HRI Review

Racing Review

Early Double For Pat Smullen At The Curragh

Pat Smullen took the riding honours at the Curragh on Bank Holiday Monday with two winners. The champion jockey landed the first two races on the card with the Michael Halford-trained Riyazan taking the 7f maiden at odds of 20/1 while 3/1 chance Kailee, trained locally by Bill Farrell, winning the fillies’ maiden over the same distance. Smullen had to settle for second place on his next two rides. Riding 11/8 favourite I Am Power, he lost out by a length to the Donnacha O’Brien-ridden Fleet Review in the 6f conditions’ race, the 5/2 shot winning for the rider’s father Aidan. And Smullen went closer again on The Great Wall which failed by a head behind Comhghairdeas in the 6f maiden, the winner ridden for Andy Slattery by Declan McDonogh. Ballingarry-based Richard O’Brien saddled Alans Pride to win the 6f Handicap, the well-supported 3/1 favourite winning under Gary Halpin. Donal Kinsella, who trains in Dunleer, County Louth, was on the mark in the 6f handicap with Ducky Mallon which won at odds of 11/2 in the hands of Niall McCullagh. Evan Daly partnered Captain Cullen to win the apprentice handicap for Navan trainer Joseph Murray. 

All Too Easy For Ruby Walsh At Cork

Ruby Walsh hardly had to move a muscle on either of the winners he rode at Cork on Monday. He landed the 3m conditions’ hurdle on the Willie Mullins-trained Coquin Mans which was returned the 9/10 favourite and teamed up with in-form Peter Fahey to win the 2m3f handicap hurdle by all of seven lengths on 7/1 chance Carlitos Bay. The Gordon Elliott-trained Brutal, sent off the 1/2 favourite, jumped well as he won the first three-year-old hurdle of the season under Davy Russell. The mares’ maiden hurdle went the way of the Terence O’Brien-trained 5/2 shot Lakemilan which scored an easy success in the hands of David Splaine. John Kiely and Andrew Lynch teamed up to win the 2m handicap hurdle with 7/2 favourite Line Out while 7/1 joint-favourite Slievenamon won the mares’ handicap hurdle for Kilsheelan, County Tipperary trainer Eric Larkin and JJ Slevin. Awbeg Prince, trained in Charleville, County Cork by Mickey O’Connor had an easy time of it in the bumper, scoring by five lengths under Chris O’Donovan who was riding his second winner at the track. 

Weld And Smullen Give Thanks At Cork

Dermot Weld and Pat Smullen were the big winners at Cork on Tuesday evening when 7/4 favourite Eziyra comfortably landed the Group 3 Irish Stallion Farms EBF Give Thanks Stakes. After a prolonged quiet spell for the stable, Weld enjoyed two winners at the Galway festival and all the indications are that his horses are coming back to form. This was his first Group winner in Ireland this season. Aidan O'Brien took the Listed Platinum Stakes with 5/2 favourite Sir John Lavery which beat the Weld and Smullen combination into second place with Rose De Pierre. O’Brien also won the opening fillies’ maiden with 2/5 favourite Magical which was ridden by his son Donnacha. David Marnane and Killian Leonard landed the apprentice handicap with 9/2 chance Tennesse Waltz while over the same 7f trip, the Pat Fahy-trained Stormy Belle won the fillies’ handicap at odds of 8/1 under Declan McDonogh. Johnny Feane and Gary Halpin won the 12f handicap with 16/1 chance Peace Marker and the final race of the night went to 11/1 chance Universal Focus which was ridden for Ross O’Sullivan by Gary Carroll. 

A Second Winner For Weld As Zabalan Scores At Roscommon

Dermot Weld added to his Group race success at Cork when the Leigh Roche-ridden Zabalan took the 10f handicap at Roscommon on Tuesday night. Sent off a 10/1 chance, he was well on top inside the final furlong and had little difficulty in beating Pincheck by two and a quarter lengths. To the delight of punters, Ger Lyons and championship leader Colin Keane recorded a first and last race double. The pair took the opening fillies’ maiden with evens favourite Ball Girl and won the finale with 9/10 favourite Cannonball which readily saw off his main market rival Red Label. Jessica Harrington, trainer of Pincheck and Red Label, enjoyed better luck with 8/1 chance Ballot Box which won the nursery handicap over the extended 7f. Johnny Feane was another on the mark at Cork and he sent out Not A Bad Oul Day to win the rated race under Newmarket-On-Fergus, County Clare, apprentice Dylan Hogan who was riding his eighth winner of the season. Texas Katie, trained in Nenagh by Ray Hackett and ridden by Emmet McNamara was the 14/1 winner of the handicap over the extended 7f while at odds of 25/1, Kilcock’s Robbie Downey partnered the Keith Clarke-trained Jeremys Joy to win the 12f handicap. 

