It is hard to
believe that so much time has elapsed since Michael Ryan and a slew of friends
sang ‘The Old Dungarvan Oak’ in parade rings around the world, be it after
Finsceal Beo completed the Newmarket-Curragh 1000 Guineas double, or after any
of Al Eile’s three Aintree Hurdle successes in Liverpool.
Al Eile was a
wonderfully versatile performer who also enjoyed plenty of success on the Flat,
including claiming a November Handicap at Leopardstown under Fran Berry.
So dear was Al
Eile to Ryan’s heart that the Dungarvan man named his stud after him and he
continues to breed successfully from there.
years, Ryan has stood Finsceal Fior as a stallion, and the first foal of
Finsceal Beo has enjoyed a degree of success without unearthing anything of the
quality of his dam.
He has a son
competing in the Kerry Group 3YO Hurdle (2.00) on the opening day of Listowel’s
Harvest Festival on Sunday that might be of interest.
Last seen when
seventh of 14 over five furlongs at the Curragh last month, he had failed to
win in 10 attempts under the stewardship of his dam’s trainer Jim Bolger,
but been in the first three five times at distances from six to nine
furlongs, on ground from good to heavy.
he appeared at the festival twice last year, finishing third, beaten just a
length by Japan, a dual Group 1 victor and favourite for the Qipco Irish
Champions Stakes, and going one step closer to winning 24 hours later.
latest racecourse appearance, he has been relocated to the premises of Ryan’s
neighbour and friend John Queally, who guided Al Eile’s career so brilliantly.
And they are
returning to familiar surroundings, for the first of Al Eile’s 12 career
triumphs was secured in a three-year-old hurdle at Listowel’s Harvest Festival
in 2003. And given Sacchoandvanzetti’s obvious liking for the venue, it might
just be worth noting.
Noel Meade has
won races at every level of National Hunt racing since taking out a licence to
train, and was very much a dual-purpose handler in the early years, when he
enjoyed a significant degree of success on the level.
The Tu Va
handler has illustrated his ability to identify value and talent in unlikely
places and made it pay particularly via the Irish EBF auction series that have
proven such a hit the Flat and National Hunt sectors.
As a result,
he has been a more visible presence at Flat meeting in the past 18 months and
so Lafayette and Luke Short cannot be discounted in the Foran Equine Irish EBF
Maiden (1.45) at Navan tomorrow.
The former has
the benefit of one racecourse appearance, the latter has run twice and so this
might present a good opportunity for another Flat winner for their conditioner.
They will need to have improved for their previous efforts though as Jessica
Harrington’s Mutiny and Believe In Bounty for Ken Condon are just two who have
shown enough to suggest they might be hard to beat.