Darwins out-foxes Roscommon foes
Darwins Fox lifted the Grade Three Kilbegnet E.B.F. Novice Chase at Roscommon in fine style on Monday.
Beaten in five attempts over fences last term, Henry de Bromhead freshened the gelding up by trying him on the Flat and over hurdles during the summer and he was swiftly off the mark on his return to the bigger obstacles at the Galway Festival.
Back from a break, the 9-4 joint-favourite led his rivals a merry dance as he drew 13 lengths clear under Andrew Lynch. The Real Article had been a notable late non-runner.
De Bromhead said: "He was really impressive.
"I liked him a lot but he got hurt badly a few years ago and fractured a joint. I never thought he'd come back to his full potential but he looks exciting again now.
"He's been quite busy during the summer and might go for something in a few weeks' time, perhaps the Grade Three two and a quarter mile novice chase (Buck House Novice Chase) at Punchestown on October 17."
This event and the Buck House were both won by subsequent Arkle runner-up Baily Green 12 months ago.
There are few more welcome sights in Irish racing than a winner for the popular gentleman trainer John Oxx, who reminded the Aga Khan of his talents in the www.roscommonracecourse.ie Maiden.
Oxx's horses have been under a cloud this season, and the powerful owner-breeder elected to switch things around and include Dermot Weld, with Oxx not set to receive any yearlings although the association will continue.
Timikar (9-2), who was fourth to the decent Foundry on his only start last back-end, stayed on powerfully through his reappearance in the Irish Stallion Farms E.B.F. Maiden.
Jockey Declan McDonogh said: "He had a few setbacks so we've had to be patient with him. But he wasn't far behind the horse who was second in the Great Voltigeur and you can see him improving from that.
"I was impressed with his attitude, as he had every opportunity to get lonely."
Oxx's assistant Jimmy O'Neill said: "He's a big raw horse and had a few minor little things that kept him off the track until now. He wants nice ground but may not get that again and is not one for the all-weather. He will probably go the Goffs Horses in Training Sale."
McDonogh and Oxx combined over the weekend when My Titania picked up the Group Three CL Weld Park Stakes, and the jockey said: "We've got some good maidens to come. We're not down and out yet."
In-form rider Colin Keane teamed up with his father Gerry to sneak Captain Cullen (14-1) up close home in the Follow Roscommon On Facebook Handicap.
Cash Or Casualty stumbled leaving the stalls but jockey Ian McCarthy was unscathed.
Gerry Keane said: "The plan was to drop him in and switch him off. Colin said he would have been an unlucky loser today.
"He's a good horse but difficult to keep right because he has problems with mucus, and has spent plenty of time out in the paddock. He may go to Tipperary next weekend."
Jim Bolger's Intensical (4-1), highly tried in a Listed and Group race on his first two starts, scraped home a long way down in class in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Maiden.