Miracle man Mikey’s mission
The name might sound familiar because MikeY
Sweeney is the jockey who made one of the greatest recoveries you’ll ever see
at Killeagh Point-To-Point in Boulta last January.
In isolation, the feat of getting back in
the saddle after having his back facing the ground while hanging on to Ask
Heather’s neck following a mistake at the last fence was remarkable. To
galvanise his partner and elicit a winning run, having been overtaken, was
Rising trainer Declan Queally – himself
still riding to very good effect – has been using the 21-year-old Cappoquin
pilot regularly between the flags and he provided him with his first winner
under Rules when Bothar Dubh prevailed in a handicap hurdle at Clonmel in
Sweeney has only had eight rides on the
track but he will have increased that by 25 per cent by the conclusion of the
Tramore fixture on Sunday evening, partnering Owenacurra Lass for Queally in
the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Mares’ Maiden Hurdle (2.15) and That’s My Dubai
for Shay Barry in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Mares’ Flat Race (5.35) at
Both have chances of providing a distinct
Waterford flavour to proceedings by the beach, Owenacurra Lass a former bumper
winner who was in strong company last time when third behind Annamix and Raya
Time, albeit far in their rear view mirrors.
That’s My Dubai has the Mullins boys,
Willie and Paddy to contend with but Stops A Nation is unraced, while That’s My
Dubai has been second twice from three previous runs.
Neither will be found wanting for help from
Independent stallions take on the big shots
The Irish Stallion Farms EBF Maiden at Naas
on Sunday is interesting for a couple of reasons. Ruby Walsh doubles his tally
of flat rides for the season, renewing acquaintances with Castletownshend for
his father Ted, after they had teamed up for a third-place finish at the same
venue three weeks ago.
It is interesting to see stallions
represented that are the only stallion standing at their farms.
Finsceal Fior has been mentioned here
before, the first foal of Finsceal Beo who was introduced to new duties by
Michael Ryan – owner of Finsceal Beo and Al Eile - after being going unraced
due to injury. The nine-year-old was the product of a holy alliance with the
dual 1000 Guineas winner and the record-breaking Galileo, so it was no surprise
that with such a bloodline, Ryan would put him to work in another way, if you
could call it work.
Now nine and standing at Green Hills Stud,
he had his first winner in 2016 thanks to Annie Fior in a Chelmsford maiden.
Annie Fior is now back in Ireland and she provided Brendan Murphy with his
first winner as a trainer at Leopardstown last Saturday, before following up
with another at Gowran Park on Tuesday.
Rajj is older at 16. He was out of a
Sadler’s Wells mare Makarova, and by Danehill, but once more, injury prevented
him from making it to the track. So his trainer Homer Scott – a dual Cheltenham
Festival-winning handler – opted to see if he could garner support for Rajj as
a stallion at Lisheen Stud.
It wasn’t easy but the endeavours have been
paying dividends in recent years, most notably with Group 3 winner I’m So Fancy
and Inshayshable, also a four-time victor.
Finsceal Fior is represented by the Gavin
Cromwell-trained Finsceal Rose in this contest, Rajj by My Laureate, who is
trained by Ger Lyons. With progeny of War Front, Dark Angel, Kodiac and Exceed
And Excel opposing, the odds are against them. But then that is one of the
enduring attractions of horse racing – the odds can sometimes be overturned.
Slatterys’ Sharjah to do Dundalk dance once
There are a number of horses that thrive in
the all-weather at Dundalk and Sharjah is one. Not to be mistaken with Willie
Mullins’s Grade 1-winning hurdler, the nine-year-old is a Slattery family pet
as well as a Dundalk specialist.
Trained by Andy, the Shamardal gelding has
won 15 times in total, with nine of those coming on the polytrack. In December
2017, he provided Andy’s son Andrew with his first winner as a jockey and the
pair have combined for two more triumphs since, most recently at Fairyhouse
They were agonisingly close to moving into
double figures at Dundalk last Friday night, when beaten a nose by Wild Shot
but are back in Louth on Sunday evening, where a real opportunity presents
itself in the LMFM Dual Race Night Friday 3rd May Handicap (5.20),
though War Shot reopposes.
But Dundalk is where Sharjah likes to