HRI Review

Racing Review

On The Go Again On A High At Leopardstown

On The Go Again landed another big pot for the Mulvany family when taking the Listed Heritage Stakes at Leopardstown on Monday. Trained by Mick Mulvany for his father Larry, the 4/1 chance picked up well late inside the final furlong to win by a cosy three and a quarter-lengths from 3/1 favourite Onenightidreamed under Gary Carroll. Dermot Weld and Leigh Roche enjoyed a second winner of the season together when Jaega, the 3/1 favourite, won the opening 10f fillies’ maiden. Weld was back in the winners’ enclosure 30 minutes later as the Declan McDonogh-ridden Khalaab won the 9f maiden at odds of 9/2. Another Curragh trainer, Patrick Prendergast brought his tally for the season to four with his second double in a week. Raintree, a 5/1 chance, won the 7f fillies’ maiden in the hands of Dubliner Daniel Redmond while Ronan Whelan partnered 12/1 chance Triple Sec to win the first of the 7f handicaps. The 9f handicap went to Grand Canyon for Dunboyne, County Meath trainer Amanda Mooney and Sean Davis while the second 7f handicap was won by 10/1 shot Settle For Red which was ridden for David Marnane by Killian Leonard.

First Racecourse Winner For Jody Townend

Amateur rider Jody Townend partnered her first winner on the racecourse proper at Tramore on Monday. The 20-year-old, youngest sister of former champion jockey Paul, has ridden four point-to-point winners and was again seen to good effect when partnering Port Rashid, trained by her father Tim, to success in the 2m maiden hurdle. Two more amateur riders rode winners on the card with Johnny Barry partnering 5/4 favourite Macs Legend to win the hunters’ chase for Macroom, County Cork trainer Gerry Kelleher while Liam Quinlan won the bumper on 6/4 favourite Cuneo which is trained locally by Henry De Bromhead. Ricky Doyle rode the second double of his career when winning on two 5/1 shots. He won the 2m5f handicap hurdle on the Mark Fahey-trained Fourina and followed up straight away on Lacken Bridge for Colin Bowe. Stamullen, County Meath trainer John McConnell won the 2m maiden hurdle with Itsalonglongroad which was ridden by Mark Bolger while the Emmet Mullins-trained 11/4 chance Tornado Watch landed a gamble when winning the 2m handicap hurdle in the hands of the trainer’s cousin David.  

O’Farrell Keeps Mullins Title Bid On Course

Katie O’Farrell rode the biggest winner of her career and gave title-chasing Willie Mullins a timely boost when winning the €100,000 RYBO Handicap Hurdle at Fairyhouse on Tuesday. O’Farrell partnered 25/1 chance Low Sun to success over the Gordon Elliott-trained Yaha Fizz and then helped herself to a second winner when taking the Ladies Handicap Chase on 13/2 shot Flemenstorm for local trainer Edward Cawley. Mullins also enjoyed a notable winner when Paul Townend-partnered 13/8 favourite Saglawy to beat Elliott’s Mitchouka in the Grade 2 juvenile hurdle. Elliott had the last laugh however as his 3/1 favourite Tintangle was two and a half lengths too good for the Mullins-trained Masons Daughter in the Listed bumper. Youcantcallherthat added to her recent Grade 2 success at Limerick when gamely landing the Grade 3 mares’ chase at odds of 12/1 for trainer/rider Denis Hogan. Tom Gibney has a great record at the course and he landed the EBF novice handicap hurdle series final with 10/1 Agent Boru which was ridden by Jonathan Moore. The opening beginners’ chase was won by the Bill Durkan-trained Screaming Colours which was ridden by Roger Loughran. The hunters’ chase went the way of 5/4 favourite Sizing Coal which was ridden for Jim Dreaper by Jamie Codd.

