HRI Review

Racing Review

Doubles For Apprentices Coen And Leonard

Apprentice jockeys Ben Coen and Killian Leonard shared the riding honours at Dundalk last Thursday week. Both rode doubles with Coen teaming up with Castlecomer, County Kilkenny trainer Pat Murphy to win the opening division of the 8f handicap with 5/1 chance No Approval and then Andy Slattery with Smart Stinger, another 5/1 shot, in the 7f maiden. Leonard won the opening nursery handicap on 8/1 shot Snow Patch, the outsider of four runners, for trainer Darren Bunyan and his second winner came on Ado McGuinness’ Free To Roam in the 6f handicap, a third 5/1 winner on the night. Anthony McCann and Conor McGovern have formed a successful partnership and were on the mark with 20/1 chance Fashaar in the second division of the 8f handicap. Damian English and Rory Cleary took the 7f handicap with 10/1 chance Mokhalad while Dermot McLoughlin and Shane Foley won the 12f handicap with 4/1 chance Commander Won. Also among the winners were Andy Oliver and Leigh Roche who took the 10f handicap with 4/1 joint-favourite Pivotal Connection. 

Manning Rounds Off 2017 With Dundalk Treble

Kevin Manning ended his year on a high with three winners at the final Dundalk meeting of 2017 last Friday week. Manning shared two of his winners with Jim Bolger but his first of the session came courtesy of Peter Fahey who saddled 4/1 chance Canford Art to win the 5f maiden. Manning followed up straight away on the Bolger-trained Theobald in the 8f conditions’ event at odds of 11/10 favourite and rounded off a profitable evening on 20/1 chance Mainicin in the 10f handicap, a second winner for his father-in-law. Pat Smullen was also among the winners as 3/1 joint-favourite Kirk’s Dancer took the 12f maiden and champion jockey Colin Keane took the final race of the year at the venue on the Pat Martin-trained 6/1 chance in the 10f handicap. David Marnane and Donagh O’Connor landed the apprentice rated race with 100/30 shot Settle For Bay while Zihba, trained by Fozzy Stack and ridden by Billy Lee, won the 7f maiden at odds of 15/8. Richard O’Brien enjoyed a great first year as a trainer and the County Clare native teamed up with Wayne Lordan to take the 7f handicap with 20/1 chance Beach Bar. 

Footpad Impresses In Leopardstown Grade 1

Willie Mullins and Paul Townend got the Leopardstown Christmas Festival off to the best possible start when Footpad ran out the impressive winner of the Grade 1 Racing Post Novice Chase on St Stephen's Day. Jumping well in the hands of the former champion jockey, the 4/6 favourite went clear in the straight to record an 11-length victory over Any Second Now. Mullins completed a double on the card when Blackbow, the 5/4 favourite, took the bumper in the hands of Patrick Mullins. Gavin Cromwell and Mark Walsh landed the main supporting race as 1/2 favourite Espoir D’allen won the Grade 2 Knight Frank Juvenile Hurdle in the colours of JP McManus. Daniel Holden, who is 20 years of age and from Mullinavat, County Kilkenny, rode his first winner when partnering the Henry De Bromhead-trained 50/1 outsider Ellie Mac to success in the four-year-old maiden hurdle. De Bromhead also took the 2m maiden hurdle with the Davy Russell-ridden 4/1 chance Paloma Blue and completed a treble when amateur rider Liam Quinlan won the handicap chase on 16/1 shot Tisamystery. Tom Mullins and Sean McDermott teamed up to take the 2m2f handicap hurdle with Sparky Stowaway which was returned at odds of 10/1. 

Doubles For John Joe Walsh And Rachael Blackmore At Limerick

St Stephen's Day at Limerick was kind to both John Joe Walsh and Rachael Blackmore who recorded doubles. The pair combined to take the opening three-year-old maiden hurdle with 4/1 chance Lady In Lavender and the champion conditional rider got her second winner straight away when taking the 2m4f hurdle on 7/2 chance Ex Patriot for Ellmarie Holden. The veteran Doneraile trainer then won the 2m3f maiden hurdle with 9/4 favourite Shower Cross which was ridden by Ambrose McCurtin. The featured Grade 2 chase went to the Gordon Elliott-trained Dounikos which took advantage of the final fence fall of Al Boum Photo to win at odds of 14/1 under Andrew Ring. The 11/2 chance Gracemount won the mares’ handicap hurdle for Ballindaggin, County Wexford trainer Sean Doyle and amateur rider Harley Dunne. Shay Barry and Kevin Sexton took the 2m3f handicap chase with 20/1 chance Patsio while the bumper was won by the well-supported 6/4 favourite Minnies Secret which was ridden for Charles Byrnes by Ray Barron. 

