Coquin Mans and Paul Townend
©Healy Racing Photos
French-import Coquin Mans made heavy weather of it in the end but he did get home to justify odds of 1/3 in the opener at Limerick, the Woodlands House Hotel Adare Maiden Hurdle.
In the Hurricane Fly colours of George Creighton, Paul Townend chased the leaders on Coquin Mans.
He went fourth approaching the straight before travelling up well going to two out. Willie Mullins' charge soon led.
However Coquin Mans had to battle hard from the last to defeat Surf Instructor (50/1) by a head. There was three parts of a length back to Indian Monsoon in third.
"He was green the whole way around in everything he did and he can only improve in every way," reflected Townend.
"Ability got him through I thought, and he has to improve. He handled the ground - it's hard work and I don't think any horse appreciates it."
The Stewards enquired into possible interference in the closing stages involving Coquin Mans (FR), ridden by P. Townend, placed first, Indian Monsoon, ridden by P.T. Enright, placed third and Surf Instructor, ridden by D. Robinson, placed second, where it appeared that both Indian Monsoon and Surf Instructor received some interference.
Evidence was heard from the riders concerned. Having viewed the recording of the race and considered the evidence, the Stewards made no alteration to the Judges placings and took no further action.
The Stewards requested a report from Henry de Bromhead, trainer, as to the apparent improvement in form of Surf Instructor, placed second, as compared with its recent form.
David Roche, Authorised representative of Henry de Bromhead reported that this animal disappointed beyond belief when pulling up on his only racecourse run in a novice hurdle at Gowran Park on the 26th November.
He added that the animal was thoroughly examined following that run and no abnormality was found. He further stated that today the gelding was ridden more prominently on softer ground conditions and also coming back to a maiden from a novice hurdle both contributed to the improved performance.
Having considered the evidence the Stewards noted the content of the report.
(TW & EM)