Horses for Courses
There are no point to point meeting in the North this weekend and there are two meetings scheduled for Sunday at Lisronagh between Cashel and Clonmel in Co Tipperary where the first race was scheduled for noon but due to the high entry the first will now take place at 11 am and in Boulta, east of Fermoy in Co Cork, where the meeting is scheduled to start half an hour later at 11.30 pm.
On Saturday jockey Simon McGonigle, with Gordon Elliott, retired from riding after a long career that began with his first winner, Yes Boss, at Ballon in 1997 when the runner up was ridden by no lesser a light than John Cullen. Best wishes to Simon in his retirement and his job as Head Lad to Gordon Elliott. Simon went out on a high winning the winners of 3 on the Flying Pencil, 3rd recently at Rockfield. Second in the title race Jamie Codd made the journey from Wexford pay off with one winner aboard the newcomer Niki Royal for Barry Potts.
On Sunday champion jockey Derek O’Connor made the journey to Dromahane in Cork where he completed a double aboard Eugene O’Sullivan’s Giveabobback in the 5-Y-O Maiden and Sean Aherne’s Bargyman in the older horses maiden. Meanwhile at Lingstown Jamie Codd stayed in touch with a double also on Willie Codd’s Lowparklad in the 4-Y-O maiden and Aidan Fitzgerald’s MagWalsh in the mares’ maiden
At Killashee on Sunday Kevin Power rode the winner of the first for Gordon Elliott in the 4-Y-O Maiden before rushing off to Navan where he again rode a winner in the bumper aboard Catcherinthescrather for Eddie Hales. Also at Killashee 19 year old Darragh Lambe, a young lad from Mullingar, celebrated his first visit to the winners enclosure in the Open on only his third ride between the flags aboard the 7-Y-O mare Bourbon Ellie when the pair came with a late run to beat The Outlier and Mattock Ranger by 1l and 3l.
Darragh finished 4th on the mare in Rockfield behind Top Twig and works with David Kelly in Doranstown Stables in Ballygar. David owns and trains the mare which he bought from Nigel Slevin. Darragh, who lives in Tremane outside Roscommon, is from a non-racing background and started riding out with Dot Love at the Charlestown Stud outside Mullingar before moving west. He has also had only one ride in a bumper aboard Old Magic at Navan also for David Kelly.
Another to ride her first winner was Karen Ferris aboard Mr Bobo in the 2nd division of the older horses Maiden, confined to Novice Riders and Karen also trains the horse.
Racing this weekend took a hit as early as last Friday with the cancellation of the Wexford meeting scheduled for Saturday. Today racing takes place, with an all national hunt card, at Thurles starting at 12.45 pm. Friday sees racing on the all weather at Dundalk with stalls for the first opening at 6.30 pm. On Saturday the first of the two-day Fairyhouse Winter Festival takes place followed by Day 2 on Sunday.
The meeting at Fairyhouse on the 2nd December has also been abandoned and new fixtures have been allocated at Navan on Wednesday 1st December and Cork on Tuesday 14th December. The high-profile Fairyhouse winter meeting features three Grade 1 races on Sunday with the Royal Bond Novice Hurdle, the Drinmore Novice Chase and of course the Hatton’s Grace Hurdle. Saturday was to feature two Grade C handicaps one over flights of hurdles and the other over well packed birch fences, but the 3m 4f Porterstown Handicap Chase has been switched to Sunday and the Caffrey’s Bar & Restaurant Handicap Chase will now be run on Saturday.
There will be a maximum of 16 in all races but the limit will not have any affect on the three Grade 1 races on Sunday as there are 13 entries for the Hatton’s Grace Hurdle, ten are left in the Drinmore Novice Chase and only eight in the Royal Bond Novice Hurdle.
The Hatton’s Grace hurdle looks as if it will be the race of the meeting with Solwhit, Voler La Vedette and Donnas Palm the first three home in the Morgiana Hurdle at Punchestown earlier this month again locking horns with the possibility of Shinrock Paddy, Jumbo Rio, Hurricane Fly and English raider Peddlers Cross joining them.
On Wednesday after going to press David Kelly’s Doranstown Stables in Ballygar turned out Missgiloney at Limerick, four days after she finished second to Shamiran at Punchestown and it proved to be a fruitful decision as the mare ridden by regular partner Keith Clarke, beat Ruler Of All by 1¼l in the Adare Maiden Hurdle. Resolute Bay was 3l back in 3rd.
Imperial Commander put last year’s defeat in the Betfair Chase well and truly behind him as he held on to beat the fast finishing Tidal Bay by 1¼l with Planet of Sound 8l back in third place. He will now be aimed at the King George VI Chase on St Stephen’s Day where he will meet his Betfair Chase conqueror of last year, Kauto Star.
Master Minded finished 16l and 5l clear of Imsingingtheblues and Panjo Bere in the Grade 2 Amlin 1965 Chase at Ascot on Saturday. Second favourite Albertas Run came to grief three out giving AP McCoy his third fall of the afternoon. On Sunday at Navan Jack The Bus won the Troytown Handicap Chase with Alan Crowe on board. Trained Peter Casey and owned Seamus Murphy the 10-Y-O son of Old Vic beat Glenquest and Lochan Lacha by ¾ l and 6l.
The Nigel Twisten-Davies trained Hello Bud won the Becher Chase in Aintree completing a double for owner Murphy and this one was bred by Peter Casey, thus making it a big chase double for both men.
Aim for Aintree
The Dessie Hughes trained Black Apalachi, 2nd in this year’s John Smith Grand National has this year’s Aintree spectacular as his main aim and will return to action early in the New Year. While he failed to complete the course in the 2008 and 2009 race he did win The Beecher over the National fences in the 2008.