HORSES FOR COURSES
By TOM RED
The weekend racing starts this evening (Thursday) at the Cleveragh in Sligo with a full National Hunt card at 5.20. In Wexford tomorrow evening (Friday) there are four flat races and three NH races starting at 5.25 and on Saturday racing returns to the midlands with an all-jump card at Kilbeggan first off at 5.30. On Sunday there are two meetings at Downpatrick and Tipperary, with an all NH card featuring six hurdle races and a bumper in the north and an all-flat card in the south. Monday sees a return to the west with a mixed card at the beautiful Ballinrobe course off at 5.40 and featuring four flat races and three steeplechases.
On Saturday Kilbeggan host their Family Fun Evening featuring Live Music, Bouncing Castles, Obstacle Courses, Face Painting, Clowns, Children’s Disco Competitions, Children’s Karaoke & and loads of games for the kids. There is also another Best Dressed Lady Competition sponsored by Larcc with prizes worth over €3,500 for all you fashion aficionados and the judge is Rose of Tralee, Aoife Kelly.
The two feature races of the day are the FBD Insurance hurdle of €20,500 and the Hackett Bookmakers handicap steeplechase of €20,000. Tom Bermingham Menswear of Mullingar sponsors the bumper and the Joe Cooney Handicap Chase is sponsored by the Bank House family.
The Kieran Kelly Beginners Chase honours a great young jockey who tragically died after a fall in the handicap chase at this meeting in 2003. Kieran was attached to the Dessie Hughes stable and had won on Hardy Eustace in the Royal & Sun Alliance Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham that year. He was only 25 when he died. It is an excellent mixed card with 7 races, which will provide plenty of competitive racing, especially in the three chases and all at a cost of €15 for Adults, Discount for Groups and Children under 15 go free. You can still win tickets for this meeting in our competition below.
On Thursday, the Galway Hurdle was won by Bahrain Storm, owned by Galway native Paddy Sweeney, who has business interests in Roscommon, and trained in Waterford by Pat Flynn in the hands of Shane Gray.
Unfortunately our selection, Thomond O’Mara’s Eagle’s Pass, was hit by the flaying legs of Fingers who fell at the 2nd and he received a number of gashes and required stitching after the race.
Willie Mullins’s Deutschland off bottom weight and with Ruby Walsh on board could only finish runner-up 6l adrift and Lucky Wish was a further 5 ½ l away in 3rd.
Friday saw the local horses coming into form when firstly Kahuna trained in Taughmaconnell by Muredach Kelly won the Guinness Handicap Chase with Andrew Thornton in the plate. The horse runs in Sligo this evening and even under top weight should go in again. Then in the next race, the feature Arthur’s Day Premier Handicap, Drunken Sailor ridden by Padraig Beggy and trained in Longford by Paul Flynn for publican James Keogh held on by a fast diminishing neck from Rajik who finished under a strong drive from Mick Kinane. Taralga was a further 1 ¼ l behind in 3rd.
Paddy Sweeney’s Bahrain Storm became the first horse to double up on the week when winning the last race, a 1m 6f flat race, by under Gary Carroll from Bashkirov and De Valira, adding to his Galway Hurdle triumph. Trainer Pat Flynn thinks he will aim the horse at the Irish and English Champion Hurdles next spring.
The run of luck for the locally owned horses continued on Saturday when Paco Jack, owned by Christopher Beirne from Ballinameen and trained by Joe Crowley, Aidan O’Brien’s father-in-law, won the Blazers Handicap Chase under Grand National winning jockey Robbie Power. The feature the Freshways Handicap Hurdle went to the outsider Island Myth trained by Noel Glynn in Clare and ridden by Ian McCarthy at odds of 50/1.
Sunday saw yet another winner with local connections when recent Roscommon winner Young Lochinvar won again in the Caulfield Industrial Handicap for Tom Bailey from Boho near Ballintober. The 5-Y-O is trained in Maynooth by John Carr, of Sublimity fame, and was ridden by Colm O’Donoghue.
Fit The Cove became the second horse to win twice at the festival when he added the Centenary Handicap to his win on Thursday in the Guinness Time Handicap. The 9-Y-O is trained by Harry Rogers and was ridden on Thursday by Danny Mullins and on Sunday by Willie Supple.
The last race of the week, one of the best winners bumpers that will be seen this year and it went to the Henry de Bromhead trained Loosen My Load all the way up from Waterford and was ridden by the punters favourite Nina Carberry.
