Weekend Takeaways from Thurles

Thursday, December 27, 2018
Seskin Flyer

Seskin Flyer and Kevin Brouder take the last when winning the Adare Manor Opportunity Handicap Chase. Thurles

Carey’s Home Flyer

Seskin Flyer made home advantage pay to claim the Adare Manor Opportunity Handicap Chase at Thurles on Saturday. A mix-up caused by having purchased new weighing scales meant that jockey Kevin Brouder was carrying five pounds overweight. That the margin of victory was eight lengths in those circumstances illustrates just how dominant the victor was on the day, and explains why trainer Pat Carey is looking to make hay in the Mr Binman Handicap Chase (3.10) at Limerick on St Stephen’s Day. Seskin Flyer participates with a mandatory six pounds penalty but that is almost written off by the added weight Brouder carried in Thurles. In addition, the jockey will be able to claim his seven pounds, so this looks a fantastic opportunity.

Carey, who trains across the road from Thurles Racecourse, was celebrating his first triumph of the season. Seskin Flyer was also responsible for his only win of last term, and that came in December too, at Tramore. The festive season clearly appeals to Liam Phelan’s Broadway Flyer seven-year-old and he might not be finished yet.

Henry in a hurry

Being acknowledged as the driving force behind Rachael Blackmore’s thrilling bid to become the first woman to be champion jockey has actually overshadowed the phenomenal season Henry de Bromhead has enjoyed to date. The Waterford trainer has already bettered his tally of winners from last season and his total of 67, achieved at a 17 per cent strike rate, is only one off his previous best registered in 2016-2017.

De Bromhead left Thurles with a treble to smile about. Honeysuckle’s listed success brought Blackmore to 68 and within one of Paul Townend at the top of the table. Blackmore had to settle for second on Stacks Mountain however, as another Knockeen citizen, Plan Of Attack did the business under champion point-to-point rider Barry O’Neill. Conditional jockey Dylan Robinson has ridden plenty of winners for de Bromhead too and he got The King Of Brega home in the dying strides to deny Gavin Cromwell’s Dundalk specialist Political Policy.

With the artillery at his disposal now and the form the yard is in, it would be a huge surprise if de Bromhead did not at least match his PB over the Christmas period. 

Fasten your seat belts

The next few days are among the most fascinating and enjoyable of the racing year, with some ultra-competitive action on both sides of the Irish Sea. Potential will become something more in some instances, but bubbles will be burst in plenty others. Meanwhile the established stars will resume rivalries in a blur of hooves and birch, and amidst a cacophony of cheers and groans.

It is a momentous time for Limerick Racecourse in particular, which will be hosting a Grade One contest for the first time on St Stephen’s Day. The Matchbook Betting Exchange Novice Chase (2.00) is indeed Munster’s first Grade One and with a €100,000 prize fund, has attracted at strong line-up including Drinmore Chase third Jetz (Jessica Harrington), Hardline (Gordon Eliott) and the exciting Getabird (Willie Mullins).

Robbie Power has chosen Limerick over Leopardstown to partner Jetz, which is a testament to the race’s attraction, but the big news is the appearance of Ruby Walsh in Patrickswell on December 26 for the first time in 22 years. That is a tremendous reward for the ambition and endeavour of manager Patrick O’Callaghan and his team, and certainly increases the attraction of making the trip to Greenmount Park.

It also provides an indicator as to how highly rated Getabird is over the larger obstacles, particularly going right-handed on easy going. It should be a contest befitting its new status.