Weekend Takeaways from Gowran Park and Naas


Monday, March 11, 2019
Fenno's Storm (no.3) and Declan Queally wins the Tetratema Cup Hunters Chase. Gowran Park. Photo: Patrick McCann 10.03.2018

Fenno's Storm (no.3) and Declan Queally wins the Tetratema Cup Hunters Chase. Gowran Park. Photo: Patrick McCann 10.03.2018


Willie cranks it up

While he has managed to just about hold off Gordon Elliott’s concerted challenge for championship honours in Ireland the last two seasons, and is so far managing to keep his nose in front entering the critical closing months of the current campaign, Willie Mullins has been forced to yield to the Cullentra House boss as leading trainer at the Cheltenham Festival in 2017 and 2018.

It wasn’t that Mullins endured a lean spell – far from it - but Elliott edged him out on each occasion, matching his record yield of eight winners 12 months ago.

Just a couple of weeks ago, there were plenty who felt that Closutton could be in for a fallow return this time however, with no apparent ‘good thing’ in his ranks. It could still be the case of course – nothing is certain in racing. And no matter who you are, you cannot have a Vautour or Douvan to get your meeting under way ever year.

But who is to say that Klassical Dream or Aramon will not join them on the Supreme Novices’ roll of honour anyway. Or Laurina succeed Faugheen and Hurricane Fly?

judging by recent results, the horses could not be in better form and considerable improvement can be expected. Visits to the last three National Hunt meetings on these shores – Thurles on Thursday, Gowran Park on Saturday and Naas yesterday –produced three doubles.

And just to emphasise the point, Pairofbrowneyes won the Toalsbet Leinster National, his first triumph since claiming the same prize 12 months ago, and led a Mullins 1-2-3 into the bargain, Isleofhopendreams and Bellow Mome following the Fibbange Syndicate-owned 10-year-old home.

If you were looking for omens…

 

In like Flynn

Part of looking forward to the Cheltenham Festival involves reflecting on previous feats at jump racing’s Olympics and that happened naturally on Friday night as Pat Flynn reminded us once more of his considerable talents with a Dundalk double.

The Rathgormack handler will forever be connected with history at the great meeting, having trained the only horse to win consecutive races there. Montelado upset the odds when defeating the Noel Meade-trained Tiananmen Square by 12 lengths in the festival-closing Champion Bumper in 1992, when Richard Dunwoody was in the plate.

Charlie Swan was on board for the traditional opener in 1993, the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle, but the result and margin were the same, with Martin Pipe’s Lemon’s Mill the dozen lengths in arrears.

It is French Ballerina that Flynn always considered his most gifted charge though. The daughter of Sadler’s Wells was just six weeks old when Montelado turned the Supreme into a procession but became his stablemate and then emulated him with another comprehensive success in the race for Flynn, by seven lengths over the Mouse Morris-trained His Song, who was ridden by future champion flat jockey, Richard Hughes.

Neither Lizard Point nor Yarraman are as talented as French Ballerina or Montelado, or indeed Designs On Rome, another former Flynn favourite who would go on to be Horse of the Year in Hong Kong.

Nonetheless, by bagging the two divisions of the Coral Smart Money Series Handicap with the considerable help of Conor Hoban, they were illustrating their conditioner’s enduring ability to make the best of the raw material at his disposal.

Two days earlier, Classic-winning trainer Ken Condon registered a winner with his first runner from his new home at Osborne Lodge, where Dessie Hughes, father of the aforementioned Richard, famously prepared triple Cheltenham victor, and dual Champion Hurdler, Hardy Eustace. Blue Jasmine got the verdict in the stewards’ room after being carried right by Burning Lake in the Follow @BetVictorRacing On Twitter Handicap.

That success arrived about a half-hour after multiple Festival-winning jockey Jamie Codd made a rare visit to the all-weather pay. The Wexford man combined with Gordon Elliott, leading trainer at Cheltenham for the last two years and with whom he has combined for successes on the likes of Cause Of Causes and Fayonagh at Prestbury Park, to bag the BetVictor (QR) Handicap with Markhan.

Dundalk is the place to be!

 

Queally making his own headlines

Tom Queally may have garnered most of the family headlines for his association with the fantastic Frankel but his brother Declan is making his own now.

Always a talented jockey, with more than 200 winners in point-to-points, he went very close to adding a Cheltenham triumph to his CV with a bold ride on Kilty Storm, trained by fellow west Waterford man Roger McGrath, before having to settle for second to Baby Run in the 2010 Foxhunter Chase.

He has turned his hand to training in recent years and is currently on 18 points winners, already bettering his previous best of 17 and placing him second on the handlers’ table to Colin Bowe. He has also ridden 12 winners, bringing his overall career tally between the flags to 222.

Richie Deegan had the steering duties when Queally’s redoubtable servant Fenno’s Storm annexed one of the most coveted trophies in hunter chasing, the Tetratema Cup at Gowran Park on Saturday.

Though only eight, the son of September Storm has been a key figure as Queally established himself in his new profession. A seven-time victor in point-to-points, this was his second win under Rules. Cheltenham might not have been for him this year, but it would be no surprise to see him make the journey in the future.

It is almost certain that Queally will – as a jockey and a trainer.

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