Colm Cooper with connections of Line Out, (from left to right) Marian Kiely, Vivienne Lillingston, and John Kiely
©Healy Racing Photos
By Donal Murphy
Market principals Line Out and Sharps Choice battled out the finish to the Thanks For The Memories Colm 'The Gooch' Cooper Maiden Hurdle, with the former coming out on top under Andrew Lynch.
The John Kiely trained victor is a full-brother to the ill-fated dual Listed winner Toe The Line, and he was recording his first career success this evening.
Second, fifth and fourth on his first three starts over flights, the son of Shantou was available at 3/1 last night, but that price was quickly snapped up.
He opened on-course at 11/8, before going off the clear 6/4 favourite in the colours of the Lillingston Family.
Settled in mid-division on the inner, he wasn't fluent at the second, and was seventh with a circuit to race.
The five-year-old bay took closer order on the approach to the straight, and wandered around a bit on the run to three out.
He improved into a share of the lead at the second last, and had a good battle with Sharps Choice from before the next, getting on top in the closing stages to score by a half a length.< Sharps Choice (11/4 to 9/4 on-course) had to settle for second under Ruby Walsh for Willie Mullins, while Fraser (16/1) was a further four and three parts of a length back in third for Eamonn Corbett and Harry Kelly.
Kiely said afterwards: "Andrew (Lynch) is a real horseman but it took a little while to click to the jumping - he was just a slow learner.
"He is more of a chaser but we'll keep him hurdling this year. It's nice to get a horse like him and he'll be fine if he's half as good as his sister."
P.E. Corbett, rider of Fraser (GER) trained by David Harry Kelly, reported to the Clerk of Scales that his mount was lame when pulling up after finishing third.
Additional reporting by Thomas Weekes