HRI Review

Racing Review

First Racecourse Double For Maxine O’Sullivan

Lombardstown amateur Maxine O’Sullivan celebrated her first racecourse double with winners for her father Eugene and Sam Curling at Killarney on Monday. The dual ladies’ point-to-point champion rider partnered 10/1 chance Citizen Al to win the mares’ maiden hurdle for her father and enjoyed a runaway bumper success on newcomer Raya Time, trained in Goolds Cross, Cashel by Curling. He sent out subsequent Cheltenham Festival winner Summerville Boy to win the same race last year. Another amateur rider on the mark was Declan Queally who both trained and rode 5/2 chance Minella For Value to win the hunters’ chase, a race the 12-year-old was second in last year. Rachael Blackmore went one better and matched Maxine O’Sullivan with two winners. She partnered the Harry Rogers-trained 7/2 favourite Benkei to win the 2m6f handicap hurdle and followed up on 16/1 chance Icantsay in the 3m2f handicap chase. The Grade 3 Beaufort Golf Club An Riocht Chase was won in great style by the gambled-on 5/4 favourite Ballyoisin for Enda Bolger and Barry Geraghty. Voix Du Reve won the conditions’ hurdle at odds of 8/11 favourite for Willie Mullins and his nephew David while Eamon High, a 5/2 chance, won the opening maiden hurdle for Henry De Bromhead and Dylan Robinson.

Leading Riders Among The Winners At Tipperary

It is early days in the 2018 Flat season but the leading three jockeys in the championship were all among the winners at Tipperary on Monday. Chris Hayes leads the way in the championship race and he brought his tally to 18 winners with success on the Patrick Prendergast-trained Mm Sixsevei in the 5f maiden. The gambled-on 5/2 shot won by an astonishing 14 lengths. Last season’s champion Colin Keane is very much in the hunt once again and he reached the 17-winner mark with his victory on the Noel Meade-trained 4/1 chance Roseriver Has in the 12f maiden. Third-placed Declan McDonogh is on 16 winners after his success on Gizi Gazelle, the 5/1 favourite, for Eamonn O’Connell in the 7f handicap. At odds of 9/1, Tom Madden partnered Summerseat Dream to win the 5f handicap for Jessica Harrington. Curragh trainers Tracey Collins and Johnny Feane struck with 7/2 shots Beckwith Place and Less Of That. Ronan Whelan rode the former to land the 7f maiden while Shane Foley was on board the latter in the 9f handicap. Ann Mooney and Niall McCullagh won the second of the 7f handicaps with 12/1 chance Full Shilling while Pat Flynn and Leigh Roche won the finale with Dixie Highway, which, at odds of 25/1, was easily the longest priced winner of the session.  

John Murphy Scores Last Gasp Killarney Double

Upton, County Cork trainer John Murphy ended the May meeting at Killarney on a high when taking the final two races at the Kerry venue on Tuesday. He scored a 1-2 in the 2m1f handicap as the Declan McDonogh-ridden 33/1 chance Emperor Waltz beat Shane Foley’s mount Nelson Road to the line 30 minutes before Foley partnered 2/1 shot Brazos to win the conditions’ event over 14f. Zamroudour was the opening leg of a double for McDonogh when he took the opening 11f maiden at odds of 3/1 for Dermot Weld and another Curragh trainer on the mark was John Oxx who saddled 5/6 favourite Agent Zigzag to win the 8f maiden under Colm o’Donoghue. The median auction fillies’ race went the way of 8/1 chance Espere which was up to winning on her debut for Ger Lyons and Colin Keane. A more locally-trained winner was Lisard Lady which won the 8f handicap for Tralee trainer Tom Cooper and Leigh Roche. The long journey home for Dunleer, County Louth trainer John Larkin was shortened considerably by the success of his Total Demolition in the second of the 8f handicaps under Ross Coakley. He beat the John Murphy-trained Paved With Gold to win at odds of 14/1.

