Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Al Gunn’s blazing

Last week at Fairyhouse there was a winner bred and owned in the county town and trained across the border In Athlone by Tom Cleary. Miss Al Gunn won on her first run in a handicap in the Bobby Jo Bistro Handicap over 1m 2f.

The three-year-old filly was bred by Christy Tully at the Ardkeel Stud in Lisnamult where both, Saniwood, a Law Society mare and the unraced stallion Al Guns, by Darshann out of an Irish Oaks winner Bolas, stand. Christy bought the stallion out of Al Maktoum’s Darley Stud after he was injured and obtained the highly-strung mare in a swap deal. 

Ridden by the trainer’s son Rory, the filly won at generous odds of 20/1, from 33/1 and 25/1 morning prices, and local bookmakers are reported to have paid out handsomely after. The filly runs in Tom Cleary’s silks with the involvement of Christy, his brother Frank and Mark Doolan all of Roscommon Town. Tom said after the race that the Roscommon lads would love to win in Galway and that is where she may next appear but watch out for her at Sligo next week. She was finishing best of all and should stay 1m 4f. 

Summer meeting at Down Royal

This weekend racing starts at Leopardstown this evening on the flat with the first off at 5.55 pm and an all-national hunt card at Tipperary off at 5.45 pm. Tomorrow there is a flat card at the Limerick starting at 5.25 pm and the first of the three-day summer festival meeting at Down Royal, a mixed card first off at 5.45 pm. On Saturday there is racing on the level at Down Royal, featuring the Ulster Harp Derby, with first off at 2.20 pm. 

Gowran Park with a mixed card starting at 2.15 pm shares Sunday with the last day of the Down Royal Festival, also a mixed card, featuring the Coolmore Stud Ulster Oaks and the Galway Plate Trial Chase off at 2.30 pm. On Monday racing returns to the midlands at Kilbeggan starting at 5.45 pm with the usual all-jump card. Tuesday sees racing in the west with a meeting at The Cleveragh Racecourse in Sligo.

Believe it or not in mid June Tipperary officials have had to abandon today’s, (Thursday’s), two chase races due to wet weather and only after a second inspection at 3 pm yesterday was the go ahead given for the rest of the card. 

No such problems for Kilbeggan on Monday evening where the feature race is the €16,000 Carroll Cuisine Chase and in this race Iggy Madden’s owned and trained Air Of Confusion is the selection and he would not be winning out of turn, having been second recently at both Listowel and Clonmel. George Stanley’s Ballito, winner at Roscommon last week could also feature. 

The Genesis Handicap hurdle over 2m 3f is also worth €16,000 and last month’s course winner, locally owned by Robert Bagnall and trained by Noel Meade, should be all the rage. The Mullingar & North Westmeath Vintners Association and Tara Bottlers sponsor the T&V Novice Hurdle over three miles and last months course bumper winner Red Hot Poker trained by Willie Mullins should get the trip. 

Willie Mullins sends a team to Auteuil in France and he is hopeful rather than confident that Ruby Walsh will be fit to resume, after his layoff following a fall at Killarney last month, this weekend, after having the cast removed from his left ankle on Monday.

Willie Mullins saddles Cheltenham Festival winner Quevega in the French Champion Hurdle and Mourad will run in the Prix Alain du Breuil. Walsh, who fractured his left ankle in a fall at Killarney on May 10 will know today, Thursday, if he is able to resume riding this weekend.

Ascot calling

In St James’s Palace Stakes on the opening day, Tuesday, Mastercraftsman held off the challenge of Delegator winning the Group 1 race by a head with Lord Shanakill 1 ½ l back in third. The Irish 2,000 Guineas winner, trained by Aidan O’Brien and ridden by Johnny Murtagh, was headed by the Brian Meehan-trained runner-up but regained the lead in the shadow of the post, gaining sweet revenge for his defeat in the Newmarket 2000 Guineas.

Murtagh fell foul of the racing authorities again picking up a one-day ban for excessive use of the whip and later picked up an additional six days, five for careless riding on Kayf Aramis and another day for then failing to ride out on the same horse. Murtagh is considering appealing the six-day ban he picked up on Kayf Aramis as it will rule him out of riding in the Coral-Eclipse Stakes next month.

Richard Hughes, son of Irish trainer Dessie, landed a treble on opening day with Judgement Day in the Ascot Stakes for trainer Jane Chapple-Hyam, having won on Paco Boy in the Queen Anne Stakes and Canford Cliffs in the Coventry Stakes earlier in the day. 