Elliott Dominates At Down Royal With Four Winners

Gordon Elliott is no stranger to dominating at race meetings and he took Down Royal’s St Stephen's Day event by storm with four winners. Jamie Codd rode two of them when taking the beginners’ chase on 8/13 favourite Sutton Manor and the 2m maiden hurdle on 7/2 chance Stooshie. Donie McInerney teamed up with Minellafordollars, another 7/2 chance, in the 2m3f maiden hurdle and Eric Roche, a brother of Leigh Roche, rode his first winner when taking the 2m handicap hurdle on 9/1 shot Cubomania. Nina Carberry weighed in with two winners, taking the hunters’ chase on the Enda Bolger-trained 5/4 favourite Gilgamboa and the bumper on Noel Meade’s 7/4 chance Brace Yourself. Seamus Fahey and Sean Flanagan won the handicap chase with 7/1 shot The Informer. 

Drama At Leopardstown On Day Two Of Christmas Festival

The disqualification of Min and a remarkably eventful novice hurdle were the two big talking points on the second day of the Leopardstown Christmas Festival on Wednesday. While Min was first past the post in the Grade 1 chase, he had clearly hampered Simply Ned on the long run from the final fence and his disqualification was almost inevitable. The stewards duly reversed the placings handing victory to the 16/1 chance which was ridden by Mark Walsh for Nicky Richards. The drama in the Grade 1 novice hurdle began at the penultimate flight where even-money favourite Mengli Khan ran out through the wing. The Willie Mullins-trained pair of Sharjah and Real Steel jumped the last in unison but they both fell leaving the way clear for another Closutton inmate, Whiskey Sour, to win at odds of 9/1 under David Mullins. The champion trainer had won the opening three-year-old maiden hurdle with the impressive looking Mr Adjudicator which was returned the 5/4 favourite and he got a third winner on the day when Carefully Selected, a 3/1 joint-favourite, won the bumper in great style in the hands of Patrick Mullins. Gordon Elliott and Davy Russell won the beginners’ chase with 3/1 chance Tycoon Prince while 4/1 shot Trainwreck was another winner for Henry De Bromhead in the 2m handicap hurdle, this one ridden by Dylan Robinson. The most valuable race on the day was the Paddy Power Chase and it went to 14/1 shot Anibale Fly which was ridden for Tony Martin by Donagh Meyler. 

Cheltenham Festival Target for Crackerdancer

Crackerdancer, trained by Ray Hackett, will be aimed at the mares’ novices’ hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival following her runaway success in the mares’ maiden hurdle at Limerick on Wednesday. Backed from 3/1 to 13/8, the seven-year-old scored a 25-length success in the hands of amateur rider Eoin O’Brien and was adding to three earlier bumper wins. The Willie Mullins-trained Sympa Des Flos, backed from 9/4 to even-money, took the 2m6f maiden hurdle by all of 16 lengths under Danny Mullins and the only other winning favourite on the card was 4/6 chance Burning Ambition which won the hunters’ chase by 13 lengths for Pierce Power and Rob James and is another that might be heading to Cheltenham in March. Tom Donoghue and Paddy Kennedy won the 2m handicap hurdle with 7/1 chance Rock On Lilly while the 3m handicap hurdle went to Allez Kal which was ridden for Gowran trainer James Barcoe by Cathal Landers. Landers went on to complete the first double of his career and rode his biggest winner when De Benno, trained by James Grace, won the feature Tim Duggan Memorial Handicap Chase. Donie McInerney and Paul Nolan combined to take the rated novice hurdle with 7/1 chance Monotype. 

Road To Respect Lands Leopardstown Christmas Chase

Noel Meade gained his fourth success in the Grade 1 Leopardstown Christmas Chase and Sean Flanagan rode his second Grade 1 winner when 8/1 chance Road To Respect won the feature race at the Dublin venue on Thursday. The six-year-old led home a 1-2-3 for owners Gigginstown House Stud in a race where both Sizing John and Yorkhill ran below par. There was no such surprise in the Grade 1 Squared Financial Christmas Hurdle which went to 4/6 favourite Apple’s Jade for Gigginstown House Stud, Gordon Elliott and Davy Russell. The race was marred by the fatal fall of eight-time Grade 1 winner Nichols Canyon. Elliott and Roger Loughran had taken the opening maiden hurdle with 11/4 chance Flawless Escape and Noel Meade and Sean Flanagan were also to finish the day with doubles as Snow Falcon took the beginners’ chase at odds of 11/8. Joseph O'Brien also enjoyed two winners with the Shane Shortall-ridden Hardback taking the 2m handicap hurdle at odds of 16/1 while Alighted, ridden by Barry O’Neill, landed the bumper at the same odds. The 3m handicap hurdle went the way of Peter Fahey and Richie Deegan who landed the spoils with 33/1 chance Mine Now. 

