This weekend racing starts at Leopardstown this evening on the flat with the first off at 6 pm and there is national hunt racing at 5.45 pm at Tipperary and tomorrow there is a flat card at the Navan starting at 5.50 pm and a national hunt card at Cork first off at 5.40 pm. On Saturday there is racing on the flat at headquarters The Curragh with first off at 5.30 pm.
Roscommon, with an all flat card starting at 2.25 pm shares Sunday with Wexford’s all jump meeting first off at 2.35 pm. On Monday Roscommon completes its two-day June festival starting at 5.45 with a jumping card.
Hopefully we saw the last of the postponements of racing due to weather when Listowel’s Saturday meeting had to be postponed to Tuesday.
Epsom Oaks and Derby
This weekend sees the premier classics in England, on Friday the Oaks will be run and the Derby on Saturday on Epsom Downs.
On Friday there are 12 fillies going to post with only two Irish challengers Jim Bolger’s Oh Goodness Me and Ballydoyle’s Perfect Truth. Both will be at the pin of their collars to beat the home team headed by Michael Bell’s Sariska and John Gosden’s Rainbow View who lead the market. Sir Michael Stoute runs the maiden Phillipina who is third in the market and it looks a three-horse race. The value might be Phillipina who will improve for her run, second to Perfect Truth at Chester over 1m 3f.
Aidan O’Brien has six horses left in Saturday’s Derby at Epsom. Rip Van Winkle is Johnny Murtagh’s choice at time of writing. Fame And Glory, Age Of Aquarius, Black Bear Island, Golden Sword and Masterofthehorse in a total of 13 colts were left in the race which include Jim Bolger’s Gan Amhras, John Oxx’s Sea The Stars who is looking to emulate Nashwan’s feat in 1989 by adding the Derby to the 2,000 Guineas.
The home challenge is most likely to be led by Godolphin’s Kite Wood and Brian Meehan’s Crowded House, and backed up by Jeremey Gosden’s Debussy, Mick Channon’s Montaff and William Haggas’s South Easter. Johnny Murtagh may have got it wrong again as Black Bear Island, who will be ridden by former English champion Ryan Moore, won at York after a rough passage in Longchamp where he was third, but both may have to give way to Sea The Stars with Mick Kinane in the plate.
Family Day at Lenebane
Sunday is Family Day at Lenebane and there is a special admission price of €25 for two adults with children under 14. There will be free ice free cones for children who come early, plus bouncing castle, slide, sumo suits, gladiator duel and face painting.
Also Michael Finneran and his committee are introducing free pony rides for the children. The first race is off at 2.25 pm. Parents can enjoy a day of top class racing while the kids enjoy themselves. Well done to the committee and remember today’s kids are tomorrow’s supporters and the earlier you create in them the love of a sport, any sport, the better.
The first two races are 7f maidens, one for fillies and one for colts and geldings, and are sponsored by the European Breeders Fund. The third race on the card is a 7f handicap for 4-Y-O+. Dermot Hughes Motors sponsor the 1m 2f handicap and Budweiser the maiden over the same distance. Property Partners Earley Auctioneers sponsor the 1m 4f handicap for 3-Y-O+ and finally the Roscommon Herald sponsor a 1m 4f handicap for 4-Y-O+. A fine card with something for everyone.
Then on Monday the card consists of all national hunt racing starting with a maiden hurdle over 2m followed by the Red Mills handicap hurdle and The Abbey Hotel Conditions Hurdle both over the minimum distance. The fourth race is a handicap hurdle over 2m 4f sponsored by Sherry Fitzgerald P Burke Auctioneers followed by two chases, a novice chase over 2m sponsored by Pyramid Bookmakers and a 3m handicap sponsored by Kepak Athleague. The bumper over 2m as usual brings down the curtain on the meeting.
Red Hot racing
On Sunday at Kilbeggan Willie Mullin’s enjoyed a treble when David Casey won on Otay Kawn and Red Vinto and son Patrick kicked home the bumper winner Red Hot Poker. Local owner Robert Bagnall and sponsor, won the handicap hurdle with the Noel Meade trained Rocheford Bridge.
