Fahy unearths another gem in the South East.

Racing in the South East clicked into gear at Punchestown yesterday with no less than five of the winners having links with that corner of Ireland.

Co Wexford based Colm Murphy renowned for his expert handling of such stars as Brave Inca, Big Zeb and Voleur La Vedette sprang a 12/1 surprise with the Gigginstown House Stud owned Empire of Dirt. Ridden by Davy Russell this son of Westener cost €325,000 at Tattersalls in 2010 and made his first repayment with this win in the maiden hurdle.

John Cullen now resident in Thurles, Co Tipperary doubles up as a jockey and a trainer these days. The Blackwater, Co Wexford native won on Rightdownthemiddle a son of Oscar for Michael Mulvany in the 2m 6f maiden hurdle at 12/1 upsetting their more fancied rivals.

Trainer Seamus Roche who is based in Co Kilkenny booked Paul Townend to take the mount on Jim Will Fix It. The 8 year old gelding by Lord of Appeal held on in the 2m 4f beginners chase at 9/1. Interestingly this horse was an unsold lot when last in the sales ring, he couldn’t make a €500 bid!

Pat Fahy has over the years managed some nice horses including Nuaffe, Mariah Rollins and Dun Belle from his yard in Co Carlow. He may have unearthed another gem here in the shape of Morning Assembly a 6 year old by Shantou. Ridden by Ruby Walsh this was an impressive chasing debut and may give Fahy another opportunity to return to the bigger stage.

Willie Mullins is very much a national player but the Co Carlow based Goresbridge native plies his trade in the South East. His son Patrick and himself had a bitter sweet victory in the mares bumper with Shesafoxylady being awarded the race on the disqualification of their relatives Tom and David Mullins with Elsie. But sure a win is a win!

Racing today is in Clonmel with the track in the South East hosting a seven race card. After yesterdays single winner in Best Options the following are my choices.

Best Options:

1.25 Young Ambition (J Clifford/HD Dunne)
1.55 Gallant Tipp (EJ O’Grady/MP Walsh)
2.25 Famous Ballerina (JA Berry/MJ Scallan)
2.55 Glibin (C Bowe/B O’Neill)
3.25 Mack A Track (CF Swan/DN Russell)
3.55 Speckled Wood (C Roche/AP Crowe)
4.25 Happy New Year (O McKiernan/SJ Crimin)

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Muskerrys to Point to Point in Cork City this Weekend.

1913 was the great Lock Out, 1916 was the Easter Rising but they all pale into insignificance to 1917 as that is the last year that a Point to Point fixture was held in Cork City!!!!!!

That extraordinary event can be rectified this weekend with the Muskerry Hunt staging the first Cork City based point to point meeting at the Cork Showgrounds in Bishopstown on the outskirts of the City on Saturday the 2nd.

With a good attendance hoped for at the track the underfoot conditions promises to be in good order for the six race card.

Whether David Christie, Colin Bowe or Vincent Halley have runners might be open to question as this seasons leading trainers might take other options over the weekend. Entries at all three fixtures Muskerry, Co Roscommon and Kilkenny are a little patchy, check them out on P2P.ie.

David Christie currently leads the Trainers or Handlers table from his yard in Co Fermanagh with 6 wins to date, closely followed by Colin Bowe from Co Wexford on 5 and Waterford based Vincent Halley on 4.

It’s early days yet in the Autumn/Winter season and we still have to see the strength in depth from Gordon Elliott, Robert Tyner and Denis Murphy.

On the breeding front, Sean Kinsella of Knockhouse Stud’s much missed stallion Beneficial leads the sires list. Just having a quick glance at last weekends winners a number of stallion names popped up including Kalanisi, Pierre, Stowaway, Royal Anthem, Oscar, Flemensfirth and Milan.

All of these promise much for the remainder of the season with many foal owners with stock by these Stallions for sale at Tattersalls and Goffs over the coming weeks will be hoping that these winners will keep that stallions name to the forefront.

Racing focus at Punchestown.

Punchestown is our racing focus today with many trainers and owners choosing to give their horses their seasonal debut at the Co. Kildare track.

