Weekend Takeaways from Cork and Naas

Monday, January 07, 2019
Meri Deri

Meri Devie and Bryan Cooper after winning the "Irish Stallion Farms EBF Mares Beginners Chase" at Naas

Rebel Rousers

Home advantage certainly played its part at Cork on Saturday as three of the seven winners were trained in the Rebel County and in each contest, it was a Rebel-rousing one-two.


Robert Tyner would have had a big smile on his face making the drive back to Kinsale, thanks to a double recorded courtesy of Midnight Stroll and Concordin. The former swooped late under Philip Enright to deny Chatham Street Lad, the Michael Winters-trained gelding that carried plenty of late confidence.


The winner is owned by Brendan Keogh, a staunch racing supporter who has horses in training on both sides of the Irish Sea and owned Couer De Lion, the first of two consecutive Goffs Land Rover Bumper victors for Tyner in 2016.


Keogh is also a successful greyhound owner and his King Turbo claimed a record fourth Category One prize in Britain in a calendar year when triumphant in the Olympic final at Hove on December 27.


The Jody McGarvey-navigated Concordin scuppered the most local of victories, just sticking his neck out to pip Danse Away, trained outside Mallow in Killavullen by TJ Nagle.


John J Walsh is always a man to follow in his native county (as well as nearby Limerick) and he produced the goods once more when Bridies Prince benefited from a positive Ambrose McCurtin ride to defeat Overbury Prince.


If Terence O’Brien was disappointed by this reverse however, the very impressive win by Articulum at Naas yesterday soon put him back in good form and he is now dreaming of Grade One glory at the Dublin Racing Festival.


Now that would be a Corker!




They don’t always know!

Noel Meade recorded a double at Cork on Saturday thanks to Eurobot and Behind The Curtain, and followed up with the potentially high-class Valdieu at Naas yesterday, to make him the weekend’s most successful trainer.


The modest master of Tu Va Stables admitted after Eurobot’s three-mile maiden success at Mallow that he had misjudged his charge considerably, telling Gigginstown House Stud manager Eddie O’Leary six weeks previously that the five-year-old Malinas gelding was “useless and too slow”. Just goes to show, even the very best get it wrong!


Mind you, they get it right more often. Valdieu needed a remarkable seventh stab at it to get off the mark in bumpers, leaving Meade scratching his head as the son of Diamond Boy had been working like a very good horse. He had 10 lengths to spare when he did record that overdue success at Down Royal however and followed that up with an impressive debut over hurdles in Mallow. The Dublin Racing Festival is next on the agenda.




Devie makes Meri

Prior to her chasing debut yesterday, Meri Devie was last seen competing in a heritage handicap at Newmarket in October. If that sounds like a considerable seachange, it is in keeping with the six-year-old’s overall profile, as she wasn’t really supposed to run again at all.


Formerly owned by Andrea Wylie and trained by Willie Mullins, Meri Devie had won three times prior to this, most recently in a valuable handicap hurdle at the Punchestown Festival in April.


She was acquired by John Brennan with breeding in mind and while he was deciding on a potential suitor for his would-be broodmare, he gave her to Paul Nolan at the end of November to see if she might jump a fence.


Nolan saw enough to advise targeting a beginners chase and it was evident why, as she jumped and travelled very well in Bryan Cooper’s hands before claiming the honours. Connections may consider pursuing what would be invaluable black type now, particularly given her youth.


Motherhood may have to wait.




Opportunity knocks

Another top-class weekend of racing, which combined high quality fare and a host of tight finishes, provided numerous opportunities for a wide gamut of protagonists and the spoils were spread very evenly.


From the 14 races, there were 12 different jockeys that enjoyed the glow of success. Only two managed a brace of winners – David Mullins and Seán Flanagan.


There were 10 different trainers recording successes, Noel Meade the leader with three and Joseph O’Brien the only other multiple victor with two. Neither champion Willie Mullins nor the red-hot Henry de Bromhead were able to add to their seasonal tallies.


It was a similar story among owners, with 11 individual winners. Gigginstown House Stud with three, and JP McManus with two were the only owners with more than one triumph.


In all, 598 different owners have garnered a race of some nature during the National Hunt season to date, while 213 have won two or more. 


Another top-class weekend of racing, which combined high quality fare and a host of tight finishes, provided numerous opportunities for a wide gamut of protagonists and the spoils were spread very evenly.


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