Kelly has the eye for winners.
BY CLOSE of play last night young conditional rider Tony Kelly had built up an impressive strike-rate at Ballinrobe.
It helps, of course, when your first two rides at the track are winners. The first leg of his 135-1 double came for his father Pat on Major Harry, a 33-1 outsider in the 2m handicap hurdle, who just held off the fast-finishing Spa Wells.
The 22-year-old is based with Ferdy Murphy and said: "I've had seven winners overall and this is my third as a professional. I'll be going back over to Ferdy Murphy after Galway, but it's a nice first ride at Ballinrobe."
Local trainer Mick Flannery, who owns a popular pub and restaurant bearing his name in Ballinrobe, provided Kelly with his double when the consistent Bean Chroi Bhriste ran out the winner of the first of the three 2m4f handicap hurdles on the night.
"It's great to have a winner, especially here," said a smiling Flannery.
The mare had been announced earlier as showing signs of being in season and Flannery added: "I can thank Pat Martin. I rang him this morning and he told me when they're going out of season run them, when they're coming into season don't.
"One of the owners, Ken Stewart, is 74 today. He's a local man and that's a nice birthday present. The other owner, Michael Heery, is from Dublin. Today was the mare's day."
It was also Tony Kelly's day. He even survived being called Tom by Des Scahill after the racecourse commentator was given a bit of a bum steer by one of the Turf Club officials!
And so nearly three ... Kelly nearly bagged a treble in the second of the 2m4f handicap hurdles. If third-placed Markey Cee had not blundered at the second-last in the race won by Information, who knows? Double delight Veteran Waterford trainer John Morrison had a rare 89-1 double in combination with rider Paddy Mangan, who enjoyed a rather more welcome time in the saddle here after his much-commented ride on The Real Article at Tipperary on Sunday.
The trainer was not present but his representative Darren Pratt nodded enthusiastically when asked if he got any of the early 33-1 about jumps debutant Much Acclaimed prior to the opening maiden hurdle.
"This was the plan," he beamed after the son of Sulamani had won at odds of 14-1. Completing the double was 5-1 chance Ever Dreaming, who rallied and battled back to beat Young Patriarch in the third of the 2m4f handicap hurdles.
"She was entitled to win that," said Pratt in the manner of somebody who got a bit of the early value about this mare as well.