Weekend Takeaways from Tipperary and Down Royal

Weekend Takeaways from Tipperary and Down Royal

Monday, June 24, 2019

Big Willie’s weekend wonder

A treble at Tipperary on Sunday, after Kildare trounced Antrim to progress in the All-Ireland Football Senior Football Championship on Saturday, made it a weekend to remember for former Lilywhite midfielder Willie McCreery.

McCreery was reared for the racing industry as son of trainer Peter, but was a brilliant footballer with Kildare and Clane too. A towering and tireless midfielder, he won countless county championships but most memorably starred as Kildare won the Leinster Championship in 1998 (yes, teams other than Dublin have been victorious in the distant past!) and reached the All-Ireland Final under the stewardship of Kerry legend, Mick O’Dwyer.

He became a selector after his retirement but by then was building towards what is now a very successful career as a Group 1-winning trainer.

The Tipp treble brings McCreery’s tally for the season to 17, which is bettered by only five handlers – Aidan O’Brien, Joseph O’Brien, Ger Lyons, Dermot Weld and Jessica Harrington.

Nathan Crosse and Sweetest Taboo got the show on the road, providing the in-form apprentice with his 12th success of the campaign, while Billy Lee completed a double on Memyselfandmoi and Killourney to rise to fourth on the jockey’s table with 24 winners.



Double delight for uncle and nephew

Ben Coen coped admirably with combining riding with studying for and then sitting his Leaving Certificate exams, a challenge also taken on by his first cousin Andrew Slattery and Gavin Ryan. Now that the pressure is off in that regard, being able to focus on the job must be a relief.

Coen combined with his uncle Andy Slattery for a double at Tipperary, thanks to Kurpany and Cityman. That brings the apprentice’s tally to 10 this term, just three behind Slattery Jnr in what is sure to be a keen if friendly rivalry.

In the process, Coen was helping his uncle double his tally for the campaign.



Flourishing Foley on the treble

Shane Foley is a multiple classic-winning jockey so it was always likely that he would grasp the opportunity provided to him as Jessica Harrington’s retained pilot with both hands.

The Wexford native booted a treble at Down Royal on Saturday, with two of those for his primary employer and one for Noel Meade.

The latter arrived in the Magners Ulster Derby on Dadoozdart and while Meade joked that training Flat horses was easier than jumpers, it has been notable that the Meath handler, who enjoyed plenty of big-race success on the level before concentrating almost exclusively on National Hunt, has been busier on the level in the past 18 months than at almost any time in the preceding 30 years.

Foley’s other two winners were for Harrington, Invincible Diva shedding her maiden status before Camphor claimed the Weatherbys Irish EBF Ulster Oaks with ease.

Foley is now joint second in the jockeys table with defending champion Donnacha O’Brien on 31 winners, though the pair have a lot of ground to make up on O’Brien’s predecessor Colin Keane, who sits on 44. 

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