On Monday at Lenebane the Gods shone down on all the fillies – especially the two-legged ones(!) – when the rain stayed away for what was definitely the finest line-up of fashion ever seen on the track for Ladies Day.
Judges Lisa Fitzpatrick from TV3 and local fashion expert Lisa Fleming had a most difficult job in choosing the winners let alone the finalists. The winner was Angela Duggan from Claremorris with Melissa McNeill-Martin from Athlone second and Marian Brickington from Castlecoote third. All that the beautiful ladies and their outfits leave to be said is well done to all who took part and unfortunately all cannot be winners.
On the racing front, the opening EBF Maiden over 7f was won by the drifting Marfach, from the well-backed favourite Ejteytaaz by 1¼l with Flameoftheforest 2½l adrift in third. The winner is trained by Jim Bolger and was ridden by son-in-law Kevin Manning.
The second race saw a local winner, when the Tom Cleary trained Miranda’s Girl, competently ridden by son Rory, follow up her recent second at Fairyhouse with a win the 7f EBF Fillies Handicap by six lengths and a head from Spavento and Grá Geal Mo Chroí. Tom Cleary, who trains outside Athlone, hopes the penalty earned for this win will get her into the Tote Galway Mile EBF Handicap on the Tuesday of the Galway Festival. She won twice over a mile at last year’s festival.
The €45,000 Lenebane Listed Stakes stayed at home when the favourite Alavain from the John Oxx yard won from the Ballydoyle-trained Vonjawlensky with Via Galilei in third. The winner was ridden by Mick Kinane and won by 3½l and 7l.
The English raider from Dandy Nichols’ yard was very disappointing, finishing fifth, having finished sixth to Yeats in the Ascot Gold Cup on his last run. Aiden O’Brien has not had a winner from 14 runners since 2005 at Lenebane.
The Betfair Novice hurdle was won by Eddie O’Grady’s Warne who, in the hands of Andrew McNamara, improved on his run behind at to win by 4 ½ l and 4l with Fastey second and the favourite Tarkari third.
Fleming’s SuperValu Handicap Hurdle was won by Scolboa King from the Sean Treacy yard, and ridden by Emmett Mullins at 8/1. Wellforth was second and Dark Artic third, some 4l and 5 ½ l away. The winner was nibbled at morning prices and will probably be seen out next time at Ballybrit.
The Boylesports Maiden Hurdle was won by the well supported Onzo Mor, 13/2 to 4/1, from Be Definite and Another Trump. The winner is trained by Caroline Hutchinson and was ridden by the in-form Andrew Lynch.
Friendless in the market, unusual for a Willie Mullins runner, For The Staff was an easy bumper winner for another father-and-son combination, Willie and Patrick Mullins. The five-year-old gelding, having only his second run for Mullins, won by 17l and a short head from Dermey Bowler and Wang.
Tuesday started with a Kevin Prendergast-trained winner in the 7f Auction Maiden when Musical Rain won by 1½ l and 1¾ l from Fammi Sognare and Xtraxtra at generous odds of 7/1.
In the second race there was a winner with local connections when Tom Bailey’s Young Lochinvar won the 7f handicap with Fast Lightening and Flying Kangaroo filling the places. The winner is trained in Maynooth by John Carr and while the owner was not present he was ably represented in the winner’s enclosure by his brother Pat from Boho.
The 10f maiden saw an end to Ballydoyle’s losing run at the track when Red Rock Canyon held on to beat Dermot Weld’s Miss Chaparral into second and Black Coffee was third. The winner was ridden by champion hockey Johnny Murtagh returning after a short holiday courtesy of the Ascot stewards.
The first of the national hunt races, a 2m handicap, saw the best finish of the two days when Donie Hassett’s Media Queen came with a late burst under Davy Russell to win by a short head from Hopeful Venture under National Hunt champion jockey Ruby Walsh with Pipers Blaze a neck away in third. Less than ½l covered the first five home and the Handicapper Noel O’Brien did a superb job. The winner, Champion point-to-point mare this season, was bred by John Hanly in Fourmilehouse and is by Oscar out of a Sayyaf mare Torgyl. The eight-year-old is owned by Charlie Moore from Quin in Co. Clare and uncle of champion point-to-point rider Derek O’Connor.
The three mile handicap hurdle was won by an outsider Ballygill Gale from Adrian Sexton’s yard in with What’s New and The Grey Friend filling the minor places. The Donie Hassett trained Skidrow Joe, bred by Dermot Hughes in Roscommon, was fourth.
The maiden hurdle was won by Michael O’Leary’s Fly The Fairway, trained in County Cavan by Shane Donohue and ridden by Davy Russell, who was completing a double on the day. Second home was Vicky’s Thyne and Volcanic Rock was third under the Champion Point to Point rider Derek O’Connor.
The bumper was solely confined to ladies, jockeys and mares, and was won by the Dessie Hughes trained Tír Na gCappal under a strong ride from Pauline Ryan who got up in the shadow of the winning post to win by ½l from Got Options. Third home was Queasy after a long absence from the track and she was ridden by another Champion Jennifer Pugh, joint leading Lady point-to-point rider.
Maybe the powers that be might look at putting this race in on Monday, Ladies Day, next year a much more appropriate day on which to run a mares bumper for lady riders. The track held up well despite the weather and was a credit to the Manager Michael Finneran and his staff. Well done lads. Next meeting at the venue is on the Tuesday 4th August after Galway.