Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Busy week’s racing this week in Ireland


Tom Red

Friday evening sees racing at Cork, a mixed card, starting at 5.55. On Saturday racing is at headquarters on the Curragh with the first race at 2.30 and on the all-weather at Dundalk with a 2.45 start. Sunday racing is again at headquarters with first race off at 2.05 and in the west at the Cleveragh in Sligo they go to post at 2.55.  

  Believe it or not last Friday’s racing was abandoned at Wexford due to water logging as was the Gowran Park card on Sunday. The Irish summer strikes again.

  The Wexford card is refixed for Friday starting at 5.35 with 4 hurdle races 2 flat and a bumper and the Gowran Park meeting will now be run on the 5th August.

Roscommon’s Listed Lenebane Stakes:

 In nice weather last Monday the most competitive contest in the 3-year history of The Lenebane Listed Stakes took place with 14 runners going to post and the race was dominated by fillies.

  John Oxx’s Raydiya made all, pillar to post, under Niall McCullagh and she should stay further. In the heavy ground McCullagh was pushing her from 3 out but she kept pulling more and deservedly won from the 4-Y-O Arkadina and Honoria by ¾l and 1¾l with the winners more fancied stable mate Simawa a head back in 4th under Mick Kinane. The 3-Y-O filly is tough and appeared suited by these tactics, and will handle any ground.  

   Both the runner-up Arkadina, trained by David Wachman and ridden by Johnny Murtagh and the 3rd home Honoria from Aiden O’Brien’s stable and ridden by S Levey were a bit unlucky not getting the clearest of runs but both stayed on well up the hill and with luck could have given the winner more to do and will gain compensation soon.

  Watch the English challenger Silk Affair, who finished 6th, trained in Newmarket by Mick Quinlan for Galway patrons later this month at Ballybrit.

  The opening 2-Y-O maiden looked beforehand, by Roscommon standards, a hot race and it certainly lived up to its promise with Luminous Eyes making full use of the draw under Pat Smullen and Dermot Weld’s charge won at generous odds of 10/1 from the Aiden O’Brien trained Johnny Murtagh ridden odds on favourite Drumbeat with Tommy Stack’s Thecreditcrunchie in 3rd under Billy Lee. 

  From this race keep an eye on another newcomer Again from David Wachman’s yard who got into trouble when challenging and should have been placed.

  The 2½ mile Novice Hurdle sponsored by the Abbeyfield Hotel Conference and Leisure Centre Ballaghaderreen was won in style by Our Eric trained in Slanemore outside Mullingar by Cecil Ross for The Motley Crew Syndicate who are from around Moate with Sebadee 2nd and Flamenco Prince 3rd.

  The Super Valu Handicap Hurdle over 2½ miles fell to the well fancied JP McManus owned Francis Flood trained Shot Of The Day ridden by Mark Walsh.

  The bumper over 2 miles sponsored by Denbren Homes of Ballybane, Galway had the biggest shock of the day when Dr Proctor, a 4-Y-O full horse, won at 25/1 for Pat Kelly, who trains in Athenry, and ridden by his 19-year-old son Tony, his first winner on a track.  

  Eoin Griffin and Ruby Walsh teamed up to land the maiden hurdle with the hot favourite Lucky Wish and the 7f handicap for fillies was won by the strongly fancied Ghostmilk at 7/2f.

  The tote returns for the day were up nearly €43,000 on last year and the betting with the bookmakers takings up nearly €150,000. This was one of the first meetings in recent times, including the Curragh, to show increases of this size. Well done to course manager Michael Finneran and his staff. 

  Monday was also Ladies Day and the competition for the Best Dressed Lady is covered elsewhere in the paper.

  The weather was great for Monday and as a result racing also took place on Tuesday against all odds. Michael, you must have taken our advice last week and put out the Infant of Prague under a hedge on Sunday night!

Roscommon Day 2

Tuesday saw a local trained winner when I’m A Witness, trained in Ballygar by David Kelly for Patrick Dervan from Longford town, pulled out all the stops to win a thrilling three-way battle in the Tote Telebet Hurdle. David Kelly was delighted afterwards as the horse would be getting over 20lb from most of the runners in a handicap.

  Claiming jockey Ian McCarthy gave the gelding a super ride and challenged leader Dosco at the second-last flight in this three-mile conditions contest. Then he had to contain the renewed challenge of Dosco and the eventual runner up Keaveney from Willie Mullin’s yard, back on a track for the first time in over 2 years, by ½l and a neck.  

