Bothar Dubh (Mikey Sweeney) leads over the last© Photo Healy Racing
Mikey Sweeney, who became something of a social media sensation following an amazing recovery to win a point-to-point at Boulta last month, opened his account under rules when successful aboard Bothar Dubh in the Kilmolash (QR) Handicap Hurdle at Clonmel.
That point-to-point ride was on the Declan Queally-trained Ask Heather and Sweeney (20) again teamed up with the Waterford trainer here.
The 6/4 favourite, a highly creditable second to Goose Man at Navan last time, was always travelling well and made smooth headway to lead at the penultimate flight.
The six-year-old was just shaken up on the run-in to beat Mlily by three and a quarter lengths, with Wilde Breeze a half a length further back in third and Analyse That soundly beaten in fourth.
Queally's son and namesake said, "Mikey is from Cappoquin and works with us full-time. He got plenty of rides on the strength of Ask Heather's point to point win. That has put him on the map and hopefully he can now progress another level to be a top point to point rider.
"This lad was a cheap little horse. Unfortunately the owner Eileen O'Mahony's brother Tom has died since he bought him so it was a poignant win for the owners and they're delighted he won.
"He was only a small fun horse and we'll see what the handicapper does. Hopefully he can win another race."
(TW & AM)