HRI Review

Racing Review

Gordon Elliott Lands First BoyleSports Irish Grand National

A thrilling renewal of the BoyleSports Irish Grand National saw Gordon Elliott win the richest prize in Irish National Hunt racing for the first time when 20/1 chance General Principle narrowly prevailed at Fairyhouse on Easter Monday. Ridden by JJ Slevin, the nine-year-old only led in the final strides to pip the Willie Mullins-trained Isleofhopendreams by a head. Forever Gold took third place for Edward Cawley while Elliott’s Folsom Blue was promoted to fourth place ahead of Mullins’ Bellshill after suffering terrible interference at the final fence. Elliott rounded off his day with a winner when the Jamie Codd-ridden 3/1 shot Getaway John landed the bumper. Willie Mullins had enjoyed all the luck earlier in the afternoon as he won all three Grade 2 races with horses ridden by Paul Townend. Getabird put a disappointing effort at the Cheltenham Festival firmly behind him when winning the Grade 2 Rathbarry & Glenview Novice Hurdle at odds of even money favourite while the former champion jockey was also in the saddle as 7/1 chance Coquin Mans took the Keelings Irish Strawberry Hurdle and the treble was completed when 5/6 favourite Un De Sceaux won the Devenish Chase. Mouse Morris and Rachael Blackmore combined to win the 2m novice handicap hurdle with 25/1 chance Western Ruler while a more locally-trained winner at the same price was Ah Littleluck for Tom Gibney and Andrew Lynch in the 2m6f handicap hurdle. Skerries, County Dublin trainer Karl Thornton teamed up with Donagh Meyler to win the 3m handicap chase with 14/1 shot Paper Lantern.

New Milestone For Gordon Elliott At Cork On Easter Monday

On a day to remember for the season’s leading trainer, Gordon Elliott notched up his 200 winner when the Declan Lavery-ridden 9/10 favourite Portnablagh won the mares’ bumper at Cork on Easter Monday. There were three more local trainers on the mark. The 2m3f bumper was won in convincing fashion by 12/1 chance Judkin for Eoin O'Brien and Mallow trainer Jimmy Mangan. Eugene O’Sullivan, who trains in nearby Lombardstown saddled Wilcosdiana to win the Jack Tyner Memorial Hunters Chase with his nephew Michael riding the winner, his first on the racecourse proper. His near neighbour Adrian Maguire won the 2m handicap hurdle with 7/1 chance Littlesticksofrubarb which was ridden by his son, Finny. The mares’ maiden hunters’ chase went to the 7/2 chance He Knows My Name which was ridden for Keith Watson by Johnny King. Rathvin, County Tipperary trainer Harry Kelly combined with James Hannon to win the maiden hunters’ chase with 11/2 shot Oscar Contender. Philip Rothwell enjoyed a winner on the Flat at the course on the previous Saturday and he won the 2m handicap chase with the Conor Maxwell-ridden 7/2 joint-favourite Shrewdoperator. The opening maiden hurdle went the way of Noel Meade who sent out Stoneford, the 13/8 favourite, to win under Keith Donoghue.  

Six Makes It Nine At Dundalk On Friday

The Johnny Feane-trained Six Silver Lane became the joint winning-most horse on the all-weather at Dundalk when landing the 10f handicap on Friday night. A first racecourse success for 18-year-old jockey Adam Farragher, the 8/1 shot was recording his ninth course success and joins Hes Our Music, Shake The Bucket, Sharjah and Togoville as the most prolific winners at the track. It was a second success on the night for Feane who had earlier taken the 7f handicap with 10/1 shot Have A Nice Day which was ridden by Kildare town’s David Simmonson. The session had begun with a debut victory for the Andy Slattery-trained Offline which was the well-backed winner of the two-year-old maiden under Declan McDonogh. Sheila Lavery and Ronan Whelan combined to win the 5f handicap with 11/4 joint-favourite Danz Gift while over two furlongs further, 3/1 chance Masucci won the rated race for Ger Lyons and Colin Keane. Alfirak, trained by Damian English and ridden by Rory Cleary just denied Masalai to win the 8f handicap at odds of 10/1 while an easier winner to find was Financial Conduct which won the 12f handicap for Andy Oliver and Shane Foley at odds of 2/1 favourite.

