Two in a week for Mousey Brown as Midlands National awaits

The Midlands National was nominated by Dermot McLoughlin for tough mare Mousey Brown after her victory at Kilbeggan a week ago, but the Ratoath trainer knew she would need another win for a chance of getting into the contest.

She made no mistake in the feature 2m4f handicap chase at a damp Punchestown under Paddy O'Hanlon. The writing was on the wall for her opponents when she found racing room on the inner in the straight and she put the result beyond doubt with maximum efficiency, drawing clear to score by nine and a half lengths from Railway Hurricane.

The handicapper is unlikely to spare her but the penalty she receives should comfortably get her into the Kilbeggan showpiece in mid-July. 

McLoughlin said: "She liked the bit of ease in the ground and galloped all the way to the line. I would say that she's improving and she's a hardy mare.

"She's big and hopefully can keep progressing, so Kilbeggan will be next and we'll work from there. She's been very good all the way through and hopefully there's more to come."

Riders in the wars

The female riders' handicap hurdle was marred by a nasty fall at the flight before the stands when Petite Mike under Sarah McNamara fell and brought down Dreamings Free, ridden by Emma Costello. Both riders were taken to Naas Hospital for x-rays and there was a knock-on delay to the start of the following race while waiting for the second ambulance to return.

Aine O'Connor was given a seven-day ban for excessive frequency with the whip on the third-placed Joyeux Vivo, but the wars did not end there. While milling round at the start for the following mares' maiden hurdle, second-favourite Rosalys unseated rider Mike O'Connor and gave him a bang in the face. 

The ambulance had returned by then, but the delay to the start was lengthened due to O'Connor needing running repairs to what transpired after the race to be a broken nose.

The contest eventually started almost 30 minutes late, and O'Connor's pain was not alleviated by his mount being outgalloped from the last by the Willie Mullins-trained favourite Just For Love in the hands of Sean Cleary-Farrell.

Fascile Galway-bound

The Tom Mullins-trained Fascile Mode is proving a tough character and produced his best performance of a long campaign when running out a convincing winner of the opening conditions hurdle. 

Giving almost a stone to 1-3 favourite Ash Tree Meadow proved no issue as he quickened clear before the last under Jack Foley, surviving a mistake at that hurdle to score by five and a half lengths.

Mullins said: "I have Galway in mind now, and he could go to Tipperary next month for the Grimes Hurdle before that. At Galway, we have the choice of the Galway Hurdle or the two valuable longer-distance handicap hurdles. 

"We haven't spared him but he's improving all the time and wants that type of ground."