On Sunday racing opened with The Budweiser Maiden and a win for the David Wachman trained Speechmaker in the hands of claimer Micky Cleere by one length and one and a half lengths from Valbucca and Total Reality.
The second race a handicap over 1m 2f was won by the Jessica Harrington-trained Cabin Point from Strandfield Lady and Lynott. The seven-year-old was providing the New Zealand 19-year-old champion apprentice James McDonald with his first winner in Ireland. James did not have to wait too long for his second win, as in the next race, Property Partners Earley’s Handicap, he brought home the Eddie Harty-trained Tovaria half a length and a short head in front of Holyrood and Zarainava in one of the best finishes of the day.
In the last flat race on the card Sean Levey had an easy win on Patrick Tallis’s Cannot Give in the Roscommon Herald Handicap winning by one and three quarter lengths and the same from Playdate and Facinating Paddy.
In the first of the three national hunt races, the Dermot Hughes Toyota Sales Novice Chase, the Charlie Swan-trained Tribes And Banner had a facile win in the hands of Denis Hogan by two and a half lengths from Echo Bob with Grand Opera a further half length away in third. In the following handicap chase over 3m, the Charles Byrnes-trained Alpha Beat pulled off a touch winning by seven lengths and 13l from the Adrian Murray-trained Leney Dow Jones and Casadei. The winner was backed from 8/1 to 9/2.
Finally in the bumper Jessie Harrington completed a Flat/National Hunt training double this afternoon when Greenbelt Star took the Ladies Day At Roscommon on July 5th Flat Race ridden by Mark Fahy, winning by 2½l and 5l from Point The Toes and Har Will. The best turned out in each race was sponsored by Jimmy Murray, Rahara, Roscommon.
On Monday, again a mixed card, started off with a locally owned winner when Strandhill, trained by Brian Nolan and ridden by Chris Hayes, survived a stewards enquiry to get punters off to a good start winning the opening Irish Stallion Farms EBF Fillies Maiden, holding off Ultra Cool by a head with New Atlanta one and a half lengths away in third. The winner is owned by Jim and Mary Halligan from Longford and they also bred the filly.
Jessica Harrington, better known for horses over jumps, won the second race, the EBF Maiden, with Roicead by one length and three quarters of a length from Multamaleg and Green Art. Declan McDonogh on board the Prunella Dobbs-trained Gagnant won the Ladies Day At Roscommon On July 5th Handicap from Blue Law and Mrs Batt completing the flat section of the card.
Magnum Force was a surprise winner of the first race over the obstacles, the Pyramid Bookmakers Hurdle, beating the favourite Grey Soldier who made a mistake at the last. The winner trained by Colin McBrathney and ridden by Andrew McNamara, won by one and three quarters lengths with the same distance to Decoy Daddy back in third.
Shane Butler, after a long layoff, returned to the winners’ enclosure aboard the Seamus Fahy-trained Echua in the maiden hurdle by eight lengths and one and a quarter lengths from Flying Ensign and Royalfolie.
Declan McDonagh’s father Des, of Monksfield fame, made it a family double when training the winner of the 2m handicap hurdle Cothrom Na Feinne. The runner up was Wikalla, six lengths back with West Route third another one and a half lengths away. In the two and a half mile handicap hurdle Andrew J McNamara completed a double aboard the Eddie O’Grady trained Rare Commodity
The best turned out in each race was sponsored locally once again thanks to Shane, Mary and all in Regan’s Bar & Lounge, The Square, Roscommon.
This weekend racing starts at Tipperary this evening at 5.55 pm with a card featuring all-jump racing and on the level at Leopardstown, first off 6.05 pm where in the Bulmers Live Music evenings, Mundy and his Big Band play after racing. Tomorrow evening sees the start of the Down Royal Summer Racing Festival with an all national card at 5.45 pm and also at Limerick where there is a flat card, which includes a bumper, starting at 5.55 pm. Saturday sees the second day at Down Royal with racing on the level starting at 2.15 pm. On Sunday the final day of the Down Royal Summer Festival is on the flat and first is off at 2.15 pm and also at Gowran Park there are six hurdle races and a bumper starting at 2.35 pm. Monday evening sees racing at Kilbeggan over the sticks as always and on Tuesday racing is in the west in Mayo at Ballinrobe.
Friday evening sees the Galway Plate Trial, won last year by Ballyholland who went on to win the Plate in Galway. This year this race is sponsored by The Tote, as is the Galway Plate itself. On Saturday there is an all-flat card featuring the Ulster Derby sponsored by Specsavers and worth €70,000. On Sunday there is again a flat card this time featuring the Coolmore Stud Ulster Oaks.
As I am on holidays, last week’s winners will be announced in next weeks column in our Galway Plate Competition sponsored by Tote Ireland where two lucky readers will receive a €10 Tote voucher and a ticket to Galway Races on Plate Day. The answer to last week’s question was ‘nothing’ as membership is free.
To be one of the qualifiers this week, which horse won the 2009 Down Royal Galway Plate Trial at Down Royal and the Galway Plate, both sponsored by The Tote this year, last year? Answers please on a postcard to The Roscommon People, Abbey Street Roscommon or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org by midday, Wednesday 23rd June. Don’t forget to include your name, address and a contact phone number. Only one entry allowed per person or email address.
The winners of our Roscommon Ticket Competition were Anthonine Winston, Roscommon, Maura McGrath, Mountbellew and Declan Dillon. Hope you all had an enjoyable and profitable two days.