Punchestown Treble For Jessica Harrington

Among the big winners with Supasundae at the Punchestown festival late last month, Jessica Harrington returned to the County Kildare track on Wednesday and struck with three winners. She shared two of them with Robbie Power, the pair combining with 100/30 chance Light That in the 2m novice chase before the well-backed 9/4 chance Holding Pattern won the mares’ maiden hurdle. At odds of 66/1, Paddy Kennedy was in the saddle as Conron made a winning debut over flights in the 2m maiden hurdle. Rachael Blackmore certainly knows where the winners’ enclosure is at present and she added to three victories at the festival when combining with Cloyne, County Cork trainer Denise O’Shea to win the 2m handicap chase with 20/1 chance Supreme Vinnie. The handicap chase over 3m went to O’Shea’s near neighbour James Motherway who saddled 11/2 chance Na Trachtalai Abu to win in the hands of Donie McInerney. The recently crowned champion conditional rider doubled up when taking the 2m7f handicap hurdle on the Mouse Morris-trained 16/1 chance Spring Watch. Martin Brassil and Richie Deegan landed the bumper with City Island which came from off the pace to score at odds of 9/2.

Bookmakers On Top As Redwood Boy Surprises At Clonmel

Punters had a tough time of it at Clonmel on Thursday evening and very few would have found Redwood Boy which landed the Sliabh Na mBan Handicap Hurdle for Shark Hanlon and Katie O’Farrell. Sent off a 33/1 outsider, the nine-year-old was in front just before the final flight and had enough in reserve to hold on from 14/1 chance Something Sweet. The handicap hurdle over 2m went to 10/1 shot Hearts Are Trumps which was a first winner for owner JP McManus trained by Des McDonogh. Mark Walsh was in the saddle and was also riding his first winner for the Kells-based trainer. Jessica Harrington continued her fine run of form when Jack Kennedy partnered her Loupgarou to a narrow success in the 2m3f handicap hurdle at odds of 9/1. The shortest-priced winner of the session was 7/2 chance Blondes No More which took the opening mares’ maiden hurdle for Eoin Griffin and Mark Enright. Visioman, a 9/2 chance, won the rated novice hurdle to give Waterford pair Henry De Bromhead and Dylan Robinson their second winner of the week together while Amschel, a 5/1 chance, gave Rachael Blackmore her fourth winner of the week when taking the 2m3f maiden hurdle for Ballyhale-trainer Ellmarie Holden. Willie Mullins and Aubrey McMahon teamed up to win the bumper with Suinda which won in convincing fashion at odds of 6/1.  

Heffernan Shares Two Cork Winners With Aidan O'Brien

Seamus Heffernan brought his tally for the fledgling season to five winners when sharing a double with Aidan O'Brien at Cork on Friday evening. The pair scored with two 5/2 shots with joint-favourite Most Gifted readily accounting for her stable companion Hence in the fillies’ maiden before second favourite El Greco beat the Joseph O'Brien-trained Tremendous Leap in the 8f maiden. Joseph O'Brien and his brother Donnacha went on to record two winners of their own as the gambled-on 7/2 favourite Rockfish took the 10f handicap with the minimum of fuss before 8/1 chance Dynabee just held on to win the concluding fillies’ maiden from the Willie McCreery-trained Mazzuri. Thurles trainer Hilary McLoughlin and Chris Hayes won the opening division of the extended 6f handicap with 5/1 joint-favourite Count Of Carabass while Rathangan-based William Fitzpatrick and Dylan Hogan, from Newmarket-On-Fergus, County Clare, took the second leg of the same race with another 5/1 joint-favourite, Dandys Gold. Ger Lyons and Colin Keane landed the two-year-old maiden with the well-supported 15/8 chance Invasion Day but a far more difficult winner to find was 33/1 chance Sheila’s Hope which won the apprentice handicap for John McConnell and Tom Madden who was riding his second winner of the week. 

