Big Weekend:Racing from Naas and Bellewstown

Friday, July 05, 2019
Big Weekend racing from Naas and Bellewstown

Condon a worthy Osborne operator
Ken Condon is a keen racing historian and when he is not training racehorses, he may well be found perusing material pertaining to the lore of the sport and industry in which he plies his trade.

Last year’s Irish 2000 Guineas-winning handler, courtesy of Romanised, has been enjoying a wonderful opening half to the flat season with six winners from 61 runners in his first year at Osborne Lodge.

Condon, who had been renting Ridge Manor Stables, purchased the venerable training establishment from Sandra Hughes. She had sent out a number of top-class winners from the facility, including Irish Grand National hero Thunder And Roses, and was following in the footsteps of her legendary late father Dessie, whose lengthy list of elite success was headed by Hardy Eustace’s two Champion Hurdles.

It has a much longer history than the almost 40 years of Hughes involvement however, and Condon liked the fact that there was a strong flat element to that. Osborne Lodge was originally built by James ‘Fairy’ Dunne in 1897 and Dunne trained two Irish Derby winners from there, while Michael Hurley added a third. In total, 18 classic winners have been conditioned at Osborne Lodge.

Condon’s horses have been running well and he is a man to keep on the right side of, particularly as his representatives can go off at attractive prices.

He has three runners at Naas tomorrow. Believe In Beauty is an interesting newcomer in the Foran Equine Irish EBF Auction Maiden (2.10), while the Corkman saddles two of the seven contestants in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Race. Aleef (Billy Lee) and Mistress Of Venice (Robbie Colgan) having both gotten their heads in front already this year and will be competitive.

Bellewstown bonanza
It has been a fantastic festival at Bellewstown, with the last of the four-day extravaganza taking place tomorrow. The crowds have flocked to the Meath venue and been rewarded with some excellent racing as well as off-course entertainment.

For a while it looked like this was going to be where Cheltenham Champion Hurdle and Champion Chase-winning trainer Colm Murphy would be making a return to racing, after an almost three-year absence from the fray, but the drying weather means that Glendruid will be held in reserve.

That leaves a field of eight for the concluding McLoughlin Oil Flat Race (7.50), with Emmet Mullins and Rose Dudfield looking to combine with Rocket Lad and follow up on their bumper success at Tramore for enthusiastic owners, The Fibonacci Partnership.

Gigginstown still giving
It was a shock to hear that Michael O’Leary would be winding down his interests in racehorse ownership, for the time being at least. Gigginstown House Stud have been fantastic supporters of racing and the breeding industry and enjoyed spectacular success over the years.

In a reminder that it is a case of winding down, to give trainers in particular a chance to make alternative arrangements, rather than an immediate severing of the cord, the famed maroon jacket will be observed on seven horses, or more specifically their riders, at Bellewstown and Wexford today, and Bellewstown tomorrow.

And it would be no surprise to see at least one of them led into the winner’s enclosure.

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