Toushan Lands Veterans’ Handicap Chase For Fahey And Sexton

Peter Fahey kept up the good work at Limerick on Thursday where Toushan gave him his third success of the week in the 2m6f veterans’ handicap chase. A second winner of the week for Kevin Sexton, the 5/2 favourite was left in the lead at the penultimate fence and ran out an eight-length winner. Joseph O'Brien was another enjoying a good Christmas week and he took the bumper with the Tom Hamilton-ridden 13/8 favourite High Sparrow. Gordon Elliott is unstoppable and he won the Grade 3 hurdle with 4/1 chance Duca De Thaix which was ridden by Jonathan Moore. Harry Kelly and Eamon Corbett combined to win the 2m maiden hurdle with the gutsy 3/1 shot Great Trango while Surf Instructor was equally game when taking the rated novice chase at odds of 9/2 for Henry De Bromhead and Phillip Enright. Carrigtwohill trainer Noel O’Neill won the 2m maiden hurdle with 5/2 chance Ministerforsport while his fellow County Cork trainer Brian O’Keeffe, from Doneraile, captured the 2m5f handicap hurdle with 5/1 chance The Grey Guy which was ridden by Paddy Mangan. 

Faugheen Falters As Mick Jazz Lands Ryanair Hurdle

Faugheen suffered a shock defeat in the Grade 1 Ryanair Hurdle as victory went to the Gordon Elliott-trained Mick Jazz at Leopardstown on Friday. Ridden by Davy Russell, the 14/1 chance got his head in front early on the run-in and pulled nicely clear of Cilaos Emery. Faugheen was sent off the 2/11 favourite but he was pulled-up before the second last hurdle and was dismounted by Paul Townend. Elliott was completing a Grade 1 double as 35 minutes earlier Shattered Love won the Neville Hotels Novice Chase at odds of 10/1 in the hands of Mark Walsh. Her task was made all the easier by the fall of even-money favourite Monalee. Willie Mullins and Paul Townend took the Grade 3 mares’ hurdle with even-money favourite Let’s Dance and the champion trainer gained a third bumper success of the week at Leopardstown when 3/1 chance Minella Encore won the bumper in the hands of his son Patrick. Henry De Bromhead completed a double of his own when Dicey O’Reilly and Mind’s Eye both won 2m4f hurdle races. They were returned at 18/1 and 4/1 favourite and were ridden by Dylan Robinson and Davy Russell respectively. Tom Mullins and Shane Crimin won the opportunity handicap chase with 13/2 joint-favourite Spider Web.

Danny Mullins Shares Limerick Double With Uncle Willie

Danny Mullins and his uncle Willie Mullins shared two winners at Limerick on Friday. The pair took the mares’ beginners’ chase with 11/8 favourite Kate Appleby Shoes and were also on the mark with 8/13 favourite Fabulous Saga in the Grade 3 hurdle. On a good day for favourite backers, 3/1 chance Cappacurry Zak won the rated novice chase for Leslie Young and Ryan Treacy while 10/11 shot Off You Go, ridden by Donie McInerney, gave Charles Byrnes a second winner of the week in the 2m4f handicap hurdle. Ray Hackett also captured his second winner of the festival when The Ballyboys won the 2m3f handicap hurdle under Jonathan Burke. Bryan Cooper and Mouse Morris combined to win the 2m3f maiden hurdle with 7/4 chance Beyond The Law while his father Tom won the bumper with 12/1 chance Jammy George which was ridden by Donal Lavery. 