Trio Celebrate Downpatrick Doubles

Trainer Jimmy Finn and jockeys Luke Dempsey and James Hannon were all celebrating doubles at Downpatrick on Friday night. Kildare jockey Dempsey teamed up with his father Philip to win the 2m5f handicap hurdle with Two In One, which at odds of 33/1, was the outsider of the field. He followed up when taking the 2m7f handicap chase on Jimmy Finn’s 14/1 shot Dorkas and the Nenagh trainer landed his double when 14/1 chance Turbo took the bumper in the hands of James Hannon. Hannon initiated his first racecourse double when winning the hunters’ chase on 7/1 chance Macs Legend for Macroom, County Cork trainer Gerry Kelleher. Willie Mullins and his nephew David landed the opening maiden hurdle with 4/5 favourite Caro Des Flos and the winning rider’s cousin Danny Mullins also got in on the winning act when partnering the Michael Grassick-trained 14/1 chance King Of Aran to a clear-cut success in the 2m5f handicap hurdle. Shark Hanlon made it two winners in as many days when Whatsinthecorner, at odds of 7/1, took the beginners’ chase under in-form Rachael Blackmore.  

Navan Treble For Former Champion McDonogh

Former champion jockey Declan McDonogh dominated at Navan where he rode three winners including a first and last race double for Dermot Weld. Betsey Trotter won the near-six-furlong auction maiden at odds of 5/2 for the pair who rounded off the day with success for the well-touted 11/8 favourite Broad Street which made a winning debut in the 10f maiden. McDonogh also won the 13f fillies’ handicap on the John Kiely-trained Decision Time. Aidan O'Brien landed the biggest prize of the afternoon when 4/7 favourite Southern France took the Listed Irish Stallion Farms EBF Yeats Stakes under his son Donnacha. Michael O'Callaghan and Leigh Roche were on the mark with 22/1 chance Evasive Power in the 5f median auction maiden while over the same trip, Enfield, County Meath trainer Denise Foster and champion apprentice Oisin Orr won the handicap with 16/1 chance Julia’s Magic. A more impressive winner was the Ger Lyons-trained Blue Uluru which is set for a step back up in class after recording an easy success in the second of the 5f handicaps under Gary Carroll.  

Royal Ascot Beckons For Impressive Naas Winners

The card at Naas on Sunday was reduced to just five races due to safety concerns about the home bend but not before a number of runners booked their tickets to the big Royal Ascot meeting late next month. Jessica Harrington has the Jersey Stakes in mind for Brother Bear which ran out a convincing winner of the Listed Owenstown Stud Stakes under Colm O’Donoghue. The 5/2 favourite will be joined on his travels by both Servalan and Chicas Amigas which gave Harrington a 1-2 in the Listed Coolmore Stud Irish EBF Fillies’ Sprint Stakes. Ridden by Seamie Heffernan, Servalan won at odds of 10/1. Their Royal Ascot targets are yet to be confirmed and the same applies to Sergei Prokofiev which Ryan Moore declared was the best two-year-old he has ridden so far this season after a four-length success in the Listed Coolmore War Command Rochestown Stakes for Aidan O'Brien. O’Brien and Moore shared three winners on the card with 10/11 favourite Broadway taking the opening 8f fillies’ maiden and 15/8 favourite Sioux Nation booking his place in the Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot with an authoritative victory in the Group 3 Goffs Lacken Stakes.

