HRI Review

Racing Review

Harrington Flying Again As Jetz Wins At Fairyhouse

Jessica Harrington might have been out of luck with Our Duke at Down Royal last Saturday week but the leading dual-purpose trainer was back among the winners as the well-supported Jetz landed the 2m4f maiden hurdle at Fairyhouse on Tuesday. Sent off a 4/1 chance, the five-year-old raced clear between the final two flights under Robbie Power to score from market leaders Monbeg Worldwide and Canardier. Harrington and Power doubled up when 4/5 favourite Magic Of Light ran out a cosy winner of the beginners’ chase. Gordon Elliott, trainer of the runner-up had won the opening three-year-old maiden hurdle with 1/5 favourite Mitchouka which was ridden by Davy Russell. But the County Meath trainer was out of luck as 5/4 favourite The Storyteller lost out to the Willie Mullins-trained, Ruby Walsh-ridden 2/1 shot Chateau Conti in the conditions’ hurdle over 2m4f while 9/10 favourite Poormans Hill failed by a neck when second to the Pat Rooney-trained Witness Of Fashion in the ladies’ handicap chase. The winner was returned a 20/1 chance and was ridden by Jeannie Cook. Quin, County Clare trainer Donie Hassett and Phillip Enright combined to take the 2m4f handicap hurdle with 9/1 shot Shar Whats Therush while over the minimum trip of 2m, Roja Dove, an 8/1 chance, won the concluding handicap hurdle for Peter Fahey and Roger Loughran.

Champion Jockey Off To A Flyer At Dundalk

Champion jockey Colin Keane got off to a flyer as the Winter Series at Dundalk kicked off on Wednesday night. Keane shared an opening race double with Ger Lyons, the pair landing the 7f fillies’ maiden with 3/1 chance Palariva and the auction maiden over the same distance with the gambled-on even-money favourite Beckoning. Pat Smullen enjoyed a winner as the Pat Flynn-trained Sleepy Head took the first leg of the 10f handicap with 5/2 chance Sleepy Head. The second leg of the same race went to Anthony McCann’s 40/1 outsider Tropic Thunder which was ridden by Conor McGovern. Padraig Beggy is certainly making the most of his opportunities in recent weeks and he won the 10f maiden on the Aidan O'Brien-trained even-money favourite Clear Skies. The 7f handicap went to 8/1 chance Arbourfield which was ridden by Shane Foley for Prunella Dobbs. Over a furlong further, 3/1 joint-favourite Koybig was another handicap winner as he scored for Castlecomer, County Kilkenny trainer Pat Murphy and Chris Hayes. Jim Bolger and Kevin Manning were on the mark with Teo’s Music which ran out the 33/1 winner of the first of three 10f handicaps.   

Two For Willie Mullins At Thurles On Thursday

Willie Mullins won both maiden hurdles on the card at Thurles on Thursday with two long odds-on shots. True Self, ridden by Brian Hayes, had plenty in hand when taking the mares’ affair at a price of 2/5 favourite while Brahama Bull, the 2/9 favourite, had an even easier time of it in the hands of Paul Townend in the 2m7f race. There was a popular local winner in the 2m handicap hurdle as Holycross brothers John and Martin Burke teamed up to win with 11/2 chance Like An Open Book. Cloughjordan’s Denis Hogan both trained and rode Eiri Na Casca to win the handicap chase at odds of 6/1 and at the same price, Solar Heat took the beginners’ chase for Dot Love and Barry Browne. The Kings Baby, ridden by Donie McInerney for Enniscorthy trainer Moses McCabe, won the mares’ handicap hurdle at odds of 9/2 joint-favourite and another well-fancied winner was 7/4 chance Daly Tiger which took the bumper for Noel Meade and Nina Carberry.  

Champions On The Mark At Dundalk On Friday

Recently crowned champion jockeys Colin Keane and Oisin Orr were both among the winners at Dundalk on Friday night. Fresh from a double at the track two days earlier, Keane won the opening division of the 7f handicap on the John Murphy-trained 14/1 shot La Cumparsita while Donegal rider Orr went one better with a brace. He won the second leg of the same race on the Keith Clarke-trained 6/4 favourite Timia having earlier taken the apprentice handicap on 9/2 shot Commander Won which is trained by Keith Clarke. Pat Smullen won the opening claiming race on the Des Donovan-trained 15/2 chance Menelik and another former champion jockey on the mark was Declan McDonogh who won the 8f handicap on the Robbie McNamara-trained Cascavelle, a winner at the Galway festival earlier in the year. He scored a four-length success at odds of 14/1. Denise Foster and Gary Carroll landed the nursery handicap with 10/1 chance Julia’s Magic while Maynooth, County Kildare trainer John Geoghegan and Dylan Hogan won the 7f maiden with 5/2 favourite Massa Lubrense.  

