Big Weekend: Racing from Navan and Listowel Harvest Festival

Friday, September 06, 2019
Big Weekend Listowel

Winning combo to note

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.

In recent 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.

Interestingly, 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.

Since his 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.


Meade’s a(u)ction model

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.

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