Elliott Rounds Off 2017 With Punchestown Treble

Gordon Elliott ended a hugely successful year with three winners at Punchestown on New Year's Eve. He shared his treble with Davy Russell and the pair got off the mark with 8/11 favourite Monbeg Notorious in the opening beginners’ chase. Robin Des Mana possibly had a little luck on his side when winning the 2m handicap chase as he was left clear by the final fence exit of 7/4 favourite Surrogate Lad to win at odds of 7/1. The trebles were completed when 100/30 chance Veneer Of Charm won the three-year-old maiden hurdle on his jumping debut. Possibly the highlight of the day was the winning return of Killultagh Vic in the 2m4f hurdle. The 9/10 favourite jumped poorly but was too strong for Ex Patriot on the run to the line to win for Willie Mullins and Paul Townend. A more difficult winner to find was 25/1 outsider Returntovendor which battled well to win the 2m4f handicap hurdle for Jarlath Fahey and Ian McCarthy. Clane, County Kildare trainer Shane Nolan and Eoin O’Connell took the opportunity handicap hurdle with 3/1 co-favourite Urbanist while the final race of the year went to Denis Hogan and PJ Cawley as 13/2 chance Moyhenna landed the bumper. 

Two More For Elliott As 2018 Begins

Gordon Elliott will have big hopes for 2018 and he certainly started on the right note with two winners at Fairyhouse on New Year's Day. He won the opening 2m4f maiden hurdle with the Davy Russell-ridden 11/4 shot Dortmund Park and better was to come as Sutton Place made a winning return and a winning start to his career over fences in the beginners’ chase. Mark Walsh partnered the 4/6 favourite to a cosy success over his main market rival, the Willie Mullins-trained Kemboy. Mags Mullins and her son Danny took the mares’ maiden hurdle with 13/8 favourite Martello Park and the winning rider followed up in the 2m7f handicap hurdle on the David Broad-trained 12/1 chance Mystic Embarr. James Reilly from Carbury, County Kildare rode his first winner when taking the 2m handicap hurdle on the Oliver McKiernan-trained 10/1 chance Luckyinmilan. Newmarket-On-Fergus trainer Aengus King and Barry Browne won the 3m1f handicap chase with 9/1 shot Capture The Drama while the bumper went the way of Dunvegan which made all the running at odds of 2/1 for the father and son team of Pat and Conor Fahy. 

Listed Success For Mullins and Townend At Tramore

Bachasson was in a class of his own as he easily landed the featured listed chase at Tramore on New Year's Day. The even-money favourite went clear between the final two fences to beat A Toi Phil by 13 lengths and is now a three-time winner over fences. Townend had to work far harder for his earlier win on French-import and 4/7 favourite Deal D’estruval, another trained by Mullins, in the 2m5f maiden hurdle. Chateauneuf Du Pap made a winning start for trainer Ellmarie Holden when successful in the 2m maiden hurdle under Rachael Blackmore. Cubomania, a winner at Down Royal on St Stephen's Day, followed up with the minimum of fuss in the 2m handicap hurdle for Gordon Elliott and Jack Kennedy who was riding his first winner since Christmas. Paul Nolan and Dylan Robinson have had a better time of it of late and they took the rated novice chase with 4/1 chance Peculiar Genius. Cerca Trova, an 8/1 chance, was left in the lead by the final fence fall of Killare Castle to win the 2m5f handicap chase for Jim Dreaper and Andrew Lynch. County Tipperary trainer John Lonergan sent out his first winner when 8/1 shot Pump Road, ridden by Andrew Ring, won the 2m 5f handicap hurdle 

Racing News

Racing Mourns The Passing Of Noel O’Brien

Noel O’Brien, the long-standing Turf Club National Hunt handicapper, died in St. James’s Hospital in Dublin a week before Christmas. He was 57. A native of Caragh, County Kildare, O’Brien joined the Turf Club straight from school and held a number of positions in that organisation before becoming the overall senior jumps handicapper in 1995. Brian Kavanagh, CEO of Horse Racing Ireland, said, “Noel was a wonderful ambassador for Irish racing and always had time for everyone. He was a very popular figure in a job which doesn’t always lend itself to popularity.”

Horse Racing Ireland Announces 2018 Industry Budget

Irish racing’s budget for 2018 was approved at the Horse Racing Ireland Board meeting on Monday December 18 and will deliver on commitments previously made, including those in the areas of prizemoney, people training, integrity services and point-to-points. Prudence in previous years has enabled HRI to build up reserves and those funds will be needed to carry out budgeted programmes in 2018. Prizemoney for the year will rise by €2.2m to a record figure of €63.3m. This is due in part to eight extra fixtures to be staged, enhanced support for the inaugural Dublin Racing Festival in February and the full year effect of programmes introduced in 2017. Prizemoney grants for point-to-points will increase by 23%. There will be continued capital funding for racecourses to enhance the experience for the general public, those working in the industry, and owners.  Major capital projects are on-going at the Curragh, Galway, Naas and Punchestown, with many other racecourse improvements underway or due to commence in 2018, supported by grant aid from HRI.

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