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Fortuitous win for Float By Boat as track beats heavy frost; IVEAGH AT MARALIN SATURDAY.

A HEAVY overnight frost left the meeting in doubt, but persistence from the officials at the County Down track paid off when the first of the seven races went to post nearly an hour and a half after the scheduled start time.

There was-last fence drama in both the four-year-old maiden race and the open contest. Only four went to post in the maiden after the late withdrawal of two Dennison runners due to the ground conditions.

The Oliver McKiernan-owned Profit Margin looked the likely winner, but he fell at the last, leaving the chasing Float My Boat to land the spoils by three lengths from Trappapony.

Float My Boat is trained by ex-international event rider Stuart Crawford, whose other runner, McLovin, unseated at the last. The winner is now likely to be for sale.

The Beat All gelding's owner Warren Ewing arrived at the course early to see his runner, but due to the delay had to leave for a wedding. However, he managed to listen to the entire race over the phone while sitting at the back of the church!

Six runners went to post in the open contest, but as Eagles High refused to start this left five to battle it out, and this time it was odds-on favourite Mattock Ranger who led at the last, but he made a mistake and unseated Mikey Fogarty.

This left the advantage with the other David Christie-trained runner Vintage Treasure, who also blundered and unseated his rider, which left Derek Fox to pick his way through the carnage to win on Lakil House.

The dual track winner was making his point-to-point debut for his owner Caroline Greeves and is trained by her partner Jason Cairns, who said that, as he is a doubtful stayer, he may have a go for a shorter distance hunter chase.

There were two impressive looking debutant winners of the five-year-old geldings' maidens, with division one going to the Gordon Elliott-trained Dantes King.

This well-bred son of King's Theatre was bought by the owner's husband before he died, and after this facile victory the winner will now be aimed at a bumper in the next couple of weeks.

In the second division, Colin Bowe's debutant Zagman powered home 12 lengths to the good of the experienced Blackstaff. Zagman's owner, Jeremy English, who is a former amateur, bought the son of Zagreb as a foal and had him well handled before sending him to Bowe to break.

His jockey, Barry O'Neill, who rode Joncol to victory in a Thurles bumper said that the winner is as close to Joncol as he has ever sat on, both in looks and ability.

Gers Benefit finally lost her maiden status when landing the five- and six year-old mares' maiden by a comfortable three lengths from Candy Lass. The six-year-old daughter of Beneficial has been in the frame on four of her six starts, but is now likely to head for the track.

There was a surprise in the six-yearold geldings' maiden when the David Christie-trained Carnkirk, who had yet to complete from six starts, landed the spoils under Derek O'Connor.

The son of Oscar Schindler put in a perfect display of jumping to score by a length and a half and the same from Fort View Wings and Schindlers Rock.

The closing 'winners of three' went to the George Stewart-trained Leaders Mate, who was ridden by Jason McKeown. The son of Supreme Leader had been recently purchased by Aaron McCusker, a leading figure in showing circles, and the plan for this eight-yearold is to go for the hunter chase at Down Royal on St Patrick's Day, as the McCusker family have a box at the track.

Star performance Dantes King looks a classy staying chaser in-the-making. With a terrific pedigree and a fine stamp, he looks one who will improve significantly in time. He is not one for short-term lists, but one for high-class races

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Zagman and Barry O'Neill jump the last to win the second division of the five-year-old maiden at Maralin
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Feb 24, 2010
Words:675
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