Cream Sparkles, number 9, wins by the narrowest margin© Photo Healy Racing
Cream Sparkles pulled victory out of the fire in the featured RED MILLS Irish EBF Auction Maiden Hurdle at Ballinrobe. Chicago Time made what appeared to be a winning move down the inner after the last to pick off front-running Mahler Mission At this stage Denis O'Regan was working hard on Cream Sparkles in third.
Chicago Time was ridden by Sean O'Keeffe at the furlong pole but his stride pattern began to shorten in the closing stages as Cream Sparkles rattled home between horses.
Cream Sparkles was driven up to the line to force a photo finish and she got the verdict by a nose to justify 15/8 favouritism.
Runner-up Chicago Time was well punted through the day and went off at 10/3. Mahler Mission, coming off a long break, was a length further back in third at 20/1.
Trainer David Christie said: “Denis is cool! She sort of likes to be ridden cold and Denis worked that out the last day.
'He said he would settle her out the back and challenge at the last, and he was in the right place when he needed to be!
“She’s not a bad mare. She was never going to be a bumper mare because she stays.
“When she ran at Downpatrick, Darragh O’Keeffe said her wind was just a bit rough at the third-last, so we had her checked over, and then her run at Galway was more like it.
“She’s a half-sister to Abbey Magic so it’s a nice pedigree, and it’s very important for these mares to get a win.
“The owner Micheal O’Connor is from Roscommon and has all his family here, so it’s brilliant for him. He’ll breed from her, I would say.
“I ran her on good to firm ground at Down Royal and she loved it. She moves well so I hadn’t really any fears about the ground here.”
Additional reporting by Mark Nunan