duo make long haul well worthwhile
Ballymena trainer Ian Ferguson and Armagh handler Keith Watson both travelled the long distance to Clonmel with single runners yesterday but the pair were rewarded with success.
Leighinmohor - owned by long-standing patrons of the Cullybackey stable, Brian Kearney Jnr and Jimmy Murray, also from Ballymena, and partnered by Andrew Lynch - was left clear at the final fence when Horse No Name fell but appeared beaten and held by the eventual winner at that stage.
The Ulster horse cantered to the line with the pair having gone 20 lengths clear of the rest of the field at an early stage.
Ferguson said: "He was always a good horse but was off the track for a while. I'll talk to the owners and look for another suitable race."
Lynch added: "He's a big lazy horse but jumps well. He didn't beat a whole lot but wants better ground and you couldn't fault him on that. He had the other horse cooked when he fell at the last."
Heavenly Brook has proved a frustrating sort, finishing runner-up seven times from nine starts prior to winning yesterday.
Rising star of the saddle Luke Dempsey was aboard yesterday for the first time and always had his mount to the fore throughout before leading two from home and keeping on gamely to the line.
Watson, who also owns the winner, said: "That was overdue and no horse in Irish racing deserved it more.
"He'll run in the Ulster Grand National at Downpatrick (March 22) as he stays very well. Luke gave him a smashing ride."
The on-form winning jockey, who heads to Cheltenham next week, said: "He got into a great rhythm and jumped from fence to fence. He gave me a great spin.
"He's happy bowling along in front and was winging fences. It's been a great few weeks for me."