With winter time now in operation racing begins at 1.05.  Colm Murphy will be at the course early as he saddles three horses in the opening maiden hurdle.  Empire of Dirt a Westener 6 year old might be the best of them under Davy Russell, but Edward O’Grady may have the answer to the race itself with Polish Partisan. This 6 year old Pilsudski gelding won his bumper at Sligo in July and if hurdling quickly he might win this race over two miles.

Martin Brassil and Ruby Walsh may have the answer to the two mile six furlong maiden hurdle with Troll D’Oudairies. The 6 year old son of Shaanmer had some nice placed form in May and Brassil should have him forward enough to win this. He may have most to fear from The Job Is Right under Barry Geraghty.

Boots and Slippers Madden have been joined by Tom Socks Madden as a successful jockey recently and the Madden family may celebrate again and take the 2.05 with Mad For Road in the handicap hurdle. This Galileo 4 year old is fit from the All Weather at Dundalk and looks the likely one here in the green and gold colours of JP McManus.

Way Up In The Air makes the trip from Co Cork for Robert Tyner to contest the beginners chase over two miles. Philip Enright takes the mount on the 6 year old daughter of Rock Of Gibraltar and the bumper and hurdle winner should add to her record here, she has most to fear from Henry De Bromhead’s Two Scoops.

Shantou is starting to bulid up a good reputation as a sire and his 6 year old son Morning Assembly makes his chasing debut here over two miles four furlongs. The Pat Fahy trained horse is highly promising and hopefully will win here for Ruby Walsh.

Ard Agus Fada the 10 year old son of Anshan must be the tallest horse in training and Philip Rothwell has saddled him to win four times to date. His fourth place at Tipperary on his last run looks good enough to win the handicap chase under Andrew Ring.

The mares bumper closes the day and John Kiely and Derek O’Connor are chosen to win with Toe The Line. This Shantou 4 year old won at Listowel in September and it will be disappointing if she loses here. This race only has five runners and will be tactical so O’ Connor needs to be at his best to win here.

Best Options:

1.05 Polish Partisan (EJ O’Grady/Barry Geraghty)
1.35 Troll D’Oudairies (M Brassil/Ruby Walsh)
2.05 Mad For Road (N Madden/NP Madden)
2.35 Way Up In The Air (Robert Tyner/PT Enright)
3.10 Morning Assembly (PA Fahy/Ruby Walsh)
3.45 Ard Agus Fada (PJ Rothwell/Andrew Ring)
4.15 Toe The Line (John Kiely/Derek O’Connor)

All roads lead to Down Royal.

The Breeders Cup will have the eyes of the wider racing world on it this weekend, but the National Hunt fraternity will be out in force at Down Royal on Friday and Saturday (1st and 2nd of November) for their two day festival. This festival at Down Royal has now become one of the more important fixtures on the racing calendar on the island providing many winning opportunities for horses and leaves more than a few talking points for the season.

The Grade 1 JN Wine.com Champion Chase looks like being a fascinating contest with the 3 mile contest boasting a top class entry on the 2nd. Henry De Bromhead has his stable star, Sizing Europe entered and the 3 mile contest on yielding ground may be within the scope of the classy 11 year old. The horse’s seasonal debut at Gowran Park has underlined his well being and De Bromhead confirmed the horse’s good form at Wexford over the Halloween weekend. After bravely battling against Sprinter Sacre last season the son of Pistolet Bleu should have a real chance of landing this race.

Gigginstown House Stud have a number of their horses entered with Mouse Morris giving First Lieutenant an entry, this former point to point winner, will strip fitter than on his return race at Punchestown earlier this month. The 8 year old son of Presenting beaten in this race last year will be difficult to fend off. While Gigginstown also have the Colm Murphy trained Quito de La Roque engaged, with the 9 year former point to pointer winner hoping to get back to winning ways having taken this contest in 2011.

When you throw in last years winner, Kauto Stone from the Paul Nicholls / Daryl Jacob team this years renewal is really good. Jacob successful here last season might just find it more difficult now as his horses form since with a P7P form line wouldn’t inspire confidence.

Racing opens on the 1st with two nice graded races down for decision. Colin Bowe travels his horses the length and breath of the country looking for opportunities. He has a really tough mare in the shape of Little King Robin with the 5 year old Kings Theatre looking for a graded win here after being placed behind Cailin Annamh and Indevan in black type contests at Punchestown and Limerick. Successful at Tyrella under Barry O’Neill between the flags in March she has all the signs of being involved here at the business end.

