Next gen continue to soar
This year’s crop of apprentices have been enjoying themselves all season and when you see how Darragh O’Keeffe is doing over jumps, it is evident that there is a real willingness amongst trainers and owners to back young, up-and-coming talent throughout the racing sphere.
Of course momentum breeds confidence and support. Oisín Orr, Ben Coen and Nathan Crosse have been banging in the winners this season. Former champion apprentice Orr was the first of them to get a group win on the CV courtesy of the Dermot Weld-trained Imaging in the Gladness Stakes at Naas in April.
He was joined over the weekend by Andrew Slattery – cousin of Coen and another who has benefited from Weld’s patronage – and Shane Crosse, the brother of Nathan who was just touched off on No Needs Never for his primary supporter Joseph O’Brien but scored on the double over the weekend.
Crosse was first off the mark in the AES Renaissance Stakes (Group 3) on the O’Brien-trained Speak In Colours at the Curragh on Saturday and followed up when New York Girl swooped from the clouds in the Weld Park Stakes yesterday to deny stablemate A New Dawn, ridden by Wayne Lordan. Given that New York Girl went into the race a maiden – although an unlucky fourth on her only previous run – it is clear that she has plenty of potential.
Slattery secured his landmark triumph with the progressive Weld-conditioned Kastasa streaking clear in the Holden Plant Rentals Loughbrown Stakes (Group 3) on Saturday. The Aga Khan-owned filly was recording a fifth victory of the season and with seven lengths back to Cypress Creek, it is clear that loftier goals will be set for her.
Slattery was also on target on Borelli for Johnny Murtagh – who had a double on the day – in yesterday’s Mongey Communications Nursery Handicap at HQ, which moved him past Orr at the top of the apprentices’ table on 37 winners.
Big Gains for Jordan
Another jockey who won’t forget the weekend in a hurry is 18-year-old Jordan Gainford, who registered his first win under Rules when booting home Cushinstown Finest to claim the spoils for boss Colin Bowe in the JNwine.com Supporting Youth Action Hurdle at Downpatrick on Friday.
Gainford showed the experience he has garnered in the point-to-point fields when finding his route blocked initially in the home straight with five still in contention. He remained composed and had a willing partner, who benefited from his rider’s seven-pound claim to edge out My Galway Girl by a neck.
A native of Kiltealy, Gainford has been exposed to some outstanding young equine talent at Bowe’s and with the likes of Barry O’Neill and Rob James regular fellow work riders, has no shortage of talented pilots to learn from.
Byrnes and Brouder double up
In any other season, Kevin Brouder would be right in contention for honours as champion conditional jockey but with Darragh O’Keeffe in the process of setting all sorts of records if he remains fit, the Listowel man may have to contend with second best this term.
Nonetheless, Brouder – whose brothers Gavin and Gearóid are also licensed jockeys – has been having an outstanding year so far and his double for Charles Byrne at Navan on Saturday brought his total to 22 from just 124 engagements.
That places him fourth in the overall jockeys’ table alongside Jonathan Moore, with only Townend, O’Keeffe and Davy Russell doing better.
Byrnes is now on 12 winners from just 51 runs, after Brouder got Advanced Virgo up in the opening Bar One Racing App Maiden Hurdle and then did the business on Doctor Duffy in the Baroneracing.com Sign Up Bonus Hurdle.