Rachael Blackmore Completes Clean Sweep

Rachael Blackmore is on quite a run and she rode a winner at each of the five National Hunt meetings last week. She added to a double at Killarney on Monday and winners at Punchestown, Clonmel and Downpatrick when partnering the Willie Mullins-trained Bang Bang Rosie in the mares’ maiden hurdle at Limerick on Sunday. The 4/6 favourite won well to give Blackmore her fourth winner for the champion trainer. Blackmore received facial injuries when brought down in the 3m handicap hurdle and she missed out on the winning ride on the Mullins-trained Asthuria in the mares’ chase. Robbie Power deputised on the seven-year-old which won at odds of 9/4 favourite. The 3m handicap hurdle was won by 10/1 chance Nick Lost which was a third winner of the week for Henry De Bromhead and Dylan Robinson. Tom Foley and Eamon Corbett took the 2m3f handicap hurdle with 20/1 chance All About Alfie while Damut was the 11/1 winner of the beginners’ chase for Michael Winters and Donie McInerney. Another double-figure winner was 14/1 shot Grey Mountain Mist for Dusty Sheehy and Ryan Treacy. Jessica Harrington and Robbie Power won the opening maiden hurdle with the well-backed 5/4 favourite Jetez while 100/30 chance Gallowglass took the bumper for Thurles trainer Stephen Ryan and his nephew, Trevor Ryan.  

Racing News

Death Of The Legendary Jockey TP Burns

One of Ireland’s most successful jockeys, TP Burns, has died. He was 94. Remembered as one of the most successful and versatile jockeys of the last century, he was an integral part of Vincent O'Brien's team through much of the trainer's career. TP partnered Ballymoss to win the Irish Derby and the English St Leger in 1957 and was runner up on the same horse in that year's Epsom Derby. Born in 1924, Burns won half a dozen Irish Classics in all, the last of which was the Kevin Prendergast-trained Pidget in the 1972 Irish St Leger. He was also a top rider over jumps and was successful nine times at the Cheltenham festival, all over hurdles for Vincent O'Brien. He was runner-up in the 1955 Champion Hurdle on Stroller and rode the legendary Arkle to success in a Flat race at Navan in 1963.  When flat and jumps winners were combined, Burns was leading rider in Ireland on three occasions in 1954, 1955 and 1957.  After riding his first winner at 14, Burns rode for almost four decades before retiring from the saddle and working as an assistant for O'Brien at Ballydoyle. He later filled a similar role for Dermot Weld. He came out of retirement to win on the Weld-trained Old Man River at Punchestown in July of 1989. 

Former Champion Jockey Joe Byrne Passes Away

The death has occurred of former champion National Hunt jockey Joe Byrne. He was 64. He was one of the leading riders in the country throughout the 1970s and had his best year as the decade came to an end, riding 48 winners to secure the title. He went on to enjoy Cheltenham Festival glory in 1983 on the Michael Cunningham-trained Churchfield Boy in the Grand Annual Chase. Byrne enjoyed a career highlight when completing a terrific Galway Plate/Galway Hurdle double in 1984. After partnering the Tom Bergin-trained Master Player to win the Plate at 40/1 off the 9st7lb minimum he teamed up with Bill Durkan to land the Hurdle on 8/1 chance Tara Lee. He is the last jockey to complete the double. Byrne’s big-race hurdle wins also include the 1980 Benson & Hedges at Fairyhouse on Going Straight for Jeremy Maxwell. The subsequent Grand National runner-up Greasepaint was a six-year-old carrying just 9st 8lb when Byrne rode him to win the 1981 Troytown Chase for Michael Cunningham. In 1983 he won the Troytown for a second time on the Bunny Cox-trained Sicilian Answer, whom he also partnered to win the Leopardstown Chase the following year. 

Death Of Former Trainer Al O’Connell

Former trainer Al O'Connell has died. He will be best remembered for his handling of high-class hurdler Classical Charm, which finished second to Celtic Shot at 33/1 in the 1988 Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham a couple of weeks after winning the Wessel Cable Champion Hurdle – now the Irish Champion Hurdle – under Ken Morgan at Leopardstown. Another flagbearer for the Meath man was Glens Music, which won nine races for the yard including a Grade 2 novice chase at Naas in 2003.

The mare's racing career ended not long after that career highlight, but she went on to make a lasting impression as a broodmare, producing Glens Melody, whose victories included the Grade 1 Mares' Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival in 2015 for Willie Mullins.

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