Weekend Watch


Friday, December 28, 2018
Big weekend - 2nd Nov NL

Hogan’s Heroines

Denis Hogan has been a real breakthrough operator in the training ranks in the past two years. What makes the Cloughjordan man’s increasing impetus all the more impressive is that it is occurring while he retains a jockey’s licence. Indeed he rides the majority of his own horses and was seen to good effect once more during the week when Moskovite claimed the spoils in the O’Kelly Brothers Demolition Mares Handicap Hurdle at Limerick on St Stephen’s Day.

Speaking on Off The Ball and Go Racing’s Friday Night Racing podcast recently, Hogan suggested that he would have a couple of good opportunities with some of his mares around Patrickswell during the Christmas period and Moskovite certainly was as good as her handler’s word. He was particularly optimistic about Moyhenna in the Limerick Racecourse Vets Mares Beginners Chase (1.00) however, with a step up in trip and an ease in the going sure to suit.

Owned and bred by Robert Hennelly, the daughter of Westerner has some good bumper and hurdle form even though Hogan always suggested that she would not be seen at her best until moving to the larger obstacles. Finishing second to Camelia De Cotte over little more than two miles, three weeks ago in Cork, would have been a very pleasing bow over fences and the optimism appears very much justified.-


Blackmore’s Judgement Day?

Gigginstown House Stud hold a strong hand in the Neville Hotels Novice Chase (1.55) at Leopardstown, with five of the seven contenders in the Grade 1 contest. Delta Work is a deserving favourite, having stayed on strongly to win the Drinmore Chase at Fairyhouse at the beginning of the month.

Judgement Day is an interesting opponent for a number of reasons. Trainer Henry de Bromhead has enjoyed a spectacular festive season, already setting a personal best for a campaign, with four full months still remaining. Indeed at the current rate, the Waterford trainer has a first ever century in his sights.

His combination with Gigginstown and in-form jockey Rachael Blackmore has proven beneficial to all parties, with the latter very much in contention to become the first woman to be champion jockey. Securing a maiden Grade 1 would put the seal on what has already been an unforgettable campaign and she is on a wonderful winning run with Judgement Day, partnering the six-year-old son of Martaline for the last three of four consecutive successes over fences. He needs to improve but has shown a willing attitude and aptitude for fences, having failed to win a bumper or hurdle race. With de Bromhead responsible for the prep and Blackmore for the navigation, you couldn’t rule it out.

Of course Blackmore might join the elite crop of top-flight victors with Bedrock in the Ryanair Hurdle (2.30) too. Iain Jardine employed Blackmore first to claim Grade 3 honours at Tipperary in October and once more, when they lowered the colours of Samcro in the Grade 2 WKD Hurdle at Down Royal. Bedrock will relish the good ground and travelling across the Irish Sea is clearly not a problem. Given his profile, and how well he clearly gets on with his rider, it could not be considered the biggest shock in the world were he to prevail.

 

Court Maid for Mullins pair

Tom Mullins has had some nice winners this season from a select representation but Wednesday’s triumph by Rocky Blue in the Grade 2 Knight Frank Juvenile Hurdle had to be among the sweetest, give the importance of the race, the stage and the fact that it was his son David doing the steering. As a multiple Grade 1 victor and former Grand National-winning rider, Mullins Jnr is no stranger to big-time success. Neither is his father, having been assistant to his own father Paddy for years and enjoyed immediate success himself when taking over the licence, most memorably with the brilliant Asian Maze.

Tom has long been acknowledged as a very shrewd handler and Court Maid is a very interesting contender in the Virgin Media Business Irish EBF Novice Handicap Hurdle (3.05) at Leopardstown tomorrow. A five-year-old daughter of Court Cave and She’s A Venture, who was a half-sister to the dam of the excellent Menorah, Court Maid is looking to win her third race on the bounce having availed initially of the opportunity offered by the Connolly’s Red Mills Irish EBF Mares’ Auction Series at Cork in October. She followed up when making light of the step up to three miles on handicap debut in Punchestown and is clearly progressive. And as Tom and David Mullins have shown again this week, when they join forces, they are to be taken very seriously indeed

Denis Hogan has been a real breakthrough operator in the training ranks in the past two years. What makes the Cloughjordan man’s increasing impetus all the more impressive is that it is occurring while he retains a jockey’s licence. Indeed he rides the majority of his own horses and was seen to good effect once more during the week when Moskovite claimed the spoils in the O’Kelly Brothers Demolition Mares Handicap Hurdle at Limerick on St Stephen’s Day.

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