Hat-Trick For Peter Casey’s Eight Till Late At Sligo

The Peter Casey-trained Eight Till Late completed a hat-trick of wins when taking the 2m1f handicap chase at Sligo on Tuesday. Again ridden by Andrew Ring, the 9/4 favourite was in front after the penultimate fence and made the best of his way home to score from Presenting Mahler. Another successful favourite was 3/1 chance Neddyvaughan which came from off the pace to win another handicap chase over the same distance for Christy Roche and Jody McGarvey. Kinsale trainer Robert Tyner and Barry Geraghty teamed up to win the mares’ beginners chance with 9/10 favourite Dont Kick Nor Bite but odds-on backers suffered a reversal in the opening beginners’ chase over 2m1f as 5/1 chance Delegate got the better of 8/11 favourite Roconga to win for Gordon Elliott and Davy Russell. Curragh trainer Alan Fleming and Paul Townend teamed up to win the rated chase with 4/1 chance Tiliver while Dorkas was the winner of the 3m handicap chase at odds of 11/1 for Nenagh trainer Jimmy Finn and Brian O'Connell. 

Spanish Steps Ahead At Leopardstown

The Aidan O'Brien-trained Spanish Steps comfortably saw off the late challenge of his stable companion and odds-on favourite Johannes Vermeer to land the Group 3 GRENKE Finance Ballyroan Stakes at Leopardstown on Thursday. Not short of his own market support, the 6/1 chance made most of the running under Seamus Heffernan to see off the Ryan Moore-ridden 4/5 chance by half-a-length. The Ballydoyle handler completed a double when 4/5 favourite Abyssinian readily won the 12f maiden in the hands of his son Donnacha. Dermot Weld and Pat Smullen combined to take the 9f fillies’ maiden with 5/2 favourite Espoir D’Soleil which was building on a fine first effort at the Galway festival. The Nick Coen Lifetime In Racing Handicap went to 12/1 chance Cassells Rock which was ridden for Tony Martin by Shane Foley. Jessica Harrington and Colm O’Donoghue won the 6f maiden with 4/1 chance Landshark while 7/2 shot Zeeyalater took the handicap over the same trip for Summerhill, County Meath trainer Sheila Lavery and Gary Carroll. The only apprentice to ride a winner on the card was Denis Linehan. Hailing form Glantane, County Cork, he got 20/1 chance Delaire home by three-parts of a length for Enniscorthy, County Wexford based Noel Dooly in the 9f handicap. 

Ruby Walsh On The Double At Sligo

Ruby Walsh rode two odds-on winners and his sister Katie also got in on the winning act at Sligo on Thursday. The champion jockey had an easy enough time of it on 10/11 favourite Ted Veale in the 2m conditions’ hurdle, Tony Martin’s ten-year-old comfortably holding his main market rival The Game Changer from the final hurdle. Walsh had to work a little harder on Ben Button in the 2m4f handicap hurdle, the Galway festival winner following up at odds of 2/5 for Willie Mullins. Katie Walsh landed the bumper on the Conor O’Dwyer-trained Sunrise Lady, the 4/1 chance winning by six lengths from the well-backed Mysloegin to give the successful rider her first victory at the track. Joseph O'Brien and Davy Russell took the opening 2m maiden hurdle with 16/1 chance Hardback which was easily the best result of the night for bookmakers. Dundrum Lad, at odds of 6/1, won the 2m handicap hurdle for Mags Mullins and Jody McGarvey and the colours of owner JP McManus were also carried to victory on 7/2 chance Market’s Field which won the 3m handicap hurdle for Enda Bolger and Donie McInerney, a fifth success in the saddle for the County Limerick rider. Trainer Brian Cawley and 16-year-old Liam Gilligan enjoyed their first winners as 8/1 chance Nellie Pledge won the opportunity maiden hurdle. Cawley is based in Craughwell, County Galway. In his riding days, he won the Martinstown Opportunity Series in the 2013/2014 season. His biggest success in the saddle came on the Charlie Swan-trained Make A Track in the Tim Duggan Memorial Handicap Chase at the Limerick Christmas festival in 2013. 