She will not have it all her own way however in the Grade 3 EBF Lough Construction Ltd Mares Novice Hurdle as Que Pasa from David Kelly’s yard has some nice winning form with the Loup Solitaire 5 year old filly having a win over Idevan to her credit. While Ken Condon’s progressive filly, Roja Dove a 4 year old by Jeremy has won twice this season so far and has taken well to hurdling.

The other graded race on the card is the Grade 2 WKD Hurdle which maybe fought out by Jezki and Caid De Berlais. Jessica Harrington has the Cheltenham Festival always in her sights and last season, Jezki her 5 year old Milan gelding finished third. She will be hoping to get this campaign off on a successful footing in this 2 mile race. They may get most to do from Caid De Berlais out of the British based yard of Paul Nicholls with the 4 year old son of Westener being opposed again by Gordon Elliots Flaxen Flare.

Racing on the first day also includes a beginners chase with Marlbrook a point to point winner at Nenagh in January under JT McNamara looking a lively option here. Trained by Colm Murphy the son of Beneficial looks capable of building upon his hurdle win at Gowran Park in March.

Murphy could also try to take the Grade C Billecart –Salmon Handicap Hurdle on the second day with Aladdins Cave. This horse a 10 time winner, bred by The Queen has won at Galway and Dundalk and looks like an animal that needs a sound surface, but this race looks within the scope of the son of Rainbow Quest.

Saturday will also see the running of the Powers Irish Whiskey Chase with the Grade 2 contest giving Benefficient another winning chance. The Tony Martin trained 7 year old son of Beneficial progressed out of the point to point fields to win at Cheltenham last season and may go well here. A fourth place in a qualified riders race at Listowel should see him straight. He may be opposed by Jim Cullotys Lord Windermere, himself a winner at Cheltenham and a horse that the former top jockey thinks the world of.  While Henry de Bromhead may set Buckers Bridge this task also but the 7 year old son of Pelder would have to repeat the form he showed by beating Twinlight in February to feature here.

The two day festival will conclude with the Daily Mirror Bumper and this could fall to either of the two Gordon Elliot horses, Speed Demon or Moonshine Lad with each of them having winning point to point form. Derek O’Connor won on the 4 year old Beneficial gelding Speed Demon at Askeaton while Jamie Codd had the leg up on Moonshine Lad at Lingstown in March when the 5 year old Milan horse won.

All roads lead to Down Royal this weekend, don’t miss it if you can!

Codd back in the Groove with Four Winners.

The Point to Point yards had a busy Bank Holiday weekend with racing at four venues from Counties Antrim, Limerick, Meath and Tipperary over three days.

Jamie Codd is back in the groove following a fine weekend which saw him bag four winners. This now puts him on the 8 winner for the season 3 adrift of pace setting Barry O’Neill on 11 with reigning champion Derek O’Connor breathing down their necks on the 6 winner mark.

Codd went to the Meath and Tara meeting at Tattersalls on the 27th and took the Open Lightweight on the veteran Backstage. Now trained and owned by Gordon Elliot the 11 year old son of Passing Sale has had a string of second places to his name, so it’s good to see him back in the winners enclosure.

Codd also joined forces with Waterford based trainer Vincent Halley to take the 5 Year Old Geldings Maiden with Otago Trail. A son of Heron Island he is one of a nice team of horses built up by Halley.

Codds treble came up on the Conor O’Dwyer trained Alderbrook gelding The Orange Rogue. O’Dwyer had a busy day as he had earlier been in Galway while also having a sucessful runner at Wexford!

The Codd groove continued at the Golden Vale Foxhound meeting today where he booted home the Robert Widger trained Layla Joan. This 5 year old daughter of Oscar made a pleasing debut in Lismore in March and built on it here.

Barry O’Neill finished off his weekend well in Tipperary where he scored a nice double today. Colin Bowe supplies O’Neill with a good portion of his winners and they joined forces here to win with Blackjack Rebel in the 5 and 6 Year Old Maiden. This 6 year old son of Needle Gun is owned and bred by John Gibbons.

The final race of the Point to Point weekend went to O’Neill and Donnchadh Doyle with Uppertown Bubbly for William Yorke. Bred by Andy Pierce this son of Hubbly Bubbly has little mileage on the clock and could progress.

