The first winner at New Curragh
Sunday Sovereign may prove to have a
stellar career, or he may not, but he will always be the answer to a popular
quiz question around Kildare and Newbridge in years to come.
won the first race run at the newly renovated Curragh Racecourse?
The Paddy Twomey-trained juvenile was a
three-length victor of the Coolmore Sioux Nation Irish EBF Maiden, giving the Sunday
Racing Club a warm memory of their debut at the glitzy new headquarters of
Irish Flat racing.
It was a good day too for Limerick jockey
Billy Lee, who was on board Sunday Sovereign for the first leg of a brilliant
Lee propelled the Godolphin-owned, Willie McCreery-trained
Ickworth to a comfortable triumph in the Listed First Flier Stakes and
completed his tally with a power-packed effort on board Veryhoyen for
conditioner Michael Grassick and owners Paul Cullen, E J Dwyer, Patrick Pearse
and former Horse Racing Ireland chairman, Joe Keeling.
It was notable that Lee’s winners were
provided by three different trainers, and that his six rides on the day were
for five handlers in total. This is a man in demand who has brought his tally for
the nascent season to 11, placing him in joint four on the jockeys’ table.
Ken Condon is the leading contributor to
that tally so far with three, while Twomey and McCreery have supplied a pair
each. The others have come courtesy of Grassick, Ray Hackett, Conor O’Dwyer and
Sheehy doubles up
Danny Sheehy has caught the eye of any
half-alert follower of the Flat scene since marking his debut season as a
jockey at 16 with five winners for the calendar year. Since then, the son of
Kilkenny trainer Eamonn ‘Dusty’ Sheehy has gone from strength to strength to
register tallies of 14 and 16.
On Sunday, he bagged a double at Gowran
Park, which brings him to four for the calendar year and three for the Turf
The first arrived in the Honda Mowers &
Quads At Murphy Machinery Kilkenny Apprentice Handicap on the cleverly-named
Insane Bolt for Fitzwiliam Racing 2018 and trainer Johnny Murtagh. Having
joined the Murtagh team at the beginning of the year, it was important to get
off the mark for the former champion jockey.
Lady Scathach defied a price of 33/1 to
record an effortless success in the second division of the Lengthen The Odds With
BetVictor Handicap for trainer Tom McCourt, who is enjoying a nice run at
present, and owner Ciara McGee.
Wexford dominate charity race
The Punchestown Kidney Research Donation Charity
Race was run for the 30th time on Saturday and the continuing
influence of Wexford as a force in Irish racing was emphasised with a
one-two-three for Model County riders.
Kate Kelly was victorious on the Keith
Watson-trained 10-year-old Manomine, who had a length and three-quarters to spare
over Red Barry on Gordon Elliott’s four-year-old Flat To The Max, with Emma
Walsh on the Joseph O’Brien-trained seven-year-old Thermistocles six and a half
lengths further back.
Kelly is not to be mistaken with the
Wexford camogie legend of the same name, though she is a talented player with
the Blackwater club. Formerly a member of Noel Meade’s team at Tu Va Stables,
Kelly is now riding out for point-to-point producer Denis Murphy.
Barry is well known in GAA circles too as a
footballer and hurler with Wexford and St Anne’s. A regular competitor in this
annual fundraiser, it was evident he retains the fitness and athleticism that
made him a household name.
Emma Walsh’s Gaelic games profile is
unclear as of now but we saw enough as another hugely successful Punchestown
Festival came to a close on Saturday to tell us that she is a very sound
Congratulations to all the riders, who
undoubtedly fulfilled a lifetime’s dream and in the process, raised vital funds
to help improve the health and lifestyle of patients with kidney disease.