Donnacha On The Double At Dundalk

Donnacha O’Brien weighed in with two winners at Dundalk on Wednesday night, riding one each for his brother Joseph and father Aidan. Drapers Gold, a 5/1 chance won the 10f maiden for Piltown-based Joseph while Full Moon, the 4/5 favourite, won the conditions’ race for the champion trainer. The opening claiming race went to the Dick Brabazon-trained 6/1 chance Archer’s Up which was ridden by Oisin Orr while Shane Nolan, who trains close to Clane, County Kildare, won the 12f handicap with 9/2 shot Schoolboy Error and Chris Hayes. Meath-based trainers dominated the last three races. Drumree trainer Keith Clarke was first to strike as he sent out Poetic Choice to win the 8f handicap at odds of 7/1 under Robbie Downey. Tom McCourt, whose stable is based in Stamullen, then sent out A Likely Story to land the 7f handicap in the hands of Danny Sheehy. He was 10/1. Kells trainer Michael Mulvaney completed a fine night for Meath handlers as 14/1 chance Premier League won the concluding 6f handicap under Gary Carroll.

Two Fairyhouse Winners For High-Flying Flanagan At Fairyhouse

Sean Flanagan is on a roll and notched up two more winners at Fairyhouse on Thursday evening. He teamed up with Gordon Elliott to land the opening mares’ maiden hurdle with 2/1 favourite Azua Emery and followed up when siding with his fellow Wexford-man Colin Bowe to win the mares’ handicap hurdle with 5/1 chance Victoria Bay. There was also a strong south-east connection to the result to the opportunity maiden hurdle won by the Liz Doyle-trained 6/5 favourite Catwalk King which beat Henry De Bromhead’s Black Key under Adam Short. Templemore trainer John Ryan and Tommy Brett won the 2m7f maiden hurdle with 7/2 chance Cluan Dara and another 7lbs conditional rider was in the winners’ enclosure as 16/1 chance Misty Millie scored for Danny Hand and Garristown, County Dublin trainer Garvan Donnelly. Peter Fahey and Richie Deegan won the mares’ bumper with 3/1 joint-favourite Madera Express while Noel Meade and Nina Carberry took the finale with newcomer and 2/1 favourite Dream Conti.

Elliott Heads To Punchestown With A Limerick Winner

Title-chasing Gordon Elliott was among the winners at the final National Hunt meeting before the Punchestown Festival when the Denis O'Regan-ridden even-money favourite Kuraka easily won the 2m maiden hurdle at Limerick on Friday. James Nash was unlucky not to be among the winners at Aintree, but he received a measure of compensation when 11/4 chance All Good Things took the 2m3f maiden hurdle under Cathal Landers. Other 7lbs conditional riders on the mark were Danny Hand who took the 2m handicap hurdle on 6/1 chance Trump Sixteen, trained by Stephen Mahon, and Trevor Ryan who partnered Pat Hurley’s 16/1 chance Perfect Man to win the 3m handicap hurdle. Over fences, Terence O’Brien and Donie McInerney won the beginners’ chase with 2/1 shot Lakemilan while Robert Tyner’s Concordin won the handicap chase at odds of 7/1 for Mark Walsh. Alpine Cobra, a 6/1 chance, won the bumper for Charles Byrnes and Ray Barron.

Shane Foley On The Double At Limerick On Saturday

Local trainer Austin Leahy and Shane Foley took the honours at Limerick on Saturday when landing back-to-back winners. The pair won the 8f maiden with 6/1 chance Longoddson and followed up straight away when 8/1 shot Drombeg Dream scored a nine-length success in the handicap over the same distance. Dermot Weld and Declan McDonogh combined to win the opening maiden with 5/4 favourite Rock Sound which was making a successful debut. Over a furlong further, 7/1 chance Hand On Heart also made a winning start in the fillies’ maiden for Fozzy Stack and Chris Hayes. Eoin Doyle and Ross Coakley took the first of three handicaps over 11f with 8/1 chance St Lawrence Gap. Denis Hogan and Killian Leonard were on the mark with 33/1 chance Sunnyhill Lad while racing came to a close with success, at odds of 11/4 favourite, for brothers Joseph and Donnacha O’Brien who scored with Song Of The Sky.   