Andrew Latta the young Wexford based jockey also had a good weekend. He took the first race of the weekend in Loughanmore when winning on Lawless Island for Sean Doyle. Latta doubled up the next day in Meath when taking the first division of the 4 Year Old Maiden with his own horse Silent Knight.

Continuing our round up Robert James and Melvin Rothwell took the Mares Maiden at Tattersalls with Time To Please, while Colin Motherway and Jim Culloty won with the impressive River Of Time at Lemonfield.

While champion Derek O’Connor kept tabs on them all with 3 winners, one on each day with Tousupreme, Harpour and Throthethatch.

More from the Between the Flags next week but as always it’s thanks to p2p.ie for keeping us all in the loop over a long weekend.

Naas jumps to it!

Naas Racecourse stages a really strong card today on the Halloween Bank Holiday Monday. The two racing power houses in jumping, JP McManus and Gigginstown House Stud could possibly go through the entire card. Their horses, spread throughout the yards in the country are in great form and both owners had trebles yesterday at Galway and Wexford. That said a couple of other stables may have better options.

The 2 mile Poplar Square Chase offers up a Grade 3 contest to owners and trainers. It’s likely to have 6 runners as Sweeney Tunes ran yesterday at Wexford and may stay in his box today. This is a really tight little contest with Gordon Elliots Realt Mor, Henry De Bromheads Special Tiara and Willie Mullins Twinlight all having a chance. Preference is for the 8 year old Beneficial horse Realt Mor with Davy Russell taking the mount.

Rule The World a former course winner lines up for the 2 mile 4 furlongs Hospitality @ Naas Racecourse Hurdle and he has a leading chance. The 6 year old son of Sulamani ran an absolute cracker at Cheltenham in March for Mouse Morris and should take this if fit enough for Russell and Michael O’Learys Gigginstown. Dessie Hughes takes him on with recent winner Captain Arceus, while Waaheb is an interesting runner from Dermot Weld’s yard.

Racing opens with Morris and Russell looking like having a leading chance with Gigginstown Studs Akorakar. This former point to point and bumper winner a 4 year old by Lando is an exciting prospect for the winter and should win here.

Defy Logic makes his debut over fences today in the Beginners Chase for Paul Nolan. This bumper and hurdle winner is an interesting 6 year old son of Flemensfirth and is more than capable of winning this for JP McManus and Mark Walsh.

Dessie Hughes has a few horses running in his own colours these days and one of these, Pink Coat is a tentative choice for the Grade C Brown Lad hurdle. This 6 year old by Alhaarth won at Listowel and if handling the ground should win under Bryan Cooper.

The bumper looks like being a really strong race with some nice graduates from the point to point fields lining up. Paul Nolans Behemoth, Jim Dreapers San Pietro, Highbrow Blue for Michael Griffin and Racing Pulse for Michael Winters all have a winning chance. Preference is given to the Ballindenisk point to point winner Racing Pulse for Winters and MJ O’Connor. This 4 year old by Garuda might build upon this victory here.

Liz Doyle may have the answer to the handicap hurdle with Rafi De Triana an 8 year old son of Sleeping Car likey to add to his previous wins.

Best Options:

1.15 Akorakar (MF Morris/Davy Russell)
1.45 Realt Mor (Gordon Elliot/Davy Russell)
2.15 Rule The World (MF Morris/Davy Russell)
2.45 Defy Logic (Paul Nolan/Mark Walsh)
3.15 Pink Coat (DT Hughes/Bryan Cooper)
3.45 Rafi De Triana (Liz Doyle/ AP Heskin)
4.15 Racing Pulse (Michael Winters/MJ O’Connor)

What’s on this Week?

On the Track:

28th Galway, 28th Naas, 30th Punchestown, 31st Clonmel, 1st Dundalk (e), Down Royal, 2nd Down Royal, 3rd Cork, Leopardstown.

Point to Points:

28th Golden Vale (F), 2nd Muskerry (F), 3rd Co Roscommon (H), 3rd Kilkenny (F).

Double Seven and JP steal the show at Wexford.

20131028-111010.jpgThe highlight of Wexford racecourse year was the first running of the Listed MW Hickey Memorial Chase on Sunday. With a total of seven races on offer the Wexford track was the centre of attention for all racegoers in the South East. Following heavy rain on the previous day the going was soft, yielding in places, but as they raced on a fresh strip of ground the course held up very well for the card. On a day of fine sunshine a reasonable attendance saw a number of noteworthy performances.