  Also on Tuesday after Covie Lad had won the Maiden Hurdle there were scenes of unbridled joy in the parade ring as the 10 members of the NSW Syndicate, all from Moycullen in Co. Galway, and a lot of their friends welcomed home the winner in Cheltenham style. The 6-Y-O American bred Royal Anthem gelding is trained in Craughwell, Co. Galway by Ger Lynch. The winner was bought out of Michael Flannery’s Ballinrobe stable after winning his point to point at Laurencetown in April. The winner with 5lb-claimer Alan Cawley in the saddle battled well to beat The Bay Lad 2 ½l with Nell’s Oscar 12l back in 3rd. 

  In the bumper, won by Gortnahulla, there was a totally different scene when owner trainer Paddy Quinlan led in his winner Gortnahulla, ridden by his daughter Danni, who was riding her first winner on a track out of 6 rides all on Gortnahulla. 

  The tote takings for the two days was over €200,000 and the bookmakers’ take topped €1m, a welcome change for the racing industry in the present climate.

  It is great to see that the committee has now invested in a mirror for the photo finish camera giving the judge a reverse look at the horses as they cross the line. This is a very welcome addition to Roscommon track and was used for the first time on Monday, well done to all. 

  There were a few complaints about the black and white card on Tuesday but with racing very doubtful the manager made a decision which in the event of racing being canceled would have saved the track over €1,800 and the card was sold at a reduced rate of €2.50, a saving of 50 cent. While on about costs there were favourable comments about the cost of racing at Lenebane being only €13 compared to the normal of €15 at most courses.  

The Curragh’s Darley Oaks 

On Saturday there are 2 Group 3 races at headquarters – The Keenland Minstrel Stakes over 7f and The Keenland International stakes over 1m 1f. 

  At time of writing there are 18 fillies left in Sunday’s Darley Irish Oaks, worth over €280,000, headed by Aiden O’Brien’s Moonstone, second in the Epsom Oaks behind Look Here. O’Brien has confirmed that Moonstone will run, as will Ice Queen. Gentle On My Mind and Adored of the 7 he has entered.  

  Silk Affair who also ran in Roscommon Listed Lenebane Stakes is also entered by Newmarket based Mick Quinlan. Moonstone has most to fear from John Oxx’s Katiyra and the Jim Bolger pair Prime Luce and Ard Feis. Moonstone should give Ballydoyle their 13 Group 1 winner of the year in the quest for 26 and a world record. In 2001 O’Brien trained 23 but American trainer Bobby Frankel trained 26 in 2003.

Ladies day at Kilbeggan  

Next Friday week, the 18th of July, racing returns to the midlands track of Kilbeggan with the feature race the Ladbrokes Midlands National run over and worth €50,000. The card will be dealt with in more detail next week. Admission on day is €15 for adults, €10 for OAPs and students and children under 14 are free.

  Friday is also Ladies Day and the competition for Kilbeggan’s Best Dressed Lady is sponsored by the Athlone Town Centre with a prize of a €3,000 and 2 nights in the Athlone Sheraton Hotel for the best dressed lady. TV3 Expose Celebrity Karen Koster will be judging chairperson and the winner will be selected from the 15 best dressed ladies chosen on the day

General news

Ballydoyle’s Soldier of Fortune and Jim Bolger’s New Approach will not run in Ascot’s King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes later this month.  Ballydoyle have the odds-on ante-post favourite Duke Of Marmalade still in at latest forfeit stage. 

  Tom Malone, who did the commentary at Lisbride point to point in 2006 is back in Ireland after five and a half years with Martin and David Pipe. 

  Malone spent a year with Philip Hobbs before he joined the Pipes and rode 73 winners in Britain. He has been commentating on Irish point-to-points at the weekend and appears on At The Races as an on-course pundit and intends to expand his media work.
  He will be riding out for Gordon Elliott, Paul Flynn and Shane Kelly and hopes to get his career as a jockey up and running again. 

Competition!! competition!!

This week there are 3 pairs of tickets to Kilbeggan on Friday week, compliments of the track manager Paddy Dunican and worth €30, to give away and to win please let us know: Who sponsors the Midlands National? 

  Answers in writing to The Roscommon People, The Harrison Centre, Roscommon by close of business on Thursday 17th July or by e-mail to horses.forcourses@yahoo.com. Don’t forget to include a contact telephone number and the winners can arrange to collect their tickets at the paper’s office on Friday 18th July.