HRI Review

Racing Review

Dundalk Doubles For Trainers Joseph O’Brien And Pat Martin

Joseph O’Brien’s career as a trainer is flying and he notched up two more winners on the all-weather at Dundalk on Friday night. He combined with his brother Donnacha to land the opening 12f maiden with 9/4 favourite Uncle Henry and followed up later on the card with the Wayne Lordan-ridden Boragh Steps, a 7/4 chance, in the 6f conditions’ race. Lordan was winning his second race of the night as he had earlier combined with in-form Pat Martin to take the 10f handicap with 8/1 shot Adieux. And Navan-based Martin got a second winner when 7/1 chance Ishebayorgrey readily won the 7f handicap under Killian Leonard. Kildare jockey Gary Carroll won the 8f handicap on 20/1 outsider Prove The Point for Michael Mulvaney. Sean Corby was in the saddle as the Liam Cusack-trained Bog War, a 7/2 joint-favourite, won the opening division of the 12f handicap while the second leg of the same race went to Ben Coen on the Pat Murphy-trained 5/1 chance Carvelas. Ado McGuinness and Robbie Downey prevailed in the finale as 7/1 shot Master Speaker got up in the dying strides to win from the gambled-on Bien Chase.  

Charles Byrnes And Phillip Enright Take Navan Feature

The featured Navan Handicap Hurdle on Saturday went the way of Ballingarry, County Limerick trainer Charles Byrnes and Phillip Enright as Hareth scored a narrow victory over Miles To Memphis. At odds of 8/1, the eight-year-old was the longest-priced winner of the afternoon. The opening rated novice hurdle was won by the well-backed 4/1 favourite Riders Onthe Storm which was ridden for Tom Taaffe by JJ Slevin. Jessica Harrington and Robbie Power took the 2m4f maiden hurdle with 3/1 chance Not Many Left which was backed from 6/1 on-course. Dermot McLoughlin and Danny Hand took the handicap hurdle over the same trip with 6/1 shot Wee Small Hours while David Mullins was in the plate as 9/4 chance Bonbon Au Miel won the 2m4f beginners’ chase for Willie Mullins. The handicap chase over 3m was won by jockey James O’Sullivan on the Philip Rothwell-trained 7/2 chance Rightback Atya while Lisa O’Neill did the steering as Gordon Elliott’s Diamond Turf won the bumper at odds of 100/30.

Gordon Elliott On Top At Thurles On Sunday

Gordon Elliott was very much the man to follow at a wet Thurles on Sunday where he ended the day with four winners for owners Gigginstown House Stud. He won both feature races on the card with 6/4 chance A Toi Phil impressing under Jack Kennedy in the Grade 3 Horse & Jockey Hotel Kinloch Brae Chase and Dinaria Des Obeaux winning the Grade 2 Coolmore National Hunt Sires Irish EBF Mares Novice Chase in similar fashion under the same rider at odds of 11/10 favourite. Kennedy had initiated a treble for himself when taking the 2m maiden hurdle on Elliott’s 7/1 chance Pete So High and Davy Russell got in on the winning act when taking the conditions’ hurdle with 12/1 shot Dortmund Park for the Cullentra trainer. Adrian Maguire and his son Finny landed the 2m handicap hurdle with 10/1 chance Knockraha Pylon while Kopookris was left in front to win the handicap chase for Liam Cusack and Denis O'Regan by the final fence falls of rivals Teacher’s Pet and Positive Approach. Gilgamboa will be aimed at the bigger hunter chases at home after his 10-length success over Foxrock in the finale. He is not eligible for either the Cheltenham and Aintree festivals this year. 

Racing News

Inaugural Dublin Racing Festival Attracts Bumper Entry

Day one of the inaugural Dublin Racing Festival on Saturday, February 3 has attracted very strong entries. An intriguing clash of top hurdlers Buveur D’Air and Faugheen might well be on the cards in the BHP Insurance Irish Champion Hurdle. Star novice Samcro also features among the 17 entries for the €150,000 event. Willie Mullins has made five entries and along with Faugheen, winner of the race in 2016, the champion trainer has entered Melon, Cilaos Emery, Bapaume and Yorkhill. Samcro is however likely to head the runners in the Nathaniel Lacy & Partners Solicitors Novice Hurdle while 15 Irish-trained Cheltenham Gold Cup hopefuls are among the entry for the €200,000 Unibet Irish Gold Cup with Noel Meade’s Road To Respect, Anibale Fly, trained by Tony Martin, Eddie Harty’s Coney Island, Jessica Harrington’s Our Duke and Joseph O'Brien’s Edwulf in the early line-up. Three trainers have made multiple entries for the race with five runners from the Willie Mullins stable, including Total Recall, Killultagh Vic and Bachasson. Gordon Elliott has Cheltenham hopefuls Mala Beach and Outlander on his team while Henry De Bromhead has entered three horses, Balko Des Flos, Sub Lieutenant and Outlander. Minella Rocco and Definitly Red hold entries in the Cheltenham Gold Cup and they could yet represent trainers Jonjo O’Neill and Brian Ellison at Leopardstown. Espoir D’allen and Mr Adjudicator were winners for trainers Gavin Cromwell and Willie Mullins at the Leopardstown Christmas Festival and they head 10 entries for the Grade 1 Tattersalls Ireland Spring Juvenile Hurdle. 

