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
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
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.
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
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.