Ballet Shoes To Star On A Bigger Stage After Tipperary Win

The Aidan O'Brien-trained Ballet Shoes is sure to go on to bigger and better things judged by her impressive victory in the Listed Coolmore Ivawood Stakes at Tipperary on Friday evening. Ridden by Donnacha O’Brien and sent off an 11/4 chance, the daughter of Galileo raced clear well inside the final furlong to win by all of three and a quarter lengths from Ger Lyons’ 6/4 favourite Lethal Steps. Lyons and Colin Keane enjoyed better fortune when they landed the 5f nursery handicap with evens favourite Treasuring. Specific Gravity won the 9f claiming race for Ado McGuinness and Ronan Whelan at odds of 12/1, the longest-priced winner of the night. Willie McCreery and Nathan Crosse took the Foran Equine Irish EBF Auction Fillies Maiden with 6/1 chance Raramauri and another winner over the minimum trip was the Eddie Lynam-trained 11/4 favourite Magic Bear which won the 5f handicap under Oisin Orr. The opening division of the extended 7f handicap went to 6/1 chance Eleuthera which was ridden for Johnny Levins by Donagh O’Connor and the second leg of the same race was won by 9/1 shot The Last Indian, trained on the Curragh by Aidan Howard and ridden by Pat Smullen. The concluding lady riders’ handicap went to the Gordon Elliott-trained 9/4 chance Ibsen which ran out an easy winner under Lisa O’Neill. 

Two For Townend At Kilbeggan On Saturday Night

Paul Townend bagged two winners at Kilbeggan on Saturday night and both horses won with the minimum of fuss. Mystic Theatre, trained by Willie Mullins, was sent off the 1/3 favourite for the mares’ novice hurdle and she made all under the former champion jockey to win as she liked from Just Janice. There wasn’t quite the same market confidence behind Wonderoftheworld in the 3m1f maiden hurdle but the Alan Fleming-trained 14/1 chance ran out another easy winner from 4/1 shot Coeur Joyeux. John ‘Shark’ Hanlon saddled 10/1 chance Ayelya to win the opening 2m maiden hurdle, the five-year-old making all the running under Brian Hayes. Dermot Mcloughlin and Navan jockey Danny Hand teamed up to win the 2m3f handicap hurdle with 16/1 chance Wee Small Hours and at the same odds, Chris Timmons brought Nobody Home the winner of the handicap chase for trainer Eddie Cawley. A first fence casualty at the Galway festival, A Rated made all the running under Barry O’Neill to win the Kieran Kelly Memorial Beginners Chase at odds of 7/1 for Liam Kenny and could now head to the Listowel festival. Gordon Elliott and champion amateur rider Jamie Codd sent punters home happy as 4/7 favourite Anytime Now won the bumper by all of 27 lengths.

Sioux Nation Heads O’Brien Treble At The Curragh

The Ryan Moore-ridden Sioux Nation gave trainer Aidan O'Brien a remarkable 16th success in the Group 1 Keeneland Phoenix Stakes at the Curragh on Sunday. Sent off a well-supported 2/1 chance, the son of Scat Daddy inflicted a first defeat on Beckford and in doing so denied Gordon Elliott his first top level success on the Flat. The Goffs Vincent O’Brien National Stakes at the Curragh on the second day of Longines Irish Champions Weekend on September 10th is among the options for the half-length winner. O’Brien and Moore also combined to land the Group 3 At The Races Phoenix Stakes with 11/4 favourite Washington DC which beat his own stable companion Cougar mountain by half a length with Gordon Lord Byron the same distance away in third place. The champion trainer and Ryan Moore had initiated their treble when 5/4 favourite Mendelsshon landed the 8f maiden despite edging left inside the final furlong. The opening 5f maiden went to 5/4 chance Brick By Brick which was ridden for Ger Lyons by Colin Keane. Eddie Lynam and Wayne Lordan combined to land the fillies’ race with newcomer Muirin, a 16/1 chance, which saw off the heavily supported 2/5 favourite Sizzling in promising fashion. Local trainers captured the final two races on the card with Willie McCreery’s 3/1 joint-favourite Snowstar coming from off the pace under Nathan Crosse to win the apprentice handicap while Conor Hoban partnered the Michael Halford-trained 9/1 chance Vincy to a cosy success in the Gabriel Curran Memorial Handicap. 