Grade 3 Wins At Naas For Gordon Elliott And Joseph O'Brien

There were a number of impressive winning displays at Naas on Saturday and leading the way was the Gordon Elliott-trained Ball D’Arc which took the Grade 3 Poplar Square Chase. Ridden by Jack Kennedy, the 6/4 favourite first saw off market rival American Tom and then Ordinary World to win in great style and is likely to step up in distance next time out. Elliott and Kennedy doubled up to win the 2m3f beginners’ chase with 33/1 shot Mossback which is another likely to be seen over further when he next runs. Joseph O'Brien and Mark Walsh won the Grade 3 Fishery Lane Hurdle with 3/1 chance Early Doors which had little difficulty in seeing off 5/4 favourite Meri Devie. Equally exciting is Red Jack which won the opening 2m maiden hurdle at odds of 1/3 favourite for Noel Meade and was the first leg of a treble for Mark Walsh. Walsh also won the 2m4f handicap hurdle on the Tom Mullins-trained 5/1 chance Oscar Knight. Willie Mullins has plenty to look forward to with Next Destination which won a strong looking 2m3f maiden hurdle. Ridden by Paul Townend, the 4/1 shot raced clear from the final flight to win by all of 13 lengths. A 12-length winner on the day was Medeleine Tylicki’s First To Boogie which landed the handicap chase under Sean Flanagan. He was returned the 4/1 favourite and the bumper also went to the market leader as 7/4 chance Lady Ischia scored for Gavin Cromwell and Patrick Mullins. 

Jack Kennedy Reigns Supreme With Three Graded Winners At Navan

Navan must nearly be Jack Kennedy’s favourite racecourse. He rode his first treble there two years ago and repeated the feat for the first time since then on Sunday where again Gordon Elliott supplied his three winners. They all came at Graded level with Mengli Khan getting the ball rolling in the Grade 3 For Auction Novice Hurdle which he won in tremendous style at odds of 5/4 favourite. Better was to come as star mare Apple’s Jade made a winning return in the Grade 2 Lismullen Hurdle, the 8/15 favourite making all the running under the young Kerryman to readily account for Jer’s Girl. In contrast, Kennedy brought Clarcam from off the pace to win the Grade 2 Fortria Chase, the well-fancied 7/2 shot getting the better of Alisier D’Irlande in a tight finish. Elliott went one better and made it four on the day when the Lisa O’Neill-ridden 7/4 chance Invincible Cave ran out a very good winner of the bumper. Icantsay received a peach of a ride from Danny Mullins when taking the 2m6f handicap hurdle for Templemore’s John Ryan. Clear from a very early stage, the 9/2 chance never saw another rival as he beat Aa Bee See by all of 10 lengths. Another all-the-way winner was 4/6 favourite Footpad which won the beginners’ chase in great style for Willie Mullins and Daryl Jacob. Ted Walsh and his daughter Katie won the 2m handicap hurdle with 4/1 chance Oscars Den.

Racing News

Irish-Trained Horses Dominate World’s Richest Handicap 

History was made in the early hours of last Tuesday morning at Flemington Park, Australia when Joseph O’Brien became the youngest trainer to win the Emirates Melbourne Cup as Rekindling led home an Irish-trained 1-2-3 under Corey Brown. Rekindling is the third Irish-trained winner of the world's richest handicap, bridging a 15-year gap since Dermot Weld’s Media Puzzle claimed victory in 2002, nine years after Vintage Crop, also trained by Weld, became the first overseas winner of the Australia’s greatest race. Six Irish-trained horses, a quarter of the field, went to post and dominated the first three places as Johannes Vermeer came in second for the winning trainer’s father Aidan O’Brien, with Max Dynamite, narrowly defeated in the race in 2015, back in third for Willie Mullins. The Mullins-trained Thomas Hobson ran on into sixth place in the colours of Mrs Susannah Ricci. 

