Caracara Mail leads Valdieu in the closing sages, with eventual winner City Island (red cap) in third
©Healy Racing Photos
By Donal Murphy
After finishing a fine second on debut over the course and distance last month, City Island went one place better in the last at Punchestown this evening, the Punchestown Event Centre INH Flat Race.
The five-year-old son of Court Cave was bought for E31,000 at Tattersalls in June of 2016, and is closely related to plenty of winners, including Tasitiocht who won four times for Willie Mullins.
As short as 11/4 in early shows, the Martin Brassil trained five-year-old proved easy to back, opening on-course at 7/2 before going off a 9/2 chance in well-known colours Sean and Bernardine Mulryan.
Settled in mid-division by Richie Deegan, the bay five-year-old took closer order approaching the straight and was ridden from the two furlong pole.
He was third a furlong out, and kept on best to lead inside the final 100 yards, going on to prevail by a length and a half.
Valdieu, who was backed from 10/3 to 11/4 on-course, finished second under Mark O'Hare for Noel Meade, while point-to-point winner Caracara Mail (8/1) was another three parts of a length back in third with Derek O'Connor aboard for Jonathan Sweeney.
Castle North was sent off the 5/2 favourite, and he finished a disappointing eighth.
"He's a nice horse and he had a lovely run here first time so we were hopeful if he could reproduce that it might be good enough today," said Brassil.
"He has a great attitude and stays really well. He's had a couple of spins round in schooling hurdles and he jumps well so he's ready to go jumping whenever. He likes a bit of good ground.
"The owners like to have runners at the summer meetings so he might go to Galway for a hurdle.
"He's a nice type of horse to have, he has a good pedigree and you wouldn't know what he'd do. He's a big staying type."
The Stewards fined Jonathan Sweeney, trainer, E350 for lodging a passport in respect of Caracara Mail (FR), in which the vaccinations did not conform with the provisions of Rule 91. The Stewards allowed the horse to run on receipt of the trainer's written assurance that the vaccinations were in order.
Additional reporting by Gary Carson