Thebarberkelly lands the gamble
©Healy Racing Photos
By Gary Carson
Thebarberkelly landed a serious gamble when taking the first division of the mile handicap at Dundalk.
The Peter McCreery-trained gelding was backed from 40/1 this morning right into 4/1 and was eventually sent off a 5/1 chance on course.
It was a dramatic passage for those who followed the money with Michael Hussey finding himself short of room two furlongs from home.
He got himself out, but bumped into Red Laser in the process. The Pyrus gelding then had to chase down front-runner Jumbo Steps inside the final furlong.
The gamble got on top in the closing stages to record a length success.
<Thebarberkelly had little to recommend him on recent form having been well beaten last time over hurdles at Navan and pulled up previously at Listowel.
He had hinted at ability in Flat maidens last season and had slipped to a mark of 52 today having initially been rated 65 on the level.
"We expected him to do the business," said McCreery's assistant Adrian Keatley, who also owns the horse.
"He's been running on soft ground but we worked him a couple of times recently and we knew he was 13lb better in than when he last ran here.
"He's a better horse - more mature now."
Keatley told the stewards afterwards, regarding improvement in form, that it was the gelding's first Flat start for the yard and also his first time with blinkers.
Hussey was given a one-day ban for careless riding.
It proved a rough enough contest and there were also one-day careless riding bans for Chris Hayes (Coppertop) and Gary Carroll (Fancy Socks)
Fancy Socks was demoted from the dead-heat for fourth to fifth place.
(Additional reporting by Michael Graham)