HRI Review

Racing Review 

Fabulous double for Mullins at Ballinrobe

You don't often see races around Ballinrobe won by 20 lengths but Fabulous Saga bucked the trend on Monday evening with a fabulous front-running display in the 2m5f maiden hurdle. The previous point and bumper winner set a brisk tempo under Ruby Walsh and maintained that strong gallop to score with plenty up his sleeve and winning trainer Willie Mullins will surely be stepping up in grade now. The champion trainer went on to register a double on the night when the four-year-old filly Diamond Hill, sent off the 4-7 favourite, made a taking winning debut in the concluding bumper under his son Patrick.  The feature Burligh Accountancy Handicap Hurdle went the way of the Gordon Elliott-trained Walkabout who enjoyed being ridden more positively than normal under Davy Russell and had seven lengths to spare over The Irregular.  Snugsborough Benny has been doing Liam Cusack proud over the last few months and won for a third time in just four starts when coming out best in a thrilling battle with Rosie Alice in the 2m5f handicap hurdle. 

Alluringly lands Listed feature at Gowran Park

Aidan O'Brien has a whole host of fantastic fillies at his disposal this season and, while Alluringly might not be in the same league as Winter, she did get closer than most to Enable when chasing her home in the Cheshire Oaks in May and gained a second career success in the feature Irish Stallion Farms EBF Hurry Harriet Stakes at Gowran Park on Wednesday evening.  The Listed contest over 1m1f developed into a duel between Alluringly and main market rival Making Light and it was Seamie Heffernan on the 7-4 favourite who pull out more close home to land the spoils by a neck.  Jim Bolger and Kevin Manning teamed up for a double thanks to the wins of Panstarr in the 1m1f fillies handicap and Solar Wave in the 7f nursery, both of whom were returned at odds of 7-1. A field of ten entered the stalls for the McEnery Cup Handicap and it was Fiesole, from the Mooncoin stable of Eoin Doyle, who came home in front in the hands of Denis Linehan at 8-1. 

Patience pays off for Stack's stable star at Leopardstown

When Fozzy Stack took over the training licence from his father Tommy at the start of the season, Alexios Komnenos was one of the star pupils in the Golden stable and he is beginning to justify the hype following a emphatic success in the Group 3 Desmond Stakes at Leopardstown on Wednesday. Injuries have robbed us of seeing the son of Choisir as often as we should but he is certainly making up for lost time and found plenty for pressure under Chris Hayes to dispose of Music Box by a length and a half. Stack was quick to nominate the Group 2 Boomerang Stakes back at Leopardstown next month as Alexios Komenos' next start.  Dermot Weld has failed to live up to expectations this season with a nasty bug to blame for fewer winners than normal but his team are finally beginning to his top gear and the victories of Chiara Luna in the 6f fillies maiden and Bella Estrella in the concluding 1m fillies maiden provided him and Pat Smullen with a double.  Atlas has been hitting the crossbar on plenty of occasions this summer but he deservedly hit the back of the net for Denis Hogan and Leigh Roche in the 1m handicap, doing so in style by five lengths at odds of 3-1.  Ducky Mallon has been a great servant to Dunleer trained Donal Kinsella over the last few years and the gry six-year-old posted a fifth career success in the 6f handicap in the hands of Niall McCullagh. 

Life is a Beach at Tramore

Grade 1-winning hurdler Airlie Beach, who was a fine third behind Tigris River in the Guinness Galway Hurdle, was the star on show on day one of Tramore's four-day festival and she did not let her supporters down. The 30-100 favourite adopted her customary front-running role under Kate Harrington and never saw another rival on the way to a four and a half length victory over Game Puppeteer. She could show up in a Flat maiden over the next few weeks but that will be her last appearance as she is in foal to Mount Nelson. The widest margin winner of the evening was the Henry De Bromhead-trained Mullinavat who jumped for fun under Sean Flanagan on the way to a 21-length success over main market rival Penny Jane.  Gordon Elliott and Davy Russell are forming a formidable partnership of late and they teamed up for a double thanks to the wins of Swingbridge (9-4 favourite) in the 2m6f beginners chase and Fridaynightlights (4-1) in the 2m rated novice hurdle. 

