Finny on fire
Few jockeys can be riding with more confidence now than Finny Maguire, another of the gifted pilots in Ireland who is amateur only in name. Maguire recorded his eighth victory of the season so far when guiding the Liz Doyle-trained Barnes Des Mottes to prevail in the closing Jordan’s Centra INH Flat Race at Naas on Saturday.
When you’re called upon regularly by Dermot Weld, you must be able to do the business – just think Michael Kinane, Pat Smullen and Robbie McNamara. The Master of Roswell House was legging Maguire up while he was a 16-year-old and the results were invariably impressive.
Being the son of Adrian Maguire, a Gold Cup-winning rider who rode more than 1,000 winners over jumps, might have advantages in terms of genetics and coaching, but could bring its own pressures too. Maguire Jnr has dealt with expectation that came with his name, fluid style and obvious ability and gone quietly about his job.
He finished the 2015-2016 season with 14 winners but riding took a back seat then as he focussed on his college studies, though he did still register 12 and six triumphs in subsequent campaigns. Now qualified with a Food Science degree, the 20-year-old Cork native has moved to Kildare with a view to making a real splash as a rider.
Remarkably, he claimed three of the four bumpers at Leopardstown during the Christmas Festival and was magnificent in winning the Grade 2 mares’ bumper to close off Dublin Racing Festival at the Foxrock track eight days ago, on the Dermot McLoughlin-trained Santa Rossa.
Saturday’s win maintains his form and illustrates his popularity, as it continued his run of being successful for a different trainer every time this season – eight wins, eight trainers. The man is truly on fire.
Martin Brassil is best known as the trainer of Aintree and Irish Grand National hero Numbersixvalverde and top two-mile chaser Nickname, but he had endured leaner times in recent years.
A weekend double has moved the Curragh handler onto seven successes for the current season however, and that now represents his best return on these shores since his career-high of 12 in 2006-07, which was bulwarked by Nickname’s six triumphs that term.
Take Revenge confirmed the promise of his previous run at Punchestown last December, when he was second, to garner the Punchestown Ticket Deal Maiden Hurdle on his return yesterday under Donie McInerney.
That followed the facile victory by City Island in the Red Mills EBF Auction Novice Hurdle at Naas on Saturday. This was a very taking performance, albeit expectedly so for the odds-on shot. So easily did City Island do it under Mark Walsh that Brassil is now turning his attention to Cheltenham.
It was a welcome double too for the Mulryan family, who have long been patrons of Irish racing especially in terms of ownership and sponsorship. City Island runs in the colours of Bernardine, while Take Revenge competes in Seán’s name.
And the race City Island is being aimed at? That would be the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle – sponsored by the Mulryans’ Ballymore Group. So it won’t only be Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary training to win some of his own money back.
Evan Daly was seen to very good effect in the Adare Manor Opportunity Handicap Hurdle at Naas on Saturday, going for home from four hurdles out and then getting one last rally from the ultra-willing Eviscerating, to hold off the desperate challenge of the Eoin Roche-ridden Coral Blue up the inner.
Winning trainer, Joseph O’Brien praised Daly for managing to get a hurdle success from a horse who like so many of those owned by Gigginstown House Stud, is designed for fences. O’Brien has provided the conditional rider with three of his four wins this year, the other being provided by Paul Nolan, and the duo have been the teenager’s primary supporters in his second campaign over obstacles. Daly now has eight career triumphs, having recorded three winners on the flat.
The Galwegian will be glad to be making the headlines for the right reasons, having narrowly avoided being trampled after going out for a jog during a race in Navan last November. He has quickly put that behind him however and with the continued backing of in-form operators such as O’Brien and Nolan, and his talents being advertised more regularly, there is likely to be more positivity to come.