Evening Meeting Basks in Brilliant sunshine

The racegoers at Bettyville basked in glorious sunshine last Wednesday the 19th as the evening meeting, an all national hunt card, was staged on one of the most enjoyable evenings in many a long day at Wexford.  With Royal Ascot making all the headlines across the water it was left to Louis Arcdeacon from Co. Cork to record a jackpot scuppering exercise with a long priced double. With the ground riding good to firm racecourse management had to resort to watering to keep the racing surface in good order.  With a film crew at the track filming a documentary on Paul Nolan adding glamour to the evening the arrival of a helicopter transporting owners  to the track for the first race nearly brought back memories of the past glories of the Celtic Tiger.

The days racing highlight was the Slaney Handicap Steeplechase, this race was run over 2 miles 1 furlong and saw 15 seasoned handicappers face the starter. Pat Doyle has been very adept at getting a tune out of his good little mare, Annie Other, with this 7 year old Bob Back mare winning her fourth race at the track in five attempts for the Co. Tipperary based trainer. Ridden on this occasion by the trainers son Jack, the British based professional bided his time at the rear of the field to come through and lead two fences from the finish to score by over 2 lengths from Sports Line and the leading Thouva.  Doyle indicated afterwards that the Elizabeth O Leary owned mare might try her hand at Galway for the Blazers and the amateur race before concluding “I’d wish they could move Galway down to here.  She loved the ground, travelled well and is as honest as they come”.

Louis Archdeacon made the trip from Cork pay off very well with a well priced double on the day. With the handicap hurdle divided Archdeacon saddled the PP Byrnes owned Mountain Lodge to win the second division in the hands of Andrew McNamara. The 5/1 shot was well handled by the jockey to keep on in a tight finish to win from Hurricane Jojo and Kauto Mill Rose. Following a lengthy stewards enquiry the placings remained un altered . The 9 year old son of Anshan was winning his third race of his career, but plans for the horse were hard to come by with his winning owner, a brother of Co. Limerick trainer Charles Byrnes playing his cards close to his chest. Archdeacon himself was nowhere to be seen following the victory of Captain Ocana in the Courtown Beginners Chase. Owned by his brother John the 16/1 chance gave young amateur Declan Queally a good ride to spring a surprise at 18/1.The 8 year old son of Karinga Bay was winning his very first race for connections.

Racing opened with the Mount Leinster Maiden Hurdle going to the Noel Meade trained Benemeade. With Meade himself over in Royal Ascot, the honours were done by Nina Carberry who welcomed home the winning 6 year old son of Beneficial. The Davy Condon ridden horse never looked in any danger and he duly collected for his Northern Irish based owners the All Fours Partnership. These men had travelled down from the North by helicopter and this win made it all worthwhile. Carberry indicated afterwards that  “He won handy enough, he will go for a novice hurdle at Galway”.

Simon Zebo is currently playing for the British and Irish lions out in Australia, but his namesake Our Man Zebo put him on the scoresheet in the Wellingtonbridge Novice Hurdle. The 6 year old grey son of Cloudings, a winning point to pointer added to his previous track win in the colours of Co. Derry based owner, John B O’Hagan and justified his odds of 11/8 favourite under Barry Geraghty. With his winning trainer Micheal Hourigan absent winning connections indicated that “Might be kept going, but that they should have to see how he came out of the race”.

Cloudings was responsible for the winner of the 3 mile Vinegar Hill Maiden Hurdle as well when, Fromthecloudsabove, sprang a 16/1 surprise for owner trainer Richard Morrissey.   The rookie trainer was saddling his very first runner as a restricted trainer and the young Dungarvan man stated afterwards “This was her ground, we’ll see where we’ll go from here”, ridden by Robbie Jones this former point to point winner just shaded the always prominent, Ciarans Oscar from the Paul Nolan yard.  This race the 3rd on the card saw Barry Geraghty being injured when riding Cool Klan and he was stood down for the rest of the day.

The first division of the Curracloe Handicap Hurdle saw Peter Cluskey a North Co. Dublin based trainer end a very dry spell when Chinook Run, a 9 year old by Chinook Eclipse sprang a surprise at 14/1 under Mark Bolger.  Cluskey stated afterwards “He won it well, he’s been knocking at the door, and I thought he was in with a chance”.  The eighth and final race on the card, the Mares Bumper went to the Milan 5 year old Myblueeyedgirl who won at 9/1 for the Co. Meath yard of Gillian Callaghan.