Order Of St George Starts Back With A Win

Beaten in the same race last season, Order Of St George made a winning return to action in the Group 3 Vintage Crop Stakes at Navan on Sunday. The 2/9 favourite, trained by Aidan O'Brien and Ryan Moore picked up well over a furlong from home to head the front-running English-trained raider Lord Yeats and now heads to Leopardstown next month for the Saval Beg Stakes. O’Brien and Moore had taken the opening fillies’ maiden with 4/1 chance So Perfect. Gerald Mosse rode his first winner in Ireland since taking the Irish St. Leger on the Ed Dunlop-trained Red Cadeaux in 2013 when partnering Adrian Keatley’s 10/1 chance The Broghie Man in the Listed Committed Stakes. Golden Spell won the fillies’ handicap for Johnny Murtagh and Glantane, County Cork apprentice, Denis Linehan. Another youngster on the mark was Gearoid Brouder who won the apprentice handicap on 16/1 chance Captain Midnight for Navan trainer Joseph Murray. Billy Lee rode two winners at the meeting, the undoubted highlight was his success in the Listed Salsabil Stakes on Willie McCreery’s Irish 1,000 Guineas candidate Mary Tudor which could hardly have been more impressive at odds of 9/2. He also won the 13f handicap on the Charles Byrnes-trained 13/8 favourite Hareth. Chris Hayes has made a fine start to the season and notched up his 12th winner when landing the 10f handicap on Adrian McAllister-trained 12/1 chance Well Why Not.

Racing News

Final HRI Roadshow Held In Kildare

The finale of the 2017/18 National Hunt season at Punchestown next week was very much on the mind at the last of four Horse Racing Ireland (HRI) roadshows on what the future holds for Irish racing at Lawlor’s Hotel in Naas on Thursday evening. All three racecourses in County Kildare had a presence at the well-attended event, Dick O’Sullivan and Conor O’Neill from Punchestown were in attendance ahead of their busy five-day festival. Tom Ryan and Jackie Donohoe of Naas Racecourse have plenty to look forward to in the months ahead as the Flat season kicks into gear while Derek McGrath and Evan Arkwright of the Curragh reported on the progress of their massive redevelopment programme ahead of their year which begins with a two-day fixture on Friday, May 11 and Saturday, May 12. All three tracks have benefited from the HRI’s Racecourse Capital Development scheme in recent times, with Punchestown having received €2.5 million, a figure of €3.5 million going to Naas and overall grant aid of €12.5 million going towards the ongoing work at the Curragh. Those in attendance engaged with CEO of HRI, Brian Kavanagh, and members of the HRI senior management team on a range of issues including a staffing shortage within the industry, the potential devastating implications of Brexit for racing and breeding in Ireland, media rights, claiming races, the vital economic role played by racing and breeding in rural Ireland, and the importance of a solid funding structure to grow the industry and provide opportunities for those at every level.

Jason Morris, Director of Racing at HRI, addressed race programming and the patterns that have emerged in Irish racing in recent years. He heard concerns expressed by those present, including breeders, trainers and permit holders. Those in attendance also heard of the challenges in attracting people to go racing from HRI’s Commercial and Marketing Director Paul Dermody, who outlined that the racing industry in Ireland has one of the biggest core audiences in sport and employs almost 29,000 people directly and indirectly. Earlier roadshows in the series had been held in Athenry, Dundalk and Horse & Jockey.

Twenty-Four Finalists Announced for Irish Godolphin Stud and Stable Staff Awards 2018

Twenty-four finalists, short-listed for eight of the 10 award categories in the 2018 Irish Godolphin Stud and Stable Staff Awards, have been announced. The finalists were shortlisted from almost 350 nominations received, the highest number of nominations received since Godolphin’s sponsorship of the awards began in 2015. The finalists are: Racing and Breeding Support Services - Martin Leahy, Master Farrier, Bruff, Co Limerick, Sharon O'Regan, Head of Operations, Weatherbys Ireland, Co Kildare, Martin 'Snowy' Pearce, Facilities Manager, Punchestown Racecourse, Co Kildare: Administration Award - Gillian Carey, Operations Manager, Fairyhouse Racecourse, Co Meath, Denis Hickey, Racing Secretary, Ballydoyle, Co Tipperary, Vicki McWey, Supervisor Registrations Department, Horse Racing Ireland, Co Kildare: Newcomer Award - Georgie Benson, Stable Lass, Gordon Elliott, Co Meath, Joanne Eaton, Stable Lass, Willie McCreery, Co Kildare, Charlie Sweeney, Pupil Assistant/Second Head Lad, Eyrefield House Stud, Co Kildare: Horse Care Award - Emma Connolly, Travelling Head Lass / Assistant Trainer, Noel Meade, Co Meath, Mary Nugent, Travelling Assistant, Gordon Elliott, Co Meath, Sinead O'Sullivan, Head Girl, John Murphy, Co Cork: In The Saddle Award - Audrey O'Neill, Exercise Rider & Groom, John Oxx, Co Kildare, James Rath, Head Lad, Liz Doyle, Co Wexford, Josep Sans Sanchez, Head Man, PJ Prendergast, Co Kildare: Travelling Head Person Award - Tina Evans, Travelling Head Person, Joseph O’Brien, Co Kilkenny, Jason Forsyth, Travelling Head Person, John Oxx, Co Kildare, Camilla Sharples, Travelling Head Girl, Gordon Elliott, Co Meath: Leads by Example Award - Tom Daly, Assistant Head Man, Dermot Weld, Co Kildare, Valerie Keatley, Head Girl, Johnny Murtagh, Co Kildare, Stephen Thorne, Assistant Trainer, Adrian McGuinness, Co Dublin: Dedication to Racing and Breeding Award - Pat Farrell, Broodmare Manager, Moyglare Stud, Co Kildare, Eamonn Leigh, Headman, Jessica Harrington, Co Kildare, Tommy Ryan, Head Lad, Edward O’Grady, Co Tipperary.  