Spruce scores for Feane and Halpin at Dundalk

There was plenty of prize-money on offer at Dundalk on Thursday and the most valuable contest on the card, the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Red God Handicap, threw up the most thrilling finish of the evening with Spruce Meadows edging out Le Vagabond by a short-head. It was an 18th winner of the campaign for Johnny Feane, while winning jockey Gary Halpin now has 16 winners to his name in 2017.  Oisin Orr is a young jockey going places fast and he helped himself to a 119-1 double when steering Freescape (14-1) to victory in the 6f maiden and Wild Shot (7-1) in the 1m apprentice handicap.  Colin Keane's quest for a first Irish jockeys' title is gathering pace and he added another winner to his account when Reckless Endeavour landed the 6f handicap. Brothers Joseph and Donnacha O'Brien combined to take the opening 5f rated race with 5-2 shot Duplication. 

Potters make his point at Tramore

The tastiest dish was served up first at Tramore on Friday evening as Potters Point (6-4 favourite) put in a flawless round of jumping under Davy Russell to take the opening EY Chase in great style by eight lengths in the hands of Davy Russell. It was a second success over fences for Potters Point who could be an ideal type for the Irish Grand National at Fairyhouse next Easter.  Potters Point's trainer Gordon Elliott went on to double his account in the 2m maiden hurdle when the previously luckless Canny Tom made it 26th time lucky under Keith Donoghue.  Touch Of Gold provided Dingle native Michael Kennedy with his first ever winner as a trainer when scoring at Killarney last month and he repeated the feat in the 2m handicap hurdle, once again under Michael's brother Paddy. The 5-1 shot was two and three-quarter lengths too good for Drakaina.  Mooncoin-based Eoin Doyle has a cracking course record at Tramore and he enhanced that further in the 2m5f handicap hurdle thanks to the victory of Ardera Cross under Brian O'Connell. Robbie McNamara sent out Dasmyhoss to win the concluding bumper in the hands of Barry O'Neill. 

George back to best in St Leger trial

Order Of St George returned to his brilliant best in the Group 3 Comer Group International Irish St Leger Trial Stakes at the Curragh on Saturday, winning the race for a third time on the trot. The 1-2 favourite relished the underfoot conditions in the hands of Ryan Moore and coasted to a four-and-three-quarter-length win over Rekindling. The Irish St Leger and the Arc at Deauville are likely to be on his radar now.  My Silver Nails was very unsociable in the 6f nursery, keeping away from the field by Chris Hayes, and it proved a masterstroke as she belied her 14-1 starting price with a comfortable triumph. Kells trainer Mick Mulvaney will now be eyeing a step up in grade with his two-year-old filly who was opening her account at the ninth time of asking.  The biggest gamble of the day arrived ahead of the 7f handicap as the Bill Farrell-trained Xenobia was backed from a morning price of 10-1 into 4-1 favourite at the off and the cash was right on the money as she came home in front under Chris Hayes, who was recording a 74-1 double. 

Saturday to savour for Colin Keane

Having guided Would You Believe to glory earlier on in the day at the Curragh, Colin Keane made the trip south to Tramore and bagged another two winners. He was first successful on High Expectations (5-1) in the 1m4f handicap and then produced Water Sprite (7-2) with a perfectly-timed challenge down the outside to take the 2m handicap. Both of those were trained by Gordon Elliott.  It was a super Saturday for punters as five of the seven favourites were successful. All Of Me (8-13) got the ball rolling in the opening 1m4f maiden for Johnny Murtagh and Shane Foley, while Miss Snossyboots (9-4), Turnabout (4-6), St Stephens Green (11-10) and Rubenesque (5-2) all justified their positions at the head of the market too. 

Magical provides O'Brien with a dozen Debutantes

Aidan O'Brien won the Group 2 Breast Cancer Research Debutante Stakes with Ballydoyle in 2015 and Rhododendron in 2016 and he registered a 12th success in the race with Magical, who upset her better fancied stablemates Happily and September. Donnacha O'Brien sent the daughter of Galileo straight to the front and the 11-1 shot stayed on strongly to see off Happily by a length.  The Group 2 Galileo Irish EBF Futurity Stakes was more punter friendly as the well-backed favourite Rostropovich (11-8) swooped late and fast under Ryan Moore to deny stable companion Coat Of Arms by a short-head.  It was all one-way traffic in the Group 3 Qatar Airways Royal Whip Stakes as the Dermot Weld-trained Shamreen (11-4) sauntered to success under Pat Smullen, winning by far more authority than the winning margin of three and a quarter lengths suggests.  Colin Keane completed a wonderful weekend with a 15-1 double as Gobi Desert (3-1) justified favouritism in the opening 7f maiden and Treasuring (3-1) made all the running in the Group 3 Qatar Racing And Equestrian Club Curragh Stakes. 

