2013 goes out with a bang rather than a whimper for Doyle!


The Christmas Racing Festival meetings of 2013 will soon be last years news, but maybe we should just reflect on some of the performances and see what falls from it in our racing by numbers game.

Staged from the 26th to the 29th of December over 3 racecourses at Down Royal, Leopardstown and Limerick, they scheduled 63 races over the 4 days with 13 of them offering Black Type to the winners and placed horses. 6 Grade 1 races were on the cards with Mark Walsh recording his first victory at the highest level in jump racing when winning on the 6 year old Flemensfirth gelding, Defy Logic in the Grade 1 Racing Post Novice Chase for Paul Nolan and JP McManus.

These Black Type races are extremely valuable, particularly if a mare can win win. Sean Doyle the Wexford based trainer struck gold for the first time with Theatre Bird in the Grade 3 EBF Mares Hurdle on the 4th day of the festival at Leopardstown. This 5 year old mare had won her point to point in March of this year and had upset a Mullins hot pot at Clonmel earlier this month. Doyle has not had an enjoyable time of late with the racing authorities here in Ireland, but this win proves his ability as a trainer and he is set to continue handling point to pointers for the time being. But in many ways it is good yo out with a bang rather than a whimper!

Emmet Mullins is an important part of the WP Mullins set at Closutton and the young Kilkenny professional jockey scored a couple of big wins at Limerick when taking the Grade 2 Greenmount Chase on the 5/1 chance The Paparazzi Kid a 6 year old by Milan while he also steered the highly talented 5 year old Germany horse, Faugheen to win the Grade 3 Liberty Insurance Hurdle.This horse races in the colours of Mrs Susannah Ricci who saw her silks in the winners enclosure 4 times.

Gigginstown House Stud, had 4 