McGowan and the Leinster National
is almost upon us and we have a recent Cheltenham Festival winner among the 15
contenders for the €59,000 first prize on offer in the Toalsbet Bookmakers
Leinster National at Naas on Sunday.
By Blow gave Gordon Elliott his second consecutive triumph in the Martin Pipe
Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle 12 months ago. He enjoyed a very good
start to his chasing career, winning his beginners’ event by 17 lengths before
being just touched off in the Grade 2 Florida Pearl Chase by Some Neck.
two runs in Grade 1s, the son of Robin Des Champs disappointed badly in two
subsequent races however, and would need to improve considerably to have any
hope of prevailing.
Dounikos is a potential favourite, coming off victory in Punchestown last month
but has to give weight to the rest of the field and that could prove a stiff
Meade’s De Name Escapes Me is an interesting runner, having been fancied to run
well in handicap company at Cheltenham but spared the trip because of the
weight he was going to carry. He never landed a blow in the Paddy Power Chase
but was two from three before that and a repeat of his performance in the
Foxrock Chase, when he was a far more comfortable victor than the half-length
margin might suggest, would give him a real opportunity.
year’s winner, Pairofbrowneyes returns having taken the spoils on his first
appearance for Willie Mullins. The 10-year-old has struggled with the resultant
hike in rating and though down nine pounds from his 155 high, he is still rated
nine pounds more than in 2018.
Townend resumes the triumphant partnership of last year however, which suggests
that with Ruby Walsh sitting it out until Tuesday, Pairofbrowneyes is the more
highly regarded of the Mullins representatives.
named the Luso gelding is clearly a Pogues fan and if he makes it two-in-a-row
on Sunday, there is surely only one song that can be sung in the parade ring
after. Any chance of getting Shane McGowan over?
makes advertising pay
influence farmer John Nallen has had on the racing landscape is phenomenal,
producing young horses that have flourished in others’ colours, all the while
providing advertising for Nallen’s Hotel Minella in Clonmel, long after he has
moved them on.
Hotel and Hotel Minella were the most obvious advertisements but the Minella
handle is ubiquitous. Minella For Value, Minella Foru, Minella Rocco, Minella
Encore, Minella Stars and Minella Style are just some of those that have
are far too many to name, as Nallen has been pinhooking for years – buying
between eight and 10 foals a year and selling them on primarily as three and
four-year-olds to race either in Ireland or Britain.
Hunt has had some good luck with Minella Fair, who has won three times from
seven attempts on the track. The son of Flemensfirth has clearly had his issues
however, with gaps of 350 and 335 days between races in the past.
eight, he takes his place in the Irish Machinery Auctions Beginners Chase
(4.15) at Gowran Park tomorrow. It will not just be his first run over fences,
but his first run of any nature since hosing home by 62 lengths in a novice
hurdle at Clonmel on March 20, 2018. If he retains his class though, he will
have a significant chance.
to keep it in the family?
most valuable race in tomorrow’s Gowran Park card is the Holden Plant Rentals
Shamrock Handicap Chase. The sponsors, Paul and Catherine Holden are well known
supporters of horse racing, with some quality horses between them in recent
run in separate colours and these days are trained by their daughter Ellmarie,
who has done an excellent job since taking out her licence in 2016. She
recorded 12 winners in Ireland that first season and repeated the feat last
current campaign has been a bit more difficult but she has had considerably
less runners than either of the last two terms and matching the 22 per cent
strike rate of 2017-2018 was always going to be a tall order.
one of her stable stars, Abolitionist has been sold to England with a view to
running in the Aintree Grand National – and as a previous winner of the
aforementioned Leinster National he will be among the fancies – Ex Patriot is
still a flagship operator.
in the Triumph Hurdle in 2017 despite getting rid of Rachael Blackmore on the
way down to the start, he was a bit slow to get his head in front over fences,
but there was a lot to like about his battling effort to get the better of
Benruben in a beginners chase at Thurles last month. Benruben was the nearest
challenger to Jetz in a Grade 3 novice chase on his next run, which boosts the
it is Ex Patriot, who runs for Paul, that is entrusted with the task of winning
at least some of the sponsors’ money back, though with Doctor Phoenix having
run his best race in some time against Cadmimum in a Grade 3 chase recently, he
won’t have it all his own way, even with a 12lbs advantage at the weights.