Holden and Russell rule in Tramore feature

Ballyhale-based trainer Ellmarie Holden has made a blistering start to her training career and she took the feature Noel Cummins Bookmaker Handicap Chase with Sir Jack Yeats who made all the running and put in a foot-perfect round of jumping under Davy Russell. The 11-4 favourite had nine lengths to spare over Burndown at the line.  John Nicholson believes that Fort Montagu is developing into a course-specialist at Tramore and the 7-4 favourite showed a willing attitude to take the 2m maiden hurdle by half-a-length under Mark Enright.  Champion trainer Willie Mullins had another short-priced double with Hey Little Boy making a winning Irish debut in the 2m5f maiden hurdle and Irish Lass taking the concluding bumper in the style of a very useful filly. 

Racing News 

Cheltenham Gold Cup-winning owner passes away

Ann Potts, who along with husband Alan enjoyed Cheltenham Gold Cup glory this year with Sizing John, has died after a long illness. She was 69. Prolific winner Sizing Europe, who landed the Queen Mother Champion Chase at Cheltenham in 2011 among seven Grade 1 victories, was the couple’s first top-notch horse, and most of their major triumphs have come with Irish trainers. Sizing Europe was trained by Henry de Bromhead, while Sizing John – who followed up his triumph at Cheltenham by winning at the Punchestown festival – is based with Jessica Harrington, who led the tributes to Mrs Potts. 

Irish Champion Stakes hero retired

Almanzor, winner of last year's epic Qipco Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown, has been retired after failing to fire on his seasonal return. Almanzor was kept in training at four with the Qatar Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe his main aim this season. However, trainer Jean-Claude Rouget has endured a difficult year, with an outbreak of the deadly EHV-1 virus in April in his barn, and Almanzor then suffered a physical setback the following month. Speaking after the colt had finished a disappointing fifth of six in a Group 3 at Deauville last Tuesday, Rouget hinted the horse may have run his last race.

O'Brien sending big guns to York Ebor festival

Churchill is pleasing Aidan O'Brien in advance of his first run over a mile and a quarter at York on Wednesday, where he will be joined by stablemate Cliffs Of Moher in the Juddmonte International. Cliffs Of Moher, the Investec Derby runner-up, finished fourth behind Ulysses in the Coral-Eclipse in which he was badly hampered less than three furlongs after the start. O'Brien has enjoyed success in the Juddmonte International on five occasions. He first won the race with Giant's Causeway in 2000 and was subsequently successful with Duke Of Marmalade, Rip Van Winkle, Declaration Of War and most recently Australia. Capri is not among the final field for the Group 2 Betway Great Voltigeur Stakes on Wednesday, with Venice Beach and Spanish Steps leading the Ballydoyle challenge for the staying contest.

The countdown is on for Jog for Jockeys

The countdown is on for Jog for Jockeys. Join multiple Group 1 winning jockey-turned-racehorse trainer, Johnny Murtagh, along with a host of well-known jockeys and trainers next Sunday, August 27, to walk, jog or run the 5km or 10km routes at the unique setting of Naas’ racetrack, with its challenging uphill finish. Register now at, online advance entry costs €20. All runners who pre-register online will receive a race t-shirt and will be provided with timing chips to record accurate race times. Entry on the day will be €25, while a team of five is €100, with the three best times to count. All children can take part free of charge but there is a €10 fee for children who would like a T-shirt and a timing chip. There is also a prize for the winning ‘equine team’ – a team comprising racing yards, vets or any equine-related business across Ireland. Irish Injured Jockeys are delighted that K-Leisure, Ireland's premier fitness clubs, are sponsoring the Jog for Jockeys T-shirts and the race warm-up with current Irish national elite 57kg boxing champion Dervla Duffy. Start time for 10km run is 11am and the 5km runners will begin at 11:05am.

Hurling For Cancer a resounding success

A star studded line-up featuring a combined 63 All-Ireland medals and 66 All-Stars gathered to play the annual Hurling for Cancer match at St Conleth’s Park in Newbridge last Wednesday and the €100,000 barrier has already been broken for the 2017 edition. The game was a 15-goal thriller with Jim Bolger’s Stars winning on a scoreline of 7-21 to Davy Russell’s Best 8-13. Some of the stars who featured in the game  included Niall Quinn, Stephen Hunt, Richie Hogan, Peter Canavan, Joe Brolly, Lee Chin and Davy Fitzgerald.  The event has now raised well over half-a-million since it began six years ago.

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