Downforce Doubles Up In Listed Cork Stakes

Downforce scored a second successive success in the Listed Cork Stakes when making all the running under Billy Lee to win the race of the day at Navan on Saturday. The 5/2 chance, trained by Willie McCreery, comfortably held off the challenge of uneasy 8/11 favourite Son Of Rest to score by a length and a quarter and the Gladness Stakes at Naas on Friday (April 13) could be an option. Senior riders dominated at the meeting with champion jockey Colin Keane on the mark on 6/4 favourite Flat To The Max for trainer Ger Lyons in the 8f maiden. Johnny Murtagh and Shane Foley combined to win the opening 5f maiden with 7/2 chance Urban Beat while Wayne Lordan teamed up with Kilmessan, County Meath trainer Matthew Smith to win the 8f handicap. For Pleasure won the 10f handicap at odds of 8/1 for James Barrett and Rory Cleary while a more locally-trained winner was Gavin Cromwell’s Prospectus, a 7/2 joint-favourite, which won the 13f handicap under Kevin Manning. The only apprentice to make it on to the scoresheet was Andrew Slattery who notched up his fourth career success and his first on the grass when winning the 5f handicap on 11/2 chance Sors, trained by his father and namesake. 

Racing News

Horse Racing Ireland Goes On The Road

Beginning this week, Horse Racing Ireland is to host a series of roadshows on what the future holds for Irish racing. Everyone is welcome to attend, make suggestions and have their say. HRI Chief Executive Brian Kavanagh and senior management from the organisation will be on hand to discuss the current health of Irish racing, the challenges faced by the industry and what the future may hold. The roadshows, which begin this Wednesday and Thursday, will celebrate the beginning of the summer racing season with local racecourses in attendance at each of four planned events. The first of the roadshows will take place at the Raheen Woods Hotel, Athenry, on Wednesday, with the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Dundalk hosting an event the following evening. The venue on Wednesday, April 18 is the Horse & Jockey Hotel in County Tipperary with Lawlor’s Hotel in Naas hosting on Thursday, April 19. Each event will begin at 7pm.

Meetings Rescheduled For Coming Weeks

The racing calendar for the coming weeks has seen significant changes due to the recent spell of wet weather. Following the cancellation of the final day of the Fairyhouse Easter Festival last Tuesday, it has been announced that the same card has been transferred to Tuesday, April 17 with racing also taking place at Fairyhouse on Thursday, April 19. Leopardstown lost a meeting last Wednesday and it will now take place on Monday, April 16. The Naas meeting that was lost on Sunday will now be run off on Friday, April 13. The Tipperary fixture scheduled for Tuesday, April 10 has been switched to Dundalk on the same date. 

The Tote and Galway Races Renew Historic Plate Agreement

The Tote and Galway Races have announced the signing of a new three-year sponsorship agreement confirming The Tote as the title sponsor of one of Ireland’s most historic races, the TheTote.com Galway Plate. The news follows the decision confirmed in February to move the fixture on Wednesday, August 1, to an evening slot, with the first race off at 5.10 and the big race due to go to post at 7.20 and is designed to boost local attendance from the greater Galway region. The Tote first sponsored the race in 2010 and this renewal will take the company’s association with the Galway Plate into its eleventh year in 2020. With a first prize of almost €150,000, TheTote.com Galway Plate has always attracted high quality horses and President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins is once again expected to present the Plate to winning connections.

Walsh Staying Local For Anticipated Return

Ruby Walsh is to have an x-ray on his injured right leg next week and will be hoping for good news with the Punchestown festival starting on April 24. The champion jockey, who suffered the injury when falling from Al Boum Photo in the RSA Chase at the Cheltenham Festival last month, said: “My right leg remains in a boot. Time is the best healer of all and hopefully I have enough of it to be back in time for Punchestown. I’ll probably have an x-ray next week and see what the story is. I’m hoping they tell me it’s 100 per cent but I’m an optimist.”

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