HRI Review

Racing Review

Fairyhouse Treble For Gordon Elliott

Gordon Elliott maintained his remarkable run of success with three winners at Fairyhouse on Wednesday. He shared two of them with Jack Kennedy who got off the mark for the afternoon when taking the beginners’ chase on 2/1 shot Woods Well and the pair followed up in the novice hurdle with 4/5 favourite Monkshood. Elliott teamed up with Davy Russell to land the mares’ maiden hurdle with 15/8 favourite Osco Mosco and the former champion jockey helped himself to a second winner when he partnered the Henry De Bromhead-trained Mind’s Eye, a 3/1 co-favourite, to success in the maiden hurdle. The opening rated novice chase went to 3/1 joint-favourite Blast Of Koeman which was ridden for Robert Tyner by Phillip Enright. Also over fences, Erkindale Lady got up in the dying strides to land the handicap chase for Michelle Gannon and JJ Slevin at odds of 14/1. Ronnie O’Leary and Ricky Doyle took the opening division of the handicap hurdle with 16/1 chance Queeny and at odds of 33/1, Rachael Blackmore did the steering as Ali Bin Nayef won the second leg of the same race for trainer Shark Hanlon.

Four For Elliott At Clonmel On Thursday

Gordon Elliott was again the dominant force at Clonmel on Thursday and his four winners included the hugely impressive Dinaria Des Obeaux in the listed mares’ chase. Ridden by Jack Kennedy, the 4/6 favourite raced to a 22-length success and the Drinmore Chase at Fairyhouse might be next on her agenda. The pair had earlier scored with 10/1 shot Folsom Blue in the handicap hurdle and completed a treble when Hardline, the 1/3 favourite, scored runaway victory over Flemenstar in the conditions’ hurdle. Elliott got a fourth winner when the Lisa O’Neill-ridden 5/6 favourite Warlike Intent took the bumper. The featured Grade 2 Clonmel Oil Chase went the way of 7/1 chance Alpha Des Obeaux which was ridden for Mouse Morris by Sean Flanagan. At the same price, Enda Bolger’s Manger Et Trotter won the maiden hurdle in the hands of Mark Walsh while 13/2 chance Poker Party won the 2m3f handicap hurdle for Henry De Bromhead and Dylan Robinson.

Apprentice Ben Coen Rides First Winner

Ben Coen, a nephew of trainer Andy Slattery, rode his first winner when partnering the Keith Clarke-trained Timia to success in the second division of the 8f handicap at Dundalk on Friday night. A runaway winner at the track the week before, Timia was sent off a 7/2 chance to follow up and did so in no uncertain terms to credit the 16-year-old Fethard rider his breakthrough success. Apprenticed to Slattery, Coen rode 40 winners on the pony circuit. Donagh O’Connor was another apprentice on the mark and he teamed up with David Marnane to land the rated race with 11/4 favourite Settle For Bay. It was a second winner on the night for the Bansha trainer who had earlier won the 5f handicap with the Chris Hayes-ridden 3/1 chance Alfredo Arcano. Denis Linehan was a third apprentice to visit the winners’ enclosure after he partnered 7/2 chance Mandarin Monarch to win the 12f handicap for trainer Andrew McNamara. Over the same distance, 10/1 chance Play It Cool and Leigh Roche led home a 1-2-3 for the Andy Oliver stable in the maiden. Edward Lynam and Conor Hoban combined to win the opening division of the 8f handicap with 4/1 chance Masalai and at an identical price, Clear Skies won the 10f handicap for Aidan O'Brien and Wayne Lordan. The 6f maiden went to 9/2 shot War Hero which was ridden for Curragh trainer Patrick Prendergast by Ronan Whelan.  

Forge Meadow Wins Punchestown Listed Hurdle

While the race was overshadowed by the fall of 4/9 favourite Let’s Dance which left champion jockey Ruby Walsh with a broken leg, success in the Listed Grabel Mares Hurdle at Punchestown on Saturday went to 12/1 chance Forge Meadow. She made all the running to win easily for Jessica Harrington and Robbie Power. An easier winner on the day was 1/4 favourite Mitchouka which landed the three-year-old hurdle for Gordon Elliott and Davy Russell. Elliott went on to win the 2m handicap hurdle with the Jack Kennedy-ridden 13/8 chance Synopsis and completed a treble on the day when taking the Up The Yard Challenge Race, for stud and stable staff, with 9/4 favourite Taglietelle which was ridden by Louise Magee. The former champion jockey followed up straight away on 6/4 favourite Monalee, trained by Henry De Bromhead, which made an impressive start to his career over fences in the beginners’ chase. Also over the larger obstacles, 15/2 chance Coeur Joyeux won the handicap chase for the father and son team of Philip and Luke Dempsey. Ruby Walsh took falls in the opening two races but he bounced back to win the 2m4f maiden hurdle with 4/5 favourite Burrows Saint for Willie Mullins. Noel Meade won the bumper with 5/4 favourite Athenean and Nina Carberry.

