Good spread of winners
There were plenty OF opportunities over the
weekend and it was heartwarming to see such a spread of winners.
While leading conditioners Jessica
Harrington, Willie Mullins, Gordon Elliott, Jim Bolger and Joseph O’Brien added
to their tallies, the trend from the past year of more trainers getting among
the winners appears to be continuing, although it is early in the National Hunt
Still, on Saturday, the eight-race
programme at Navan yielded seven celebrating handlers – the red-hot Harrington
being the double scorer – while of the seven contests in Limerick, only Elliott
was a multiple victor, with five other trainers landing the spoils.
It was even better yesterday, when each of
the seven races at Sligo and eight at Fairyhouse had different successful
trainers, though Gavin Cromwell did achieve a cross-card treble – his double
coming across the water in Perth, where Elliott was also, almost inevitably, on
Eric McNamara, ‘Shark’ Hanlon, Michael Mulvany,
Keith Clarke, Karl Thornton, Timothy Doyle, Dot Love, Andy McNamara, Brian
Cawley and Liam Burke were among those to get on the mark, illustrating the
strength in depth in the Irish training ranks right now.
Family fun at Fairyhouse
If there was a good mix in terms of
different trainers getting on the mark, the Fahey and Slattery family in
particular had cause to enjoy Fairyhouse on Sunday.
Andy Slattery saddled Mid Winster to land
the Discover Boyne Valley Handicap, having given his nephew Ben Coen the leg
An hour and a half later, Slattery’s son, and
Coen’s first cousin, Andrew was seen to very good effect in the colours of the
Quantus Syndicate, getting Hidden Spark to the front on the line in the first
division of the Boyne Valley Racing Weekend Handicap for local trainer Dot
Love, who will always be remembered for winning the Irish Grand National on
this track with Liberty Counsel in 2013.
The Fahey brothers have all done well in
the training ranks over the years and two of them bagged the spoils in the last
two races to ensure shared bragging rights and an enjoyable spin back down to
Jarlath, whose star Sea The Lion was
injured in York on Saturday, earned some consolation thanks to Lyrical
Attraction’s smooth triumph in the Making Dreams Come True Handicap under Ronan
Whelan, whose mother Kathleen is joint owner of Sea The Lion along with Fahey’s
It was Peter’s turn in the lucky last,
Eadbhard winning even more easily in the Summer Evening Racing 17th
July Handicap. Oisín Orr has enjoyed a stunning first half to the season,
helped mightily by a fruitful association with Dermot Weld, but the Donegal
pilot won’t have many more comfortable wins that this. It was his 28th
of the campaign, giving the former champion a 10-winner lead over Slattery Jnr
in the apprentice table.
Enright back in style
When Mark Enright damaged his shoulder as a
result of a fall in the Irish Grand National on Easter Monday, he was expecting
to be back in the saddle a lot quicker than Friday.
Unfortunately for the Limerick native, the
injury was far from straightforward with the two broken bones taking time to
heal and he was sidelined for 13 weeks. While it meant he could follow the
fortunes of his county’s hurlers and especially his good friend, the keen
racing enthusiast Shane Dowling, it must have been frustrating but the man they
call ‘Fish’ is making up for lost time.
The shoulder was tested first time out at
Cork on Friday, when he drove An Fearchan to a head victory over Sky Marshal in
the Finbarr Quaid Elecitrical Maiden Hurdle, giving Gillian Scott her first
success as a licensed trainer.
He had two rides at Sligo yesterday and
though Hourie could only finish eighth, Enright combined with Trendsetter to
win the Clayton Hotel Handicap Hurdle for trainer Brian Cawley.
Riding at a 67 per cent success rate is
obviously unsustainable but with Galway just around the corner, where he
piloted Clarcam to an unforgettable Galway Plate victory 12 months ago, the
confidence is sure to high hitting Ballybrit once more.