Downpatrick Doubles For Joseph O'Brien and Colin Bowe

Gordon Elliott might have narrowly missed out on a first Group 1 success at the Curragh but he did feature among the winners at Downpatrick on Sunday where both Joseph O'Brien and Colin Bowe registered doubles. Elliott’s success came in the rated hurdle which he won with 7/2 chance Westland Row which was ridden by Davy Russell. Joseph O'Brien took the opening maiden hurdle with the Jody McGarvey-ridden 9/1 chance Unicorn and followed up when Mischievious Max won the 2m6f maiden hurdle at odds of 5/2 under JJ Slevin. Slevin went on to complete a double of his own when Tranquil Magic, the 11/4 favourite, won the 2m6f handicap hurdle giving Enniscorthy trainer Bowe his second winner of the afternoon. Bowe had struck with 100/30 joint-favourite Sharlanda in the earlier mares’ handicap hurdle, the in-foal seven-year-old winning under Sean Flanagan. Curragh trainer Michael Grassick and Danny Mullins won the 2m3f handicap hurdle with 7/1 chance King Of Aran while Barry O’Neill rode his second winner in as many days when landing the bumper on the Edward O'Grady-trained 9/4 chance Slippery Serpent. 

Racing News

ITM Named As An Official Partner Of The Breeders’ Cup World Championships

The Breeders’ Cup has announced Irish Thoroughbred Marketing, which promotes Ireland as a leading source for the production and sale of quality thoroughbreds worldwide, as an official partner of the Breeders’ Cup World Championships. The Breeders’ Cup World Championships, consisting of 13 Grade 1 races with purses and awards totalling more than $28 million, will be held, for the first time, at the Del Mar racetrack near San Diego, California, on November 3rd and 4th. As part of the agreement, Irish Thoroughbred Marketing will have the presenting rights to the Horsemen’s Enclosure at this year’s Breeders’ Cup. The Horsemen’s Enclosure presented by Irish Thoroughbred Marketing will be a private lounge adjacent to the walking ring where horsemen and dignitaries from around the world gather before the World Championships races. Irish-trained horses have won 13 races at the Breeders’ Cup and there have been 27 Irish-bred winners. 

Longines Irish Champions Weekend Launched In Dublin

Ryan Moore and champion jockey Pat Smullen were among the big names at the official launch of Longines Irish Champions Weekend at The Merrion hotel in Dublin early last week. The weekend, which takes place at Leopardstown on Saturday September 9 and at the Curragh on Sunday September 10, is Ireland’s most prestigious Flat racing event and marks the first leg of the European Triple crown of championship race meetings with the QATAR Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe meeting at Longchamp following in early October and QIPCO British Champions Day at Ascot two weeks later. The unique racing event – billed as the race meeting where the best in world come to meet – boasts the highest concentration of quality Flat racing in Ireland. Now in its fourth year, Longines Irish Champions Weekend attracts the world’s finest racehorses and jockeys with two iconic feature races: QIPCO Irish Champion Stakes and The Comer Group International Irish St. Leger. The prize-money over the weekend totals €4.63 million, to be won across 16 races, made up of ten Group races, five of which are Group 1 events.

New Family Enclosure For Longines Irish Champions Weekend Announced For The Curragh

Day two of Longines Irish Champions Weekend on Sunday September 10 is set to be an exciting finale to the 2017 season at The Currah. The County Kildare venue is delighted to announce that they will create an exciting Family Friendly Enclosure on September 10, which will be located in the In-Field of the racecourse with fantastic views of all the racing action and accessible to anyone with a race day admission ticket.  The Enclosure will feature a great mix of family friendly entertainment, together with a high quality food and beverage area. Derek McGrath, CEO of The Curragh, said: “We feel that the new enclosure will greatly enhance the customer experience and provide a fun area for families to enjoy what promises to be a magnificent day to showcase the very best that horse racing has to offer and a fitting highlight to finish our 2017 season.”

Milestone Winner For Jamie Spencer

Jamie Spencer joined a select group of riders when Stake Acclaim gave him a landmark 2,000th winner on the Flat in Britain with victory on Ascot's Shergar Cup card. A two-time champion jockey in Britain, Spencer became only the fourth rider still competing to reach 2,000 when the Dean Ivory-trained runner landed the Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup Dash. He made his breakthrough at just 17 years of age when riding Tommy Stack’s Tarascon to victory in the 1998 Irish 1,000 Guineas. Champion apprentice the following year, he was crowned champion jockey in Ireland in 2004 when retained by Ballydoyle. In addition to his Irish wins and now 2,000 Flat successes in Britain, Spencer has also ridden four winners over jumps, including Pizarro at the Cheltenham Festival. Frankie Dettori, Joe Fanning and Ryan Moore are the only other current-day riders who can boast 2,000 British Flat winners. 

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