Microsoft Announced as the Title Sponsor for the Ladies Evening at Leopardstown

Leopardstown Racecourse have announced that Microsoft are to be the title sponsor of the 2018 Ladies Evening which is taking place on Friday, May 25 at the Dublin track. The evening targets all ladies with a range of attractive options to cater for everybody. While it is a Ladies Evening, men are very welcome to come along and join in the fun. This is the second year of the event, following the very successful inaugural event in 2017. This is an exciting new sponsorship agreement between Leopardstown Racecourse and Microsoft, having recently launched their new iconic campus which has panoramic views over the racecourse and is located in the heart of the vibrant Sandyford Business District, they are the track’s closest neighbours. During the evening, the Leopardstown Pavilion will host the Race Forward event, which is an evening of networking, racing and inspirational speakers hosted by Broadcaster and beauty expert Triona McCarthy. Microsoft CEO Cathriona Hallahan will be the key note speaker. Guests will be welcomed with a Moët & Chandon Rosé reception followed by a full dining experience featuring live cooking stations and music from the vintage jazzy trio, The Bugle Babes. It is also an important fundraiser for Breast Cancer Ireland which raised €20,000 at last year’s event.

BoyleSports Irish Grand National Winner Our Duke Has Died

Trainer Jessica Harrington announced the death of BoyleSports Irish Grand National winner Our Duke on Thursday. The eight-year-old, which won the Fairyhouse showpiece as a novice last season, suffered a heart attack. In all he won six races, including the Grade 1 Neville Hotels Novice Chase at the Leopardstown Christmas Festival in 2016. Four months later, he triumphed in the richest race in the Irish National Hunt calendar. His final success came in the Grade 2 Red Mills Chase at Gowran Park in February where he beat subsequent Cheltenham Festival winner Presenting Percy. Harrington tweeted: "We are sad to announce Our Duke died this morning following his usual morning exercise. He suffered a massive heart attack. He is a great loss to the Cooper family & our team."

O’Brien Leads Tributes As Giant’s Causeway Dies

Aidan O’Brien hailed Giant’s Causeway as ‘incredible, brave and tough’ as he saluted the life of the champion dubbed the ‘Iron Horse’, which has died aged 21. So named for the battling qualities which carried him to five Group 1 wins during a remarkable three-year-old campaign, Giant's Causeway, later a leading sire in North America, died on Monday night at Ashford Stud, his Kentucky birthplace. O'Brien, who trained the son of Storm Cat through a 13-race career in which he never finished out of the first two and raked in more than €2.2 million in prize-money, said: “He was an incredible horse, really. He was brave and consistent, and he just loved a battle. He’s a great sire of broodmares and he puts that toughness that he had into all of his progeny. He was a true champion and such a solid horse who raced at the top level and gave it his all each time. He really was incredible.”

HRI Announce Replacement Fixtures

The meetings lost to the weather at Tipperary and Kilbeggan last week have been rescheduled. The midlands venue is up first with a new date of Monday, April 30 while Tipperary’s card will be run off two weeks later, on Monday, May 14. They will both be evening meetings. 

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