In the equine world Double Seven recorded his fifth win in a row this season for JP McManus and his trainer Martin Brassil. McManus, a long time supporter of national hunt racing saw his silks carried to success on three occasions on the afternoon with Double Seven, Carriganog and Hospital all winning for the Co. Limerick native. Not to be outdone Co. Waterford based trainer Henry De Bromhead saddled a nice double with Bendanella and Sizing Australia both win while young claiming jockey Kevin Sexton scored a double as did Mark Walsh. With three winning favourites on the day and four well supported other winners bookies didn’t have it all their own way. Racecourse management were pleased to see the return of a Listed contest to the racecourse for the first time since 2005 ( won by Philip Rothwells Amorini)and their intention is to continue to build upon progress at the track over future years.

The Hickey family from Garryrichard sponsored the MW Hickey Memorial Steeple Chase run over 2 miles and 6 furlongs. With 6 runners facing the starter, Double Seven a 7 year old by Milan was punters favourite at 5/4 as he attempted to win this pot to add to his Munster national win at Limerick two weeks ago. Mark Walsh had the Martin Brassil trained horse in mid field as Ballinahow Lady under John Cullen tried to win from the front. Walsh took charge of the race at the second last and went on to win comfortably. Speaking afterwards winning trainer Brassil stated “The opportunity was here, the ground was raceable today, his novice allowance made it an attractive option. He will be back in the spring to take part in some of the decent handicaps at that time”. His winning breeders Martin and Marie Doran of Parkville Stud in Foulksmills were on hand to participate in the victory celebrations. They will be hoping that this horse will add further to the winning pedigree from their dam that they have in their stud.

McManus is one of the biggest investors in Irish National Hunt racing and having bought Carriganog 10 to 12 days ago his racing manager Frank Berry was on hand to welcome him home after winning the I.N.H Stallions Owners EBF Novice Hurdle. Trained by Aidan O’Brien in Ballydoyle the 4 year old Shantou gelding was giving him a second hurdle win in 10 years and won at 11/8 on. Berry commented after “He did it grand, you couldn’t ask for more, we will see what Aidan wants to do, maybe go for another novice”. This horse has a bit of size and the winning jockey Robbie Power will be hoping to continue his association if possible in future months.

The Whitford Hotel have long been supporters of the racecourse in Wexford and they sponsored the Jim Whitty Memorial Beginners Steeple Chase on the day. McManus recorded his treble when Hospital ,a 5 year old Kings Theatre gelding saw off all challengers under Mark Walsh to win comfortably at 7/1. Winning trainer Eric McNamara indicated afterwards “We have no major targets for the horse, he jumped great, it was an ideal race for lesser lights and wearing those colours is no harm”. Namarama one of the market fancies didn’t get beyond the second fence here while another horse to note was Classic Event who fell at the last when held in second place.  Racing opened with the 2 mile Garryrichard Stud Maiden Hurdle which went to Noel Meade and Barry Geraghty with Ange Balafre, this fine 4 year old son of Ange Gabriel could be one for the future following his first victory over hurdles. His winning connections The High Spirits Racing Club indicate afterwards that the future of the French bred horse would be mapped out by Meade.

Henry De Bromhead has built up a really nice yard in Co. Waterford and he notched a nice double here with Bendanella in the Poolcourt Construction Maiden Hurdle and Sizing Australia in the Martinstown Opportunity Handicap Hurdle. Andrew Lynch took the mount on Bendanella for the Cosgrave Family from Enniscorthy, Co. Wexford to win at 5/1. The 5 year old Heron Island gelding is home bred and comes from the family of Multim In Parvo, a successful little chaser of yesteryear. De Bromhead stated “We hoped he would win well, he disappointed at Tramore, he schooled really well recently but he will be better over fences”. The winning trainer gave Kevin Sexton the leg up on Sizing Australia in the Opportunity Handicap Hurdle and the 11 year old son of New Frontier battled back gamely to win after leading all the way. This former winner at the Cheltenham festival in 2011 will return to that track in November to contest the cross country race again. De Bromhead noted “Kevin is with us a couple of months now, we are delighted with him and you can always count on a bit of class in a race”.