Harrington Has Our Duke Primed For Unibet Irish Gold Cup 

Our Duke had connections predicting a lordly performance at Leopardstown next month after the Irish Grand National winner headlined the entries for the Unibet Irish Gold Cup, highlight of the second day of the inaugural Dublin Racing Festival. Entries for the two-day festival were unveiled last Tuesday and featured a plethora of Ireland's most exciting horses, including Getabird, Samcro and Footpad. Trainer Jessica Harrington has leading claims in the Unibet Irish Gold Cup with Our Duke which has not been seen since finishing last on his seasonal debut at Down Royal's Champion Chase in November, after which he received treatment for a kissing spine. Harrington said, “He's run well fresh in the past and if we can have him in the same sort of form he was in when he won the Irish National then he should run a big race in the Unibet Irish Gold Cup.”

Yorkhill Among Mullins' Stars In Line To Run At The Dublin Racing Festival

Yorkhill will be one of Willie Mullins' stars to line out at the Dublin Racing Festival, the champion trainer revealed at the launch of the inaugural weekend Leopardstown fixture at his Closutton stables early last week. Mullins also revealed that if all continues to go well with Faugheen, the former Champion Hurdle winner could reappear in the BHP Insurance Irish Champion Hurdle , a race he also won two years ago. Like Faugheen, Yorkhill disappointed at the Leopardstown Christmas festival and the Andrea and Graham Wylie-owned eight-year-old is set for a dramatic drop in distance. Yorkhill was the yard's number one Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup hope before Christmas, according to the betting, but his first attempt at three miles could be his last, with Mullins believing it is time to concentrate on his speed rather than trying to stretch his stamina. Mullins said, “If we think he's Champion Hurdle class we could have a potential Champion Chase horse. We'll go down the two-mile chase route and if that doesn't work we'll go back to hurdling. I'm happy enough for him to run in the Grade 2 Coral Dublin Chase at the Dublin Racing Festival early next month.”

Un De Sceaux Wins Third Clarence House Chase

Un De Sceaux got the job done like the ultimate professional he always is as the Willie Mullins-trained 10-year-old made it a third straight win in the Clarence House at Ascot, scoring comfortably at odds of 4-9. Paul Townend was once again deputising for the injured Ruby Walsh and he took it up on the home turn. Brain Power was challenging but looked held when coming down two from home. Un De Sceaux is now 5-2 favourite to retain his Ryanair Chase crown at the Cheltenham Festival. He is now the winner of eight Grade 1 races and has brought his total prize-money to Stg£1m.

2018 Irish Thoroughbred Marketing Irish Stallion Trail A Tremendous Success

The 2018 Irish Thoroughbred Marketing Irish Stallion Trail was declared a tremendous success after large crowds turned out on Friday January 12 and Saturday January 13, visiting a record 29 stud farms, many of whom experienced increased numbers on the 2017 high of over 2,000 visitors, with a rise in the number of breeders in attendance. An additional 12 Group 1 winners joining the Irish stallion ranks in 2018 was undoubtedly a huge draw for the breeders that travelled from all over the country, as well as from France, Germany and Britain. A group of 40 owners and breeders also travelled over from the Czech Republic.

Sumos Novios Set To Carry Colours Of Gowran Race Club In Thyestes

Liam Burke knows what it takes to win the Goffs Thyestes Handicap Chase and will be bidding to follow-up on the 2016 success of My Murphy with Sumos Novios, who tackles the €100,000 Gowran Park showpiece on Thursday. To add an extra dimension, Sumos Novios is set to carry the colours of the Gowran Park Racing Club as part of the Experience It campaign, which was launched by Horse Racing Ireland last summer. It means Burke, who also owns Sumos Novios, will lease out the ten-year-old for the day, offering the club a chance to experience the buzz of watching their own horse compete in one of the most lucrative handicap chases in the calendar. The Cork trainer said, “I've been thinking about this for a while now and I spoke to Amber Byrne [at Horse Racing Ireland] and Eddie Scally [Gowran Park manager] and we got everything together. Hopefully the horse will run well and everybody involved will have a good day out.”

Cheltenham Legend Spot Thedifference Dies At The Age Of 25

Spot Thedifference, a star performer in cross-country races at Cheltenham, has died at owner JP McManus's Martinstown Stud in County Limerick at the age of 25. Trained throughout his career by Enda Bolger, Spot Thedifference will always be associated with the late John Thomas McNamara, who rode him to 11 of his 14 wins during a 51-race career. McNamara rode him to all seven of his cross-country wins at Cheltenham, which included a victory at the festival in 2005, and was also on board for Spot Thedifference's two wins in the La Touche Cup at Punchestown in 2004 and 2007. He also rode him in his final race, when he won at Cheltenham in November 2007 at the age of 14. The other riders who won races on Spot Thedifference are Ruby Walsh, who rode him to handicap chase wins at Roscommon and Kilbeggan in the summer of 2001, and Mark Grant, who rode him to his first racecourse win in a hunter chase at Clonmel in 1999.

New Date For Fairyhouse Fixture

Following the cancellation, due to a covering of snow on the course, of the Fairyhouse meeting which was scheduled for last Wednesday, Horse Racing Ireland has announced that this meeting will now be held at Fairyhouse on Wednesday February 14. Entries for this meeting will close by 12 noon on Thursday, February 8 with declarations to run to be made by 10am on Tuesday, February 13. 

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