Friday, 27 March 2015

Lots to watch at Kilbeggan


Tom Red

This weekend racing starts this afternoon as the four-day Killarney Summer Festival winds up with a 2.45 pm off. Later at Leopardstown there is a flat card and the first off at 6 pm and there is music after racing by the Dublin group Director compliments of ‘Bulmers Live at Leopardstown’ promotion.

Tomorrow, Friday, starting at 5.45 pm there is an all-jump card at Kilbeggan, featuring the Gigginstown Midlands National. Saturday sees day racing on the level at Tipperary starting at 2.15 pm. On Sunday, starting at 2.45 pm there is the second day at Tipp when there is racing over both minor and major obstacles first off at 2.15 pm. There is also racing on the flat at Fairyhouse at 2.25 pm, the feature of which is the Belgrave Listed Stakes over 6f and worth €42,500. On Monday the two-day Ballinrobe Racing Festival kicks off in the west with four flat races, two chases and a bumper and day two on Tuesday features three flat races and four hurdle races on a mixed card with both cards off at 5.40 pm. 

  At Kilbeggan tomorrow for you many beautiful ladies who missed out on a prize at Roscommon on Monday, there is Ladies Day with prizes valued over €2,000 and sponsored by the fashion shop Khan and as in Roscommon there will be Jacobs Creek goody bags for all the finalists. Judges on the day will be Triona McCarthy of TV3 and Sunday Independent fame and top Irish designer Rachel Mackey.

On the racing front, Michael O’Leary sponsors one of the top summer chases, the Midland National, under the wing of his equine interests The Gigginstown Stud. This year’s race will be run over the distance of 2m 6f and is worth €50,000. One to note in this race is the 2008 winner Piano Star and he has 2 lb less to carry this year and rarely runs a bad race on this track.

With over €100,000 in prize money and five sponsored races, this meeting could potentially be the best in Kilbeggan’s long history. While racing commenced on this track in 1840, this year they are celebrating the 130th anniversary of the first official meeting in 1879.

Racing starts with a maiden hurdle sponsored by Dunvale Fabrications Ltd, Edenderry over two miles, followed by Tom McCormack Memorial Cup Maiden Hurdle over 2m 6f. Tom McCormack was Secretary of the Race Committee from 1968 to 1988. The Scanlon Bar and Restaurant handicap hurdle over 3m is sponsored by Byrne Group. The 2m 3f handicap hurdle is sponsored Colm Quinn BMW Dealer, Athlone, and the novice chase sponsored by the European Breeders Fund. Tom McCormack was Secretary of the Race Committee from 1968 to 1988 and contributed very much to the success of the races. Racing ends at 9.05 pm with the Mullingar INH Bumper over 2m 3f. Westmeath County GAA also have their annual fund raising day on the track and a good evening’s entertainment is guaranteed for all.

Looking back to last weekend and the Irish Oaks, Michael Bell’s filly Sariska proved that she is one of the best fillies around, capable of acting on any ground, winning snugly by 3l and 4½l from the John Oxx-trained Roses For The Lady, with Fran Berry in the saddle and Midday, second in the Epsom Oaks, in third. One disappointing note was the childishness of jockey Spencer waving at Fran Berry as he passed Roses For The Lady, unacceptable even if he is very friendly with Fran Berry.

Falling from a prancer

Fallers and jockey injuries are not limited to jump racing as can be seen when at Ayr last when Balwearie slipped and caused a pile up. There was no injury to any of the horses but jockey Joe Fanning suffered a fractured collar bone and is out for a few weeks. The incident happened as the field rounded the last bend into the finishing straight and seven of the 12 runners came to grief. As a result all three races on this bend have been abandoned next Monday and there will be an all-sprint card.

Galway’s Ballybrit Festival is now just over one week away and this week the fields for the Galway Plate and Galway hurdle were released. There are 61 horses entered in the Galway Hurdle and the ante post favourite is the Paul Nicholls-trained Classic Swain, formerly trained in France by Andre Fabre. The home team is headed by John Kiely’s 2008 winner Indian Pace looking to retain the crown. He is joined by the Willie Mullins pair Sesenta and Dutchschland along with last year’s runner up Eagle Pass from the Thomond O’Mara yard. 

In the Galway Plate there are 62 entries and top weight is the Willie Mullins-trained Deutschland. Mullins, who has never won this race, also has entered Bother Na and recent Listowel winner Jasmin D’Oudairies. Last year’s winning trainer Paul Nicholls has two horses entered, Roby de Cimbre and Hoo La Baloo.

And for those of you getting ready for Galway, remember Ladies Day is on Thursday, Hurdle Day, and there is a prize fund of over €13,500 with a Lancome Goody Bag for all the finalists. There is also a daily Race Card competition with the prizes being sponsored by seven of the top hotels in and around Galway. And finally the Tote will have a draw in the parade ring every day after the fifth race and to enter put your name and phone number on the back of all losing tote tickets to win some wonderful prizes.

The leading Jockey Awards will again be sponsored by Rooney Auctioneers of Galway and the leading Trainer Award will be sponsored by Channelle Veterinary Products of Loughrea. Next week we will look in detail at the racing for the first half of the week.

Win tickets to


Your last chance to win as we continue our competition for three pairs of tickets for Kilbeggan on Friday, July 17th, when the feature will be the Midlands National worth €32,500 and is also Ladies Day. To win this prize please let us know where the Midland National will be run on the 17th July? Answers on a postcard to Roscommon People, Harrison Centre, Roscommon or by email to by close of business today, Thursday 16th July, and don’t forget to include a contact phone number and the winners can pick up their tickets at the office tomorrow the 17th July.