Sexton, a 7 pound claiming professional joined forces with Conor O’Dwyer’s yard in the concluding bumper and conjured up a great run from Herons Heir to pass Ballyroe Rambler on the run to the line. Speaking afterwards O’Dwyers wife Audrey stated “He’s a nice horse, he did it really well, Conor always liked him but I don’t know where we will go as the man himself is travelling between Galway and Fairyhouse as we speak”.

John Berry saddled two runners in this race and was happy to be second with Ballyroe Rambler ridden by Mark Scallan but everybody was concerned for the rider of his second horse Jimmy Golan following that horses fall on the final circuit causing injury to PJ O’Connor.

Wexfords Halloween Racing Highlight.

The ground conditions at Wexford will have changed the going dramatically following overnight rain so we may have a number of absentees today. Hopefully racing goes ahead as planned so take a minute or two to read the days preview.

Michael Hickey the Stallion Master from Garryrichard Stud in Co Wexford is commemorated at Wexford Racetrack today with the running of the MW Hickey Memorial Chase. This Listed race is a fitting memorial to one of the countries top stallion masters and breeders and also highlights and confirms the progress at the track in the past number of years.

Run over 2 miles 6 furlongs Wexfords Halloween Highlight has six runners and looks like being within the compass of Co Kildare based Martin Brassil with his progressive chaser Double Seven. The 7 year old son of Milan has won two “nationals” one at Kilbeggan and the other one at Limerick. Owned by JP McManus this horse is on a five timer if he wins here. Mark Walsh will get the leg up and he looks like being a shu in. Bred by Martin Doran of Parkville Stud and from the family of Cahervillahow the track itself may not play to the horses stamina strength, but his fitness and gameness are without question to warrant support.

The Whitford Hotel sponsors the beginners chase over 2 miles 1 furlong. The 14 runners here should deliver a really good spectacle with preference for the Co Waterford trained Namarama. John Queally handles this 7 year old Bob Back gelding for the Aintree Boys Syndicate and the dual hurdle winner should make a successful chasing debut under Brian Hayes.

The opening Garryrichard Stud Maiden Hurdle looks like being fought out between Noel Meades Ange Balafre and Dessie Hughes Lipinski. Meades horse a son of Ange Gabriel makes his hurdling debut here under Barry Geraghty and they may pack to much of a punch as his bumper win at Roscommon should stand to him here.

Brian Hayes may be lucky enough to have had a double as he is fancied to win the Poolcourt Construction Hurdle with Shark Hanlons Its All An Act. This 5 year old don of Presenting will test British form here as his two bumper wins came at Perth in 2013.

JP McManus sponsors the Martinstown series for conditional jockeys. The Limerick man might well see his colours carried with prominence here with Luimenach Abu in the 2 mile 13 runner contest. A winner at Wexford in June the High Chapparal 5 year old has had 3 second placings since and should win for Shane Broderick and Jody McGarvey.

Aidan O’Brien saddled his first hurdle winner in 10 years at Clonmel 24 days ago in the shape of Carriganog. This Shantou 4 year old now races in the colours of JP McManus and he looks the choice in the 2 mile INH Stallion Owners EBF Novice Hurdle. This may be no Istabraq but is good enough to win here with Robbie Power in the plate.

The final race of the Halloween two day fixture might go to the Co Carlow yard of Tom Foley. The Pounds, a 7 year old by Shantou has 6 placings in an 8 runner bumper career to date and looks like the winner on all known form for Patrick Foley.

Best Options:

1.10 Ange Balafre (Noel Meade/Barry Geraghty)
1.40 It’s All An Act (JJ Hanlon/Brian Hayes)
2.15 Luimneach Abu (JP Broderick/Jody McGarvey)
2.50 Carrignog (AP O’Brien/Robbie Power)
3.20 Double Seven (Martin Brassil/Mark Walsh)
3.55 Namarama (John Queally/Brian Hayes)
4.25 The Pounds (Thomas Foley/PT Foley)

Mullins and Walsh have a Quick Fire Double at Wexford

20131028-110559.jpg

The highlight of Wexford racing season the two day Halloween Bank Holiday fixture, kicked off today at Bettyville with the Casey Brothers, Jim and Paddy Casey sponsoring the entire day under their Casey Enterprise banner. The seven race card was highlighted by the €14,500 Casey Precast Handicap Chase which went to the local yard of Paul Nolan with Dick Dundee. By this stage of the afternoon the inclement weather had subsided with the driving wind and rain giving way to the forecasted sunshine. With 5 winning favourites the bookies had a pretty torrid time battling against the punters, interestingly only 12 of the original 19 bookmakers were still on the course by day’s end with many opting out due to the weather conditions at the track, lucky for some!! The ground conditions did change throughout the day with the original going of Good to Yielding, yielding in places changing to Yielding, Soft in places seeing a number of absentees on the afternoon.

