Weekend Takeaways from Cork and Leopardstown

Monday, April 08, 2019
Lady Kaya with Marie McCarthy, Joanne Lavery, Ana German, John Lavery, Robbie Colgan, Sheila Lavery after winning The Ballylinch Stud Priory Belle 1,000 Guineas Trial Stakes  Photo.carolinenorris.ie

Lady Kaya with Marie McCarthy, Joanne Lavery, Ana German, John Lavery, Robbie Colgan, Sheila Lavery after winning The Ballylinch Stud Priory Belle 1,000 Guineas Trial Stakes Photo.carolinenorris.ie

Laverys’ Lady a great racing story

Lady Kaya’s comfortable triumph in the Ballylinch Stud 1000 Guineas Trial at Leopardstown on Saturday illustrated once more that the dream at the core of racing at all levels can become reality.

Her trainer Sheila Lavery only took out a licence in 2012, at a time when the recession had left its mark on the industry and she was 52 years of age. The only member of her family to have any interest in horses, she her interest initially was in eventing and she branched into thoroughbred breeding before opting to try pinhooking, buying young stock and selling them as two-year-olds.

When she failed to move four of her projects, she took out a licence to train and they started winning. Her brother John provided the initial investment and found himself enjoying it. Trusting his sister’s judgement at the sales, he has been his sister’s primary patron as the yard has grown with each increasingly successful campaign.

Robbie Colgan has been a key member of the operation in recent years as a work rider initially and such was the fruitfulness of his partnership on the track with Chinook in 2018 that the long-time jump jockey has chosen to focus entirely on the Flat this season.

Meanwhile, John’s daughter Joanne has been trading in recent years and getting more involved in Sheila’s breeding interests now that training is taking over more of her time. Lady Kaya was one Joanne intended to sell as a yearling, having bought the daughter of Dandy Man from Ballylinch Stud for €15,000. She couldn’t get enough however, so she put her in training with her aunt. And now, whatever happens, she owns a very valuable filly with a broodmare career assured as a Group 3 winner.

And even if a mile does stretch her and Classic glory is beyond the Laverys’ Lady, it is hard to imagine her not taking plenty of scalps over seven furlongs. It is truly a great racing story.

Jon Ess does his namesake proud

Conor O’Dwyer was a Gold Cup-winning jockey who initially concentrated on training in the National Hunt sphere but economics have seen him turn his attention to the Flat more in recent years.

Jon Ess made it two winners on the trot on the level for the Rossmore House trainer in the Corkracecourse.ie Apprentice Handicap yesterday under Tom Madden and it was one that was dear to his heart given that Dragon Pulse five-year-old is named after his great friend and former weigh room colleague John Shortt, who died two years ago after a long battle with cancer.

Jon Ess, owned by the Brinkleys Syndicate, has certainly done his bit to keep the Shortt name in lights and this was his fourth career success. One suspects it won’t be the last.

Jock for John

The Names Jock looks a smart recruit for John Kiely. The octogenarian is better known as a trainer of top class National Hunt horses, from Carlingford Lough back to Ivan King, with Blazing Liss, Liss A Paoraigh, Black Queen, Sweeps Hill and Indian Pace in between.

The Dungarvan handler is no stranger to Flat success however, Toe The Line illustrating that well in recent times and The Names Jock might be one to pick off some good pots along the way after bagging the Mallow Handicap at Cork yesterday with Billy Lee, a week after a promising third-place finish in Navan.

Owned by Brian Gleeson, of RTÉ and ITV Racing, the three-year-old bred by Dermot Weld’s Springbank Way Stud was purchased by former flat jockey Ted Durcan with a view to pursuing a career as a juvenile hurdler and bears the hallmarks of a horse that may well flourish in that division.

But the shrewd Kiely - described by Gleeson as “the maestro” – is never one to pass up an opportunity along the way and one suspects there might be another pot or two to be hoovered up yet before Jock turns his attentions to the obstacles.

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