HRI Review

Racing Review 

70 not out for Sir Ector who scores again at Sligo

Sir Ector made his 70th appearance at Sligo last Tuesday evening and the battle-hardened ten-year-old coped best with the testing underfoot conditions to register an eighth career success in the feature Irish Stallion Farms EBF Handicap Hurdle. Now trained in Dungannon by Nicole McKenna, Sir Ector (6-1) hit the front after the second-last and stayed on strongly under Paul Townend to beat King Blue by three lengths.

Last year's champion conditional Rachael Blackmore celebrated her 13th winner of the season thanks to the victory of Kilganer Queen (13-2) in the 2m5f handicap hurdle, while Dingle native Paddy Kennedy continued his impressive run of form on the Shane Ryder-trained Movingswiftlyalong (11-4) in the 2m5f maiden hurdle. That was his tenth winner of the campaign, compared to just two last season.

Shanning (1-3 favourite) made a winning start to her jumping career for Willie Mullins and Ruby Walsh in the opening 2m mares maiden hurdle on what was a good night for punters as Broughtons Star (9-2), Darkest Flyer (11-10) and Chess Grand Master (9-10) also justified their positions at the top of the market.

Canary flies home in Killarney feature

The Listed Vincent O'Brien Ruby Stakes was the feature race on the opening evening of Killarney's four-day August festival and it went to Canary Row from the Patrick Prendergast stable at odds of 15-2. The seven-year-old stepped out of handicaps for the first time since April 2015 and it proved a masterstroke as he battled to a one-length win over Bumbasina, with the front-running Duchess Of France a head further back in third.

Rosin Box's love-affair with Killarney continued in the 1m handicap under Shane Foley. The John Murphy-trained 14-1 shot was a winner at the course in July of 2016 and she once again saved her best for the picturesque track at the foot of the Macgillycuddy's Reeks, this time posting a one-and-a-half length victory over Cash In Mind.

The resurgence of the Dermot Weld stable continued as he helped himself to a double courtesy of Aljunood (2-5) and Dalton Highway (15-8), both of whom were ridden to victory by Pat Smullen.

Aidan and Donnacha O'Brien were also in double-winning form as Kew Gardens (4-6) won the opening 1m maiden and Abyssinian (8-13) made all in the concluding 1m3f race. 

Falcon swoops at Killarney

Hard-core jump racing fans had their appetite whetted at Killarney on Thursday when leading staying hurdler Snow Falcon (11-4 favourite) turned the feature Laurels Pub & Restaurant Kingdom Gold Cup Handicap in a procession under Colin Keane. The Grade 2 winning-hurdler, who was fifth in the Stayers Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival last March, was only having his fourth start on the Flat and he had the race won from a long way out under a positive ride from Keane. Bayan, part-owned by Attheraces presenter Gary O'Brien, took second with Sea The Lion back in third.

Max Dynamite (4-9 favourite), agonisingly denied by 100-1 shot Prince of Penzance and Michelle Payne in the 2015 Melburne Cup, registered his first success since August of that year when outclassing his rivals under Patrick Mullins in the 2m1f qualified riders’ race.

RTE and ITV racing presenter Brian Gleeson was celebrating after Dont Tell No One (7-2) atoned for his near-miss at Galway by landing the 2m6f beginners chase for Andrew Lynch and John Kiely.

The widest-margin winner of the evening was Mr Adjudicator (4-1), from the Joe Murphy stable, who landed the 1m3f apprentice handicap under Killian Leonard by five and a half lengths.

Sayar stars on first start for Willie Mullins

Paul Townend said that there is “a lot more to come” from Sayar after his impressive 16-length victory in the 2m maiden hurdle at Kilbeggan on Friday evening. The ex-Michael Halford-trained gelding made a winning start to his new life as a hurdler for Willie Mullins and he could not have won any easier from Big Ben. Returned the even-money favourite, Sayar was in a different league to his rivals and looks one of the most exciting novices we have seen so far this season.

Sayar was the second leg of a Mullins/Townend double after Whiteout (4-7 favourite) proved much too classy for her rivals in the 2m3f hurdle.

Denis Hogan's hot streak continued in the 2m handicap hurdle as he guided The Irregular, whom he trains himself, to glory at odds of 11-2. 

Vegas lights up Killarney on Friday night

Willie Mullins has worked his magic with Lagostovegas since she arrived from Harry Kelly's yard and the five-year-old mare registered a second success for the champion trainer in the feature Attheraces Handicap Hurdle at Killarney on Friday evening. Sent off the strongly-supported 7-4 favourite, Lagostovegas always looked in control under Ruby Walsh and coasted to a two-and-three-quarter length win over Top Ofthe Ra.

Joseph O'Brien yet again displayed his versatility as a trainer by sending out High Language (5-1) to land the 1m3f maiden under his younger brother Donnacha and Grey Waters (11-4) to win the 3-Year-Old Hurdle in the hands of JJ Slevin.

