Big Weekend: Looking forward to the Sky Bet Moscow Flyer Novice Hurdle at Punchestown

Friday, January 11, 2019
Big Weekend 11th January

What’s in a name?

It is one of those real fun parts of owning a horse. Just like a brilliant headline in a newspaper, when someone gets it right with a horse’s name, you just want to stand up and applaud.


It is noticeable how the President of America is becoming more of a presence in recent years. One example is the Eugene O’Sullivan-bred Getaway Trump, now stabled with Paul Nicholls after winning his 4yo maiden at Lisronagh when under the care of Vincent Halley 2017, and favourite for the Betfair Hurdle as a result of an excellent run in the Grade One Challow Hurdle behind Champ, who was named after AP McCoy. The combination of the sire, Getaway and the prevailing feeling on these shores at least about the The Donald works well.


If owner David Reid Scott is responsible for Got Trumped, he should take a bow. The Jessica Harrington-trained four-year-old takes his chance in the very competitive looking BetVictor Proudly Sponsoring Irish Racing Hurdle (1.00) at Fairyhouse tomorrow, off the back of a third-place finish in the Grade Two Knight Frank Juvenile Hurdle at Leopardstown on St Stephen’s Day, having beaten the victor on that occasion, Rocky Blue at Punchestown the previous month.


Got Trumped is by American stallion Thewayyouare - and it seems there is no changing the leopard in question’s spots – out of Madam President. It all makes sense now.




Trainer To Watch – Edward O’Grady

Wherever there is a history of National Hunt racing, Edward O’Grady will feature prominently. One of the most successful Irish trainers ever at the Cheltenham Festival, the Tipperary legend enjoyed a particularly fruitful partnership with owner JP McManus and will be remembered for conditioning some magnificent horses, including Golden Cygnet, Mister Donovan, Drumlargan, Sound Man, Back In Front, Ned Kelly and Tranquil Sea.


Kitten Rock illustrated his enduring powers when provided with the raw material in more recent times and it is a testament to his determination that he already has more winners this season than he recorded in either of the last two campaigns, with nine from 70 runners.


It makes sense to take note when he does come to the track therefore, and neither of his two contenders at Fairyhouse tomorrow are without a chance.


Great Khan participates in the John Lynch Memorial EBF Beginners Chase (2.45) and is in good order, after finishing second over a half-mile further to Roaring Bull at this track on New Year’s Day. Championship contender Paul Townend is in the saddle.


Allardyce provided O’Grady with his last winner in a novice chase at Cork in November and resumes in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Rated Novice Chase (3.20). He was a comfortable victor around Mallow and jumped excellently. He is being asked a sterner question this time and his Luke Dempsey retaining the berth in the plate, even though Dempsey’s father Philip is represented by Stowaway Forever, who ironically, will be ridden by Paul Townend!


Oh and in keeping with the opening theme, Allardyce is by Black Sam Bellamy. Soccer fans among you will understand now where his name came from, spotting the link with former England manager, Sam Allardyce.




Harrington has Moscow in her sights

There may be a generation of racing followers that think Jessica Harrington is all about Sizing John, Alpha Centauri, Our Duke and the numerous other high-class winners she has prepared in the past couple of seasons.


Of course Jezki is a relatively recent Champion Hurdle winner at Cheltenham and Harrington is the most successful female trainer in the history of the Olympics of jump racing.


It was Moscow Flyer that launched her into the stratosphere initially however, before her wonderful renaissance in recent years. There is something strange about seeing his name associated with a hurdle, as is the case in Sunday’s Grade Two Sky Bet Moscow Flyer Novice Hurdle, given that he was the winner of two Champion Chases, two Tingle Creek Chases, two Melling Chases, two Fortria Chases, two Tied Cottage Chases, two Paddy Power Dial-A-Bet Chases and a Punchestown Champion Chase, among others over the larger obstacles.


But three of the exhilarating racer’s 13 Grade One triumphs were recorded over hurdles, including the Royal Bond Hurdle at Fairyhouse, while the Morgiana Hurdle and December Festival Hurdle, now the Ryanair Hurdle, have become Grade One contests in the meantime.


A field of six turn up in a bid to claim the €26,2550 first prize and Harrington possesses the highest-rated contender in Jetez, as a result of the six-year-old’s impressive handicap success at Leopardstown just over a fortnight ago. The recognisable beaming smile will be a few watts brighter one imagines, if he can repeat the trick in this race, of all races, for his handler.

There may be a generation of racing followers that think Jessica Harrington is all about Sizing John, Alpha Centauri, Our Duke and the numerous other high-class winners she has prepared in the past couple of seasons.

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