HRI Review

Racing Review

Gordon Elliott Lands Fairyhouse Treble

Gordon Elliott won three of the first four races at Fairyhouse on Wednesday. There was quite a gamble landed in the opening 2m maiden hurdle when the Keith Donoghue-ridden Commentariolus, backed from 12/1 to 9/2, ran out the easiest of winners. Lackaneen Leader, the 2/1 favourite, had to work harder for her success in the mares’ maiden hurdle as she saw off the Willie Mullins-trained 11/4 chance Lareena. Winning rider Davy Russell helped himself to a second winner to round off Elliott’s treble when landing the 2m4f handicap hurdle on 9/4 favourite Graineyhill. Phillip Enright was another to enjoy a double and he won the rated chase on the Eoghan O’Grady-trained 6/1 shot Westerner Point before winning the mares’ beginners’ chase on 5/1 chance West Bridge for another County Cork trainer, Kinsale’s Robert Tyner. The father and son team of Philip and Luke Dempsey took the rated novice hurdle with 11/2 chance Chesterfield King while Roger Loughran was in the saddle as 11/4 shot Head Turner won the 2m handicap chase for Leighlinbridge, County Carlow trainer Pat Fahy. 

Davy Russell On Top With Three At Thurles

Favourite backers were in clover as Davy Russell landed three winners at Thurles on Thursday where both Henry De Bromhead and Willie Mullins recorded doubles. Both Russell and De Bromhead got their first winner of the session when the well-supported 5/4 favourite Or Jaune De Somoza won the 2m maiden hurdle from the Mullins-trained Bang Bang Rosie. Mullins also supplied the runner-up in the shape of Caro Des Flos as the County Cork jockey got a second winner on the Mouse Morris-trained 2/1 favourite Last Man Standing in the 2m7f maiden hurdle. Russell completed his treble on the Gordon Elliott-trained 5/2 favourite Goodthynemilan in the handicap hurdle over the same distance. Henry De Bromhead’s second winner was 2/1 chance Mount Hanover which ran out a cosy winner of the rated novice hurdle in the hands of Dylan Robinson. Willie Mullins winners came in the first and last races on the card. Robbie Power rode his first winner for the champion trainer when guiding 9/2 chance Pylonthepressure to a three-length success in the beginners’ chase while Patrick Mullins was in the saddle as 11/8 favourite Clinton Hill won the bumper. Butlerstown, County Waterford-trainer Paul Power and Donagh Meyler combined to win the handicap chase with 25/1 outsider Hawk Eye Down. 

Dundalk Doubles For Pat Martin And Killian Leonard

Navan-based trainer Pat Martin and Kanturk, County Cork apprentice Killian Leonard were the big winners at Dundalk on Friday night where they shared a double. The pair took the 8f handicap with 100/30 chance Reckless Lad and followed up in the 12f handicap with Easy Boy which was returned a 15/2 chance. Joseph O'Brien and Wayne Lordan combined to win the opening 6f maiden with 11/2 shot Highly Approved while over two miles, Rock On Dandy won the conditions’ race for Fergal Birrane and Glantane, County Cork apprentice Denis Linehan. There were two odds-on favourites on the card and both obliged with 8/11 chance Nivvo winning the 8f maiden for Tracey Collins and Pat Smullen while 4/5 shot War Hero won the Shabra Charity Race over 7f for Patrick Prendergast and Ronan Whelan. Michael Halford and Ross Coakley won the apprentice handicap with 9/2 chance Storm Ryker. 

Wishmoor Wins Again For Mouse Morris And Rachael Blackmore

Wishmoor won his second successive race at Naas when making virtually all the running to land the 2m4f handicap chase at the County Kildare venue on Saturday. Rachael Blackmore was once again in the saddle as the 11/4 favourite battled bravely to deny the Jessica Harrington-trained Close Shave. Benie Des Dieux made it three wins from three starts for Willie Mullins when accounting for her stable companion Asthuria in the listed mares’ chase. David Mullins rode the easy-to-back even-money favourite for his uncle. Denis O'Regan was forced to give up his rides at the meeting due to a stomach bug and missed out on a winner as the Charles O’Brien-trained Masterminded won the rated novice hurdle under Robbie Power at odds of 5/1. There was a well-backed winning favourite in the opening 2m3f maiden hurdle as 10/11 chance Best Behavior won for Oliver McKiernan and Mark Walsh. Gordon Elliott and Jack Kennedy teamed up to win the 2m maiden hurdle with 7/4 chance Cartwright which accounted for the Mullins-trained 5/4 favourite Epicuris by all of 16 lengths. Danny Howard, who trains at Milltown Malbay, County Clare saddled 25/1 chance Archie Meade, a 13-year-old, to win the opportunity handicap hurdle under Cathal Landers and while the bookmakers might have been smiling after that result, they certainly were not after the Charles Byrnes-trained Balliniska Band made a winning debut in the bumper. Ridden by Ray Barron, the four-year-old was backed from 3/1 to 11/8 favourite on course having been as big as 7/1 overnight.