Fantastic Faugheen Makes Triumphant Return

Faugheen is no bigger than a 9/4 chance to win the Champion Hurdle for a second time at Cheltenham in March after he overcame an absence of 665 days to win the Grade 1 Unibet Morgiana Hurdle at Punchestown on Sunday. With Paul Townend in the saddle as Ruby Walsh nurses a broken leg, the nine-year-old made all the running at odds of 4/11 favourite to beat Jezki by all of 16 lengths and looked as good as ever. Jessica Harrington and Robbie Power won the Grade 2 Craddockstown Novice Chase with 11/2 shot Woodland Opera, the outsider of the four runners, which battled well to account for 10/11 favourite Tombstone by half-a-length. Power completed a Grade 2 double when partnering the Gordon Elliott-trained 6/1 chance Jury Duty to success in the Florida Pearl Novice Chase. Elliott completed a double when 4/6 favourite Rapid Escape won the bumper in the hands of Lisa O’Neill. Josies Orders, sent off the 1/2 favourite, went down by a nose to 10/1 chance Mtada Supreme, trained by Peter Maher and ridden by Barry Walsh, in the 3m Risk Of Thunder Chase over the banks’ course. The father and son team of Tom and David Mullins scored with 4/1 chance Top Othe Ra in the 2m handicap hurdle while 7/1 chance Let’s Twist Again won the 3m handicap hurdle for Joseph O'Brien and Mark Walsh. Alan Fleming and Denis O'Regan took the maiden hurdle with 16/1 shot Dom Dolo, the longest-priced winner at the meeting. 

Impressive Return For Articulum At Cork On Sunday

Articulum made light of a 571-day absence to land the 2m maiden hurdle in great style at Cork on Sunday. A dual bumper winner early last year, the Terence O’Brien-trained seven-year-old raced to a 35-length success under David Splaine at odds of 4/1. On a good day for County Cork trainers, Jimmy Mangan landed the opportunity handicap hurdle with 9/4 favourite Conna Cross which was ridden by JJ Slevin. Kanturk trainer Michael Winters won the 2m4f handicap hurdle with the Donie McInerney-ridden 6/4 favourite Granny Biddy while Eugene O’Sullivan and his daughter Maxine combined to win the hunters’ chase with 7/1 shot Wilcosdiana. JJ Slevin initiated a double when taking the 2m maiden hurdle the Joseph O'Brien-trained 10/1 chance Us And Them while 12/1 chance Youcantcallherthat took the beginners’ chase for Denis Hogan who both trains and rode the winner. Gordon Elliott and Jack Kennedy won the handicap chase with 5/2 favourite Doctor Phoenix.

Racing News

Ruby Walsh Set To Return In Time For Cheltenham Festival

Champion jockey Ruby Walsh will not require surgery on the leg he broke at Punchestown on Saturday. His right leg is in plaster after a fall from Let’s Dance four hurdles from home in the listed mares’ hurdle. Turf Club Medical Officer Adrian McGoldrick is confident that Walsh will be back in plenty of time for the Cheltenham Festival in March but could not be certain when the Kildare native would return to race riding.

Leading Owner Alan Potts Passes Away

Alan Potts, leading National Hunt owner whose colours were carried to victory in the Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup earlier this year by Sizing John, has died aged 80. Synonymous with National Hunt success on both sides of the Irish Sea, Potts's passing comes less than three months after his wife Ann, with whom he shared some top-class jumps horses, lost a long battle with illness.

The Potts husband-and-wife team enjoyed an incredible season in 2016-17, spearheaded by the Jessica Harrington-trained Sizing John realising a lifelong ambition for the Yorkshireman in winning the Cheltenham Festival's showpiece event. Sizing John had also won the Stan James Irish Gold Cup at Leopardstown and went on to complete a treble in the Coral-backed Punchestown equivalent.

Potts's main jockey originally, through his relationship with De Bromhead, was Andrew Lynch. “Alan and Ann were good to me,” said Lynch on hearing of Potts's death. “We had some great days together. I wish to send my condolences to his family.” In October, Bryan Cooper was given the nod to ride his British-based horses with Colin Tizzard. His Irish team would continue to be ridden by Robbie Power, who became his first-choice rider following March's Cheltenham exploits. Jonathan Burke was also Potts's retained jockey for a spell.

O’Brien Stars Honoured In London

While outstanding three-year-old filly Enable was named the Cartier Horse of the Year at the 27th annual Cartier Racing Awards in London early last week, it was also another proud moment for Ireland’s champion trainer and world record holder Aidan O’Brien. The Ballydoyle trainer has enjoyed an outstanding 2017 so far with a worldwide record of 27 Group 1 winners and he was also responsible for both the 2017 Cartier Two-Year-Old Colt, U S Navy Flag, and the Cartier Two-Year-Old Filly, Happily, while his Order Of St George scooped the Stayer Award for the second year in succession at European horseracing's equivalent of the Oscars. It was announced on the night that Order Of St George will stay in training next season.  

Voting Now Open For HRI Outstanding Achievement Award

Voting is now open to the public for the 2017 Horse Racing Ireland Awards Outstanding Achievement category, with the winner announced at the HRI Awards on Tuesday December 5 at Leopardstown Racecourse. The winner of the Outstanding Achievement Award is voted on by the Irish racing media and the general public through the HRI website www.hri.ie. Voting will remain open until 12noon on Friday December 1. The nominations in this category are jockeys Lisa O’Neill, Rachael Blackmore, Padraig Beggy and Jack Kennedy, and trainers Pat Kelly and Joseph O'Brien. Awards will also be presented in six other categories: Horse of the Year, National Hunt Racing, Flat Racing, Point-to-Point Racing, Contribution to the Industry and Racecourse of the Year. Full details are available at www.hri.ie. A live stream of the awards from Leopardstown Racecourse will be available on December 5.

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