It was a day full of international flavour as along with the Irish winner the second race the Kings Stand Group 1 race was won by Scenic Blast, trained in Australia by Daniel Morton and ridden by Stephen Arnold and the last race the Windsor Castle Listed race was won by Strike The Tiger trained in the US by Wesley Ward and ridden by John Velaquez. This was the first American trained winner at the Royal meeting.

While there few Irish runners and no Irish winners on day two, the international flavour continued yesterday when the Oliver Peslier’s French trained Eric Libaud-ridden Vision D’Etat won the Group 1 Prince of Wales Stakes from Tartan Bearer and Never On Sunday. Libaud brought Vision D’Etat from last to first getting the better of Tartan Bearer and Never On Sunday in a thrilling finish. 

Wesley Ward and John Velaquez, having broken Uncle Sam’s duck yesterday, won their second Royal Ascot race when the speedy Jealous Again broke quickly from the stalls and was never headed showing blistering speed to beat Misheer and Ceedwell. 

Johnny Murtagh rode Spacious for James Fanshaw to win the fillies Windsor Forest Stakes from Heaven Sent and Eva’s Request. The Pat Flynn trained She’s Our Mark finished fifth and Jim Bolger’s Lush Lashes, the favourite, finished a very disappointing sixth.

On a day when there were no Irish winners Johnny Murtagh kept the tri-colour flying when completing a double on Jermey Noseda’s Forgotten Voice in the Royal Hunt Cup winning from Huzzah and Mia’s Boy. The last, the Sandringham Stakes, was won by Michael Bell’s Moneycantbuymelove with Jamie Spence aboard from Golden Stream and Please Sing.

Yeats’ history bid

Aiden O’Brien trained Yeats Form will face a field of nine including Washington Irving and Hindu Kush, two former stablemates, three Godolphin representatives, Eastern Anthem, Sagara and Veracity, his old foe Geordieland, second in the last two running, Centennial and Patkai.

Yeats remains the 9-4 favourite with Patkai and Geordieland sharing second favouritism at 3-1. Watching this race last year was probably the first time I was emotional about a flat horse and I am looking forward to be even more so this year. We rarely see great flat horses trained on for three seasons, don’t mind seven seasons and Coolmore’s decision deserves to succeed. 

In what could turn out to be the best race of the week, all three of the year’s 1000 Guineas winners are set to clash in Friday’s Coronation Stakes with Newmarket heroine Ghanaati, Irish winner Again and Poule d´Essai des Pouliches winner Elusive Wave. A total of ten fillies have been declared for the Group 1 contest over a mile, including John Oxx’s Baliyana, Aiden O’Brien’s Heart Shaped, fourth in Newmarket and Again’s stablemate Chintz. J Gosden’s disappointing Rainbow View will attempt to get her season back on track.

Death of Tom Costello

County Clare trainer Tom Costello has died aged 77. Tom, who had a great eye for a horse, bought and sold on six winners of the Cheltenham Gold Cup including three-time winner Best Mate to Henrietta Knight and Terry Biddlecombe and passed away in a Limerick hospital following a stroke suffered last Friday.

Tom will be a huge loss to his family, wife Josephine and five sons John, Tom, Adrian, Dermot and Tony and to the racing industry and we extend our sympathy to his family and friends. The Clareman was best known for his astute buying and selling of horses but did win The Irish Grand National in 1973 with Tartan Ace ridden by the late Jackie Cullen. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam.

New racecourse

This evening, years of planning and hard work will be rewarded in South Wales, as Ffos Las, Britain’s newest turf racecourse for over 80 years, races in front of a full house of 10,000 people.

  Located between the villages of Llanelli and Carmarthen to the west of Swansea the track is the brainchild of local businessman Dai Walters who hopes to win the first race with his Ffos Las Diamond, trained by Nicky Henderson and ridden by Tony McCoy. Best of luck to him and he would surely deserve it but fairytales rarely happen in the real world.


Kilbeggan races will be back in action on Monday and again and you still have a chance to win one of three pairs of tickets for this all national hunt meeting compliments of Paddy Dunican and his committee. 

To win please let us know on what day of the week will the next Kilbeggan meeting be held? Answers on a post card to The Roscommon People, Harrison Court Roscommon or by e-mail to 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 19th.