Bella Estrella (2-1 favourite) maintained her unbeaten record in the 1m rated race for Pat Smullen and Dermot Weld, while there was a substantial gamble landed in the opening 1m nursery handicap as Isaac Wonder, from the John Oxx stable, was backed from 10-1 into 100-30 and made most of the running under Declan McDonogh en route to a one-and-a-half length success over Ballot Box. 

O'Regan on the double at Killarney on Saturday

When Denis O'Regan took a crashing fall at the last from Wonderoftheworld when looking the most likely winner of the 2m6f novice hurdle, it looked like it was going to be “one of those days” for Barry Connell's retained rider but he dusted himself off and won the next two races on Lasoscar and Product Of Love.

Lasoscar (14-1) captured the McSweeney Arms Hotel Hurdle for Mountrath-based Liam Cusack under a typically-cool ride from O'Regan who swooped late and fast to deny Mine Now by three-quarters-of-a-length. In stark contrast, Product Of Love (6-1) was always to the fore in the 2m1f beginners chase and battled bravely to a one-length win over Roconga.

Racegoers were treated to a thriller in the 2m4f beginners chase as Peregrine Run (11-4) and Roger Loughran came out on top after a titanic tussle with Conrad Hastings and Rathvinden.

There was late drama in the feature MSL Cork Mercedes-Benz Handicap Chase as Danny Mullins did brilliantly to avoid a loose horse on Kilcarry Bridge (16-1) who scored by one length from The Winkler to give Templemore trainer John Ryan a big winner. 

Kodama and Coakley combine for Cambridgeshire win at the Curragh

The hugely-popular Takashi Kodama, originally from Japan, enjoyed one of the biggest victories of his training career when sending out Elusive Time (25-1) to land the Tote Irish Cambridgeshire at the Curragh on Sunday. It was a welcome big race win for jockey Ross Coakley who suffered a horrific fall at Ballinrobe a few weeks ago which left him unconscious and with facial injuries.

US Navy Flag ran out an impressive six-length winner of the Group 3 Round Tower Stakes under Ryan Moore and earned a quote of 20-1 for the Qipco 2,000 Guineas, while stablemate Saxon Warrior is around the same price for the Investec Derby after notching O'Brien's first winner of the afternoon with an impressive debut success under trainer's son Donnacha in the 1m maiden.

The Group 3 Snow Fairy Fillies Stakes went according to the pre-race script as Darley Irish Oaks runner-up Rain Goddess (11-4 joint-favourite) edged out her market rival Intimation by half-a-length.

Willie McCreery must be excited about the future for the Niarchos family-owned Liquid Amber who claimed the scalp of O'Brien's 2-7 shot Ballet Shoes in the Group 3 Flame of Tara Stakes and did so in style by five lengths under Billy Lee. She was given a quote of 25-1 with Ladbrokes for the Qipco 1,000 Guineas afterwards.

Racing News

Russell receives caution for Tramore incident

Davy Russell received a caution for the incident at Tramore last Friday week in which he struck his mount Kings Dolly. Russell represented himself when he appeared before a referrals committee of the Turf Club before racing at Killarney on Saturday which considered whether he was in breach of rule 272(i), which relates to "conduct or behaviour which is prejudicial to the integrity, proper conduct or good reputation of horse racing". Denis Egan, chief executive of The Turf Club, said: "The hearing lasted about 25 minutes and Davy gave very fair evidence. He set out what had happened on the way down to the hurdle, which was that he felt his horse was not paying attention. He said if he'd have his life to live over again he'd have let the horse jump the hurdle and deal with the consequences of that. He accepted he was totally wrong and was very remorseful for what he did. I have absolutely no doubt that he won't do it again."

Churchill could tackle Qipco Irish Champion Stakes

Churchill's next run could be in the QIPCO Irish Champion Stakes according to trainer Aidan O'Brien after the colt's first effort over ten furlongs resulted in a creditable second place in the Juddmonte International at York last Wednesday. Connections would have been pleased with that effort behind Ulysses with Churchill having previously run below par in the St James's Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot. Churchill is general 7-4 favourite for the QIPCO Irish Champion Stakes on September 9. O'Brien said: "Churchill seems to be in good form. We have our eye on the Irish Champion Stakes, but it's a possible rather than being written in stone."

Geraghty out for a week

Barry Geraghty looks set to be out of action for a week following a nasty spill at Killarney on Saturday. JP McManus' retained rider took a tumble from Cook Islands who was brought down by Wonderoftheworld at the final flight in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Novice Hurdle and has suffered soft tissue injuries to his back and right shoulder. It is another blow for Geraghty, who only returned from a spell on the sidelines at the Galway Festival after being off since April with a broken arm sustained in a fall from Minella Foru in the BoyleSports Irish Grand National at Fairyhouse. He also missed this year's Cheltenham Festival when suffering lung and rib injuries in a fall at Kempton in February. He broke his other arm in a fall at Market Rasen in July 2016 as well. 

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