In the locally sponsored Bloomfield House Hotel Hurdle Willie Mullins provided the winner Otay Kawn with David Casey in the saddle as advised last week.
Last Thursday evening another O’Brien made his first mark in Irish racing when JP O’Brien rode his first winner at Leopardstown on Johann Zoffany trained by his father Aiden O’Brien. Joseph’s mother is Ann Marie Crowley a successful jockey in her own right and daughter of trainer Joe Crowley.
Vincent O’Brien remembered
Last Monday saw the passing of the most famous legend in Irish racing, Dr Vincent O’Brien, at the age of 92.
Born in County Cork he trained six-horses to win the Epsom Derby, won three Aintree Grand Nationals, four Cheltenham Gold Cups, three with Cottage Rake, the Champion Hurdle three years in succession with Hatton’s Grace and three Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe races. He trained 27 Irish Classic winners, 16 English Classic winners in his lifetime. His achievements in both racing codes earned him the accolade of the greatest racing figure of all time in a Racing Post poll in 2003.
We extend our sympathies to his wife Jacqueline, his sons David and Charles, daughters Elizabeth, Susan and Jane and all his family and friends. May he rest in peace.
Husband and wife winners
Last weekend Derek O’Connor continued on his merry way with four more winners at the opening evening meeting at Kinsale on Saturday where there were nine races.
He won on Commander Mac and Leitra House for trainer Robert Tyner along with Jasmodan for Eoghan O’Grady and Humphrey Bee for Brian Hassett. In the open for lady riders, Liz Lalor had to settle for second on last week’s winner The Fox’s Frolic behind Nina Carberry who rode the 13-Y-O Where Now for John Queally.
On Sunday Where Now won again under Derek O’Connor in the Open who was also completing a double having won the opener on Louis Pasteur. On Monday, in a record equalling 15 race card, Derek O’Connor again had a double winning on Estates Recovery and Present To You at Ballingarry, giving him eight for the weekend.
At Ballingarry on Sunday there were 12 races and in the second division of the 5-Y-O Mares Maiden, Jennifer Pugh, having been earlier beaten on a short priced favourite Media News, drew level with Liz Lalor in the Ladies Championship when winning for the eighth time this season on Butler’s Storm owned and trained by Richard her husband.
Jennifer and Liz were in touch after this race and they decided to share the championship and give up riding for the last two meetings of the season. It just goes to show that comradeship and sportsman and ladyship still can be found in sport. This last happened on the double in 2002 when JT McNamara and Davy Russell ended the season early when both men reached 56, JT drawing level in the opening race at Ballingarry, in a postponed meeting on the 8th June.
At the same meeting a young man called Derek O’Connor, at his 4th attempt on the day, got the one race needed to tie for the Novice rider’s title with Mark Grant and neither rode again on the evening. In the last race on Sunday believe it or not Jennifer gave up her ride on Richard’s Rushane Lodge and it duly won under Clements who was the lucky one to pick up the spare ride.
Jennifer rode her first winner in the ladies Open in Necarne outside Irvinestown in Fermanagh in 2004 when on Matchmaker, owned by her father-in -law Derek, she beat Twotiming Gent ridden by her identical twin sister Jacqueline by a neck.
Liz Lalor finished second in 2006 with eight, when Clare McMahon won the Ladies Title by three in 2006. Well done to both ladies and they can now rest on their laurels until the defence of the title, which will start in late September or early October.
Derek O’Connor, after his weekend tally of eight winners, is on 113 for the season and only three short of JT McNamara’s all time record of 524 winners between the flags. Could he make more history on one of his local tracks at the trice postponed meeting at Laurencetown on Saturday and equal or even beat JT McNamara’s record? This meeting extends the season by a week. New entries are required and they close on Tuesday at 12 noon.
Roscommon’s two-day meeting is coming up on the 7th and 8th of June and we have three pairs of tickets available, as usual compliments of Manager Michael Finneran. Sunday sees Family Day with prizes galore for the kids.
To win please let us know on what day is Family Day 2009 at Lenebane? Answers on a postcard to Roscommon People, Harrison Centre, Roscommon or by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org by close of business today (Thursday) and don’t forget to include a contact phone number and the winners can pick up their tickets at the office on Friday the 5th.