Students Go Behind The Scenes For Racing Industry Education Day

Forty-Five Third Level students took part in Horse Racing Ireland’s ‘Go Racing Student Society’ industry education day last Tuesday and went behind the scenes at trainer Gordon Elliott’s yard in Longwood, County Meath. Students from several colleges including NUI Maynooth, University of Limerick, UCD, Trinity College, Dublin IT and Griffith College, met with the leading trainer and got to witness first-hand the work carried out by his team on a daily basis.  They were also introduced to a number of stable stars including Outlander, Apple’s Jade, Cause Of Causes, Empire Of Dirt, Death Duty, Cracking Smart and Samcro. The students spent the remainder of the day racing at Fairyhouse. The HRI ‘Go Racing Student Society’ was launched in 2016 as an initiative to build on the growing interest in horse racing among students and create opportunities to experience the sport in greater depth.  It is open to anyone currently in third level education. Joining the society is free and trips are discounted.  For upcoming events or to register visit

Big Names Heading For Fairyhouse Winter Festival

Some of the biggest names in National Hunt racing feature among the entries for the three Bar One Racing-sponsored Grade 1 races on the second day of the Fairyhouse Winter Festival on Sunday, December 3. Faugheen heads an entry of 21 for the Grade 1 Bar One Racing Hatton’s Grace Hurdle. Absent since his success in the Grade 1 BHP Insurances Irish Champion Hurdle at Leopardstown in January of last year, the 2015 champion hurdler is one of nine horses entered in the €100,000 event by Willie Mullins who has won the race previously with Hurricane Fly in 2010, Zaidpour in 2012 and Arctic Fire two years ago. Gordon Elliott has made five entries, headed by last year’s winner Apple’s Jade while Melbourne Cup winning trainer Joseph O'Brien has entered his Guinness Galway Hurdle hero Tigris River. Elliott has a strong team going forward for the Grade 1 Bar One Racing Drinmore Novice Chase, a race that he has won on three previous occasions. Responsible for eight of the 23 entries, Elliott has dual chase winner Death Duty, the exciting mare Shattered Love and last weekend’s Down Royal winner Tombstone heading his challenge. Willie Mullins has saddled the first two home in the Bar One Racing Royal Bond Novice Hurdle for the past two seasons and Sayar, successful in the Grade 3 Joe Mac Novice Hurdle at Tipperary at the beginning of last month, is one of his seven entries. The runaway Listowel festival winner Makitorix and fellow French import Sharjah have also been given entries along with promising mares Mystic Theatre, Glens Harmony and Good Thyne Tara. Gordon Elliott trumps Mullins with ten entries, including the hugely exciting Samcro, the triple bumper winner Blow By Blow and the highly-rated flat performer Pallasator. Joseph O'Brien’s five entries include Le Richebourg, while Noel Meade has Sunday’s impressive maiden hurdle winner Red Jack among his three horses in the race.  

Nominees Announced for the 2017 Horse Racing Ireland Awards

The nominees for the 2017 Horse Racing Ireland Awards have been announced with 28 Irish trainers, jockeys and horses in contention for one of six prestigious awards.  RTE sports broadcaster Des Cahill will be master of ceremonies for the awards, which take place at Leopardstown Racecourse on Tuesday, December 5. Awards are presented in seven categories: Horse of the Year, National Hunt Racing, Flat Racing, Point-to-Point Racing, Outstanding Achievement, Contribution to the Industry and Racecourse of the Year. Four category winners are decided by a ballot of the Irish racing media – Horse of the Year, National Hunt, Flat and Point-to-Point. Nominations for the Horse of the Year award include triple Gold Cup winner Sizing John; BoyleSports Irish Grand National winner Our Duke; Capri, the first horse since the legendary Nijinsky in 1970 to win the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby at the Curragh and the English St Leger in the same year; Winter, a four-time Group 1 winner in 2017; Highland Reel, Europe’s highest ever prizemoney winner and winner of two of the biggest Group 1 contests this year, the Coronation Cup at Epsom and the Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot; and Un De Sceaux, successful in the Tingle Creek Chase at Sandown, Clarence House Chase at Cheltenham and Ryanair Chase at the Cheltenham Festival.

Trainers Jessica Harrington, Gordon Elliott, Willie Mullins and Henry de Bromhead and jockeys Robbie Power and Ruby Walsh are nominated in the National Hunt category. The Flat nominees are trainers Aidan O’Brien and Ger Lyons and jockeys Colin Keane, Seamie Heffernan and Oisin Orr. The Point-to-Point category is made up of Jamie Codd, Liz Lalor, Barry O’Neill, Denis Murphy and Colin Bowe. The winner of the Outstanding Achievement Award is voted on by the Irish racing media and the general public through the HRI website or through forms available from HRI. 

The nominees in this category, selected by the Irish racing media, are trainers Joseph O’Brien, the youngest-ever trainer to win the world’s richest handicap, The Melbourne Cup, and Pat Kelly who achieved the notable feat of winning the hugely competitive Pertemps Final Handicap Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival for the second consecutive year with Presenting Percy, having won the race 12 months earlier with Mall Dini. Jockeys Lisa O’Neill, Rachael Blackmore, Padraig Beggy and Jack Kennedy have also been nominated in this category.

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