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Paul Nolan

Paul Nolan: trains Aura About You and Golden Sunbird for James Mernagh

  PICTURE: Caroline Norris  

Dazzling double for owner-breeder Mernagh

JAMES MERNAGH was celebrating a dazzling double at Limerick on Sunday, with homebred mares carrying his silks to victory in both of the card's stakes races.

Golden Sunbird, a Listed bumper winner in 2009, kicked off the double with victory in the Listed Kerry Group EBF Mares Novice Hurdle.

The eight-year-old mare won easily, by 18 lengths, from the Definite Article mare Definite Class, with odds-on Dare To Doubt, by King's Theatre, a short-head back in third.

Golden Sunbird provides her recently deceased sire, Bob Back, with a boost ahead of a potentially big week.

Bob Back holds a strong hand at this week's Cheltenham festival. His fancied progeny are headed by Bobs Worth, who is among the favourites for both his entries in the Neptune Investment Management and Albert Bartlett novices' hurdles.

In the Albert Bartlett Bobs Worth could meet a paternal half-brother in Grade 2 winner Back In Focusand in the Neptune he could be opposed by another in Tornado Bob.

Bob Back's other Cheltenham entries include Ballymak, Minella Four Star and Roberto Goldback.

Bob Back was put down in January at Burgage Stud at the age of 30.

Golden Sunbird is out of the unraced Sexton Blake mare Mrs Marples, a half-sister to Champion Bumper winner Wither Or Which and to the dam of Alexander Banquet, a Grade 1 winner in a bumper, over hurdles and over fences.

Aura About You completed the double for Mernagh with an upset win over favourite For Bill in the Grade 3 ITBA Fillies Scheme EBF Dawn Run Mares Novice Chase.

Eight-year-old mare Aura About You, like Golden Sunbird, trained by Paul Nolan, raced handily and led at the last to hold off runner-up For Bill (by Presenting) by three lengths.

Aura About You was a close fourth to Hurricane Fly in the Royal Bond Novice Hurdle in November 2008 and finished third to Quevega in the David Nicholson Mares' Hurdle in the following spring.

Aura About You is by deceased former champion jumps sire Supreme Leader and out of the winning Strong Gale mare Windswept Lady, making her a half-sister to multiple jumps winners Pass It On, Comehomequietly and Its Teescomponents, and a sister to bumper and hurdle winner Winsdwept Leader.

Supreme Leader died in 2002 but several of his later progeny have entries at Cheltenham this week - including Albert Bartlett Novices Hurdle hope Aughaloor and handicap chase entries Can't Buy Time, Den Of Iniquity and the aptly named Lastoftheleaders.





Galileo £11,597,622
Dark Angel £3,704,206
Dubawi £3,194,696
Frankel £2,708,934
Kodiac £2,231,181
Acclamation £2,090,548
Iffraaj £2,067,853
Sea The Stars £1,923,734
Nathaniel £1,880,694
Invincible Spirit £1,699,882