Gordon Elliott Lands Three Winners At Punchestown On Sunday

Gordon Elliott was certainly the trainer to follow at Punchestown on Sunday where he saddled three winners. He got off the mark for the day in the third on the card, the listed novice hurdle, where the Davy Russell-ridden 5/2 joint-favourite Hardline saw off his main market rival Riders Onthe Storm to land the spoils. Elliott teamed up with Jack Kennedy to win the featured BoyleSports Grand National Trial Handicap Chase with 5/1 favourite Folsom Blue and rounded off the day with a clear-cut success for the Jamie Codd-ridden 4/7 favourite Getaway John in the bumper. Enda Bolger completed a double with the Donie McInerney-ridden 7/2 chance Auvergnat taking the PP Hogan Memorial Cross Country Chase for the second year running and 8/13 favourite Gilgamboa winning the hunters’ chase under Nina Carberry at odds of 8/13 favourite. High Sparrow, the 13/8 favourite, won the 2m4f maiden hurdle for Joseph O'Brien and JJ Slevin while 13/2 chance Wood Emery was the gambled-on winner of the 3m handicap hurdle for Alan Fleming and Denis O'Regan. 

Racing News

Trainers Praise Warm Dublin Festival Welcome For British Runners

Nicky Richards believes more British trainers will start using the Dublin Racing Festival as a key part of their build-up to the Cheltenham Festival. Fellow-traveller Philip Hobbs said he expects to be making the return trip to Leopardstown too in future seasons, rather than choosing to sit out the new two-day extravaganza as did many of his rivals British-based rivals. The pair were among a small number of trainers to send runners across the Irish Sea for the first running of the meeting and, although their horses ran in contrasting ways, both praised the concept and the welcome they and their owners received. Richards was returning to the scene of a Grade 1 triumph over Christmas with Simply Ned and, although his 11-year-old had the tables comprehensively turned on him by Min in the Coral Dublin Chase on Saturday, the Cumbria-based trainer was pleased with the run – and the experience. “The one thing you’ve got to say about Leopardstown is it’s such a well-run track and they look after the owners so well,” said Richards. “The likes of Nicky Henderson and Paul Nicholls have got their traditional stepping-stones towards Cheltenham with their horses. They know exactly what they’ve got and exactly which races they are going to target, going towards Cheltenham. This is the first year of Leopardstown but I'm quite sure that’ll change over the next couple of years. I’d be certain of that.”

Our Duke On Course For Gowran Park this Weekend

Our Duke, runaway winner of the BoyleSports Irish Grand National under Robbie Power at Fairyhouse last season, could reappear in Saturday’s Red Mills Chase over at Gowran Park. 

Speaking at Punchestown on Sunday, his Moone trainer Jessica Harrington is eyeing a quick reappearance for her Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup entry following his fourth place effort behind outsider Edwulf in the Unibet Irish Gold Cup at Leopardstown. Our Duke was sent off the 9/4 favourite for that race but a second last fence mistake put paid to his prospects before he plugged on again for a share of the spoils. He is currently generally available at 14/1 for the Gold Cup next month and if turning out again on Saturday would be bidding to provide his trainer with a first win in the €45,000 Grade 2 event.   

Nominations for Godolphin Stud and Stable Staff Awards Close Next Monday

Nominations for the 2018 Godolphin Stud and Stable Staff Awards close next Monday, February 19 at 5pm. The awards encompass 10 categories, which carry total prize-money of €84,000, an increase of €4,500 on 2017. Nominations can be completed online at Nomination forms can also be downloaded from the website and must be returned to the Marketing Department in Horse Racing Ireland, no later than 5pm next Monday. Former racehorse trainer Sandra Hughes is this year’s ambassador for the awards. Over the past number of weeks Sandra has been visiting racing yards and stud farms across the country to encourage as many nominations as possible. The 2018 awards will take place in the Knightsbrook Hotel in Trim, County Meath on Monday, May 21.

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