Willie Mullins and Ruby Walsh fired off a quick double winning the first two contests with a couple of interesting favourites. Mullins has taken charge of a number of Graham Wylies horses over the past couple of years and he chose Wexford for race goers to see Alonso make his Irish Jumps debut in the Casey Concrete Blocks Maiden Hurdle. The 4 year old by Green Tune was highly touted before hand and his odds of 7/4 on favourite confirmed it. The Spanish bred horse, the first of his kind to win in Wexford had the race well and truly in his pocket before Aircraftman fell at the last hurdle. Mullins indicated afterwards in the winners enclosure “He has been showing plenty at home, he will stay hurdling but probably not try the 2 and a ½ mile trip again. I feel he is a spring horse and hopefully get to some of the festivals.”

Thirty five minutes later, Mullins and Walsh were again deep in conversation following the victory of Vicky De L’Oasis in the Mares Hurdle over 2 and ½ miles. This 4 year old daughter of Ultimately Lucky made her debut in Ireland at Galway, but her French flat form already indicated a level of ability and she didn’t disappoint. Speaking before consulting with the winning jockey he stated “That’s what we hoped for, she didn’t acclimatise when coming over from France last year and wasn’t showing what we knew she could do, so we left her off. We will now keep her to mare’s races and maybe find a winner’s of two contest, but 2 and a ½ miles is plenty far enough for her”

Dick Dundee did not run at Cork last weekend, allowing Mikey Fogarty the opportunity to win on The Amarillo Kid for William Codd. The Paul Nolan owned and trained, 8 year old son of Kings Theatre did make to the line up of the Casey Precast Handicap Steeplechase and he duly made the best of the conditions to win under young professional jockey, Mikey Fogarty. The 4/1 favourite, a winner at the track in April led for most of the trip with Fogarty and had them all under pressure at the second last to win comfortably. Nolan as always was in good form in the winners enclosure and stated “ We are knocking a fair tune out of him, he is nicely bred, he enjoys summer soft ground and if he stays sound we will continue with him till it gets really heavy”.

Fermoy, Co Cork owner John Lane was on hand after the third race to welcome back his 9 year old mare Evesham Star after winning in the hands of Robert Jones at 10/1. The 9 year old mare a daughter of Flemensfirth was winning her first track race at her 29th attempt. With Co Limerick trainer, Charles Byrnes not in attendance, Lane indicated that plans for the mare would be left up to him. With a record of 7 seconds to date, Lane added “She deserved to get her head in front”.

William Delahunty, Andrew McNamara and Billybuster are making a habit of winning in the South East and following a success at Tramore on the 10th the Co Kilkenny trained horse went in again in the 2 mile handicap hurdle here at Wexford. Owned bred and trained by Delahunty the Lord of Appeal 8 year old will no doubt be tried again in a similar grade of a contest.

David Casey was raised in Wexford Town as a school boy and he is not averse to booting home a winner or two at the track when given the opportunity. Teaming up here with Co Kildare based Arthur Moore and the 5 year old Old Vic gelding Back Off Mate they opened their account at 2/1 favourite in the beginners chase. Moore stated afterwards that plans for the horse were fluid “He is very adaptable, he can go flat, hurdles or jumps. He may go to the flat next, but he likes nice ground, no worse than this today so he will get a break over the winter and come back in the summer”.

The final race the Casey Concrete New Ross Mares Flat Race went to the 10/1 chance Dainty Diva and Harley Dunne. Dunne indicated afterwards that “ She deserved that win, the mare is tough out, the softer the ground the better for her”. The 5 year old Indian Danehill mare is trained by Donal Coffey and was winning at the sixth time of asking, plans for the mare are unclear, but don’t be surprised to see her pop up and win again.

We will all be back tomorrow, for more of the same!