HRI Review

Racing Review

Townend To The Double At Tramore 

Former champion jockey Paul Townend continued to make the most of his opportunities in the absence of the injured Ruby Walsh when winning the opening maiden hurdle aboard Laurina at Thurles on Thursday. The Irish debutant was sent off the long odds on favourite at 1/4 and she duly justified her lofty reputation when running out a 15 length winner of the mares only contest. Townend went on to complete a double later on the card when winning the second maiden hurdle, this time for Shay Barry, as Terrible Beauty caused a bit of an upset at odds of 12/1 when the point-to-point winner won at the second time of asking on the track. There was to be a bigger surprise in the handicap chase though when 25/1 shot Cadawill put all recent form behind him to beat Shanklys Dawn by two and a quarter lengths for Cheltenham Festival winning trainer Rodger Sweeney. There was local sucess on the card with Poker Party winning the handicap hurdle and course specialist Ardera Criss winning for trainers Henry de Bromhead and Eoin Doyle respectively. The father and daughter duo of Ted and Katie Walsh won the finale as Kildorrey upset the odds in the bumper. 

Togoville Wins Dundalk Feature

Monaghan trainer Anthony McCann and apprentice jockey Conor McGovern teamed up for a brace at Dundalk on Friday night including the feature race won by Togoville. Winning for the first time since joining McCann earlier in the season, the seven-year-old made most of the running to win under the 7lbs claiming rider who had earlier won the opening race on Chicago School for McCann. Last Friday evening was a memorable one for trainer Andy Slattery and son Andrew as 16-year-old Andrew rode his first winner on the track. Sharjah made most of the running for the father and son partnership and held on close to the line to win at odds of 25/1. Pat Smullen also bagged a double on the all-weather surface. The nine time champion jockey had little issues on his way to winning the fillies maiden for Mick Halford on Adaliya and later on the card the Tom Mullins-trained Repare Mon dug deep to deny 11/8 favourite Pass The Ball. Current champion jockey Colin Keane was also among the winners at Dundalk with Princess Yaiza following up her recent win at the track to make it two from two at Dundalk for trainer Gavin Cromwell. 

Stormy Ireland Blows Rivals Away At Fairyhouse 

The Willie Mullins-trained Stormy Ireland made an impressive Irish debut when winning the juvenile hurdle at Fairyhouse on Saturday by 58 lengths under Danny Mullins. The French recruit never saw another rival for the entire two mile contest and came home clear of the remaining 10 runners with North Carolina eventually passing the post in second. Both beginners’ chases also threw up wide margin victories with Castlegrace Paddy causing a bit of an upset in the opening race. The 8/1 winner looks a horse to follow after recording a seven and a half length win for Pat Fahy and Andrew Lynch, while the second beginners chase went the way of the facile winner Moulin A Vent for Noel Meade and Sean Flanagan. Henry de Bromhead has shown great trust in claiming rider Dylan Robinson and is being rewarded with the conditional rider making the most of his opportunities and he was seen to good effect again in the maiden hurdle at Fairyhouse winning on Mount Hannover for owner Sally Rowley-Williams. Golden Jewel saw off all comers after the last flight to win the handicap hurdle at odds of 20/1 for Edward Cawley and Chris Timmons while there was local success in the other handicap hurdle on the card as Dromore Lad made it three wins in four starts for Dermot McLoughlin and Danny Hand. 

Next Level For Next Destination

Next Destination backed up an impressive maiden hurdle victory at Naas by winning the feature contest at Navan on Sunday. The odds on favourite, trained by Willie Mullins and ridden by nephew David Mullins, proved to be a class apart over 2m4f in the Grade 2 Navan Novice Hurdle and looks set for a go in Grade 1 company in Naas next month. Trainer Gordon Elliott left his local track with a treble after the very well backed Diamond Cauchois made a mockery of what looked a competitive renewal of the Tara Handicap Hurdle by winning at ease by eight lengths in the hands of Davy Russell. Jack Kennedy did the steering on the middle leg of the Elliott treble as Blow By Blow eventually wore down the best efforts of As You Were to win the 2m7f maiden hurdle before Lisa O’Neill and Rapid Escape sent favourite backers home happy with an 11 length victory in the concluding listed bumper. It was a red-letter day for trainer Liz Doyle as she saddled her first winner for owner JP McManus when Gran Geste got up in the shadows of the post to make it two from two on the track and deny Cask Mate. Sizing Titanium returned to the track to win the penultimate handicap chase for Jim Dreaper and Robbie Power. 

Leahy Has 24-Hours To Remember

Fresh from his double at Limerick on Friday trainer Augustine Leahy took Fairyhouse’s feature race on Saturday with 20/1 shot Nearly Nama’d. Ridden to victory by in form Luke Dempsey, 20/1 shot Nearly Nama’d was winning the EasyFix Handicap Chase for the second time having previously won the 2015 renewal for former trainer Sandra Hughes and it was a surprise that day too as he was 40/1 on that occasion. Owner JP McManus enjoyed a double on the card as the well-backed Out Of The Loop won the Kettles Supporting Fingal Ravens GAA Handicap Hurdle for Christy Roche and Mark Walsh. Youcantcallherthat proved to be a blot on the handicap when making it two from two for trainer and jockey Denis Hogan. A facile winner at Cork, Youcantcalherthat was six lengths too good for the 6/4 favourite Magic Of Light. A memorable weekend at Fairyhouse for Gordon Elliott began with The Storyteller coming late to bag the honours of the opening beginners chase but the trainer was to go down to a shock winner later on the card as Blow By Blow was denied by the minimum margin as Paul Nolan’s Doscorama obliged in the maiden hurdle. Minella Encore made a winning start for Willie Mullins when taking the bumper under Patrick Mullins.  

Historic Day For Burke’s At Thurles

The final meeting of the year at Thurles threw up the most unlikely winner of the year as 200/1 shot Killahara Castle claimed the feature mares listed novice hurdle for trainer John Burke. The biggest ever priced winner believed to be recorded in Ireland overturned the odds on favourite True Self and did so with a bit in hand to record her first ever victory at the 21st time of asking. Simple Steps proved to be too good for her rivals in the Molony Cup as she returned to form for trainer Robert Tyner and stable jockey Philip Enright. The surprisingly easy to back High School Days made it three on the bounce for Henry de Bromhead and Dylan Robinson in the handicap hurdle, while the rated novice hurdle went the way of Dom Dolo who looks a horse to watch for the season for Alan Fleming and owner Barry Connell. Koshari returned after a lengthy lay-off to ease his way to victory in the opening beginners chase and there was a double on the card for owner JP McManus whose colours were carried to victory by Fitzhenry in the Opportunity Handicap Chase, and then the 19 length bumper winner Rhinestone in the finale for Joseph O’Brien and Derek O’Connor.

Racing News

Douvan Out For The Season

Six-time Grade 1 winning chaser Douvan has been ruled out for the entire season by trainer Willie Mullins. The general second favourite for the Champion Chase at the Cheltenham Festival suffered a setback earlier in the month when missing the Tingle Creek Chase at Sandown and failed to come right again last week in preparation for Leopardstown’s Christmas Festival leading to Mullins and owner Rich Ricci taking the decision to sideline the seven-year-old for the whole campaign. 

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