It was a memorable Galway for the father and son team of Tony and Danny Mullins who combined for memorable success in the Tote Galway Mile European Breeders Fund Handicap with Rock and Roll Kid last week in Galway. Tony was a guest panelist on the Roscommon Lions Cheltenham Preview night this year.
In the annual leading Jockey Awards, sponsored by Rooney Auctioneers of Galway Pat Smullen leads on the flat and Ruby Walsh over the jumps both riding 4 winners. Each jockey was presented with a cheque for € 2,000 and a Galway Crystal Trophy. The Leading Trainer Award sponsored by Channelle Veterinary Products of Loughrea was once more won by Dermot Weld with 8 winners, for an unbelievable 23rd time.
Well done to Michael Finneran and his team of workers who presented the course at Lenebane in fine condition considering the appalling weather suffered last week. Racing took place against the odds and an enjoyable day was had by all attending in fine weather. To put the achievement in perspective on the same day across the Irish Sea the cards at both Chepstow, after 2 races, and Catterick, after 5 races, were abandoned due to waterlogging.
Water Side, trained in Co Mayo by Michael Flannery sprang a surprise in the opening race the Boyle Handicap winning by 3 ½ l and ½ l from Thistimesforgood and Boynagh Joy. Ridden by Colm O’Donoghue, the 10-Y-O had only won once before in Tramore over a mile in 2005.
Johnny Murtagh has a 25% strike rate in Lenebane and duly won on his only ride, Estephe in the Ballygar Maiden. The Tommy Stack trained daughter of Sadler’s Wells was all out to win the 10-furlong event by a head from the Joanna Morgan trained Livaleo with Stir On The Sea beaten another 19l in 3rd. Murtagh kicked on early and was passed by Livaleo who got his head in front but Estephe battled back to get the verdict in the shadow of the post.
Surprise Vendor owned by Anne Derwin from Athlone and trained in Templemore by Leslie Young won the Railway Bar 3-Y-O Maiden Hurdle the first juvenile hurdle of the year. The horse was the only winner in the field, beating Spinning Wings who had won half an hour earlier, and came to the last traveling well for Ruby Walsh and went on to win by 3l from Ravati with Golan Go a further 7l back in 3rd. The runner-up is one for the notebook having got back into the race after being hampered an left over 20l at the start.
The next meeting at Lenebane is on Monday the 17th August and we have a competition for there pairs of tickets below.
Roscommon has been scheduled for nine meetings in 2010 in the fixtures list published last week starting on the 17th of May and finishing on the 27th September. Kilbeggan have been given starting fixtures, starting on May Day and finishing on 3rd September. The Galway Festival will start on the 26th July and finish on the 1st August.
Aidan O’Brien’s son Joseph showed that his talent in the saddle is not limited to the racecourse when in Belgium on Monday the 16-year-old won an individual eventing bronze medal behind Germany’s gold medal winner Jule Wewer and local competitor Pieter Kenis who took the silver in the European Pony Championships in Moorsele was only denied his first Group 1 success aboard Air Chief Marshal when he finished second to stable companion Alfred Nobel at the Curragh last month and will concentrate on race-riding having had five wins from 51 rides this season.
Istrabraq was voted Ireland’s favourite horse of the last 25 years beating Dawn Run, Moscow Flyer, Danoli, Vintage Crop and Limestone Lad as part of The Big Horse Painting competition in the Irish Field.
The winners of last week’s competition for tickets to Lenebane were Joseph O’Beirne, Hill Street, Bernie Keegan, Athlone and Paddy McDermott, Ballintober and well done to all – remembering that if you’re not in you can’t win.
Your last chance to win three pairs of tickets for Kilbeggan on Saturday and to win we want to know which horse won this year’s Gigginstown Midland National at Kilbeggan, repeating his 2008 win? Answers on a postcard to The Roscommon People, Harrison Centre, Roscommon or by email to email@example.com by Thursday evening 6th August and don’t forget to include a contact phone number and the winners can pick up their tickets at the office on Friday the 7th August.
This week we continue our competitions and we have three pairs of tickets to give away for Roscommon Races on Monday 17th August and to win we want to know what is the name of the racecourse in Roscommon? Answers on a postcard to The Roscommon People, Harrison Centre, Roscommon or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org by Friday 14th August and don’t forget to include a contact phone number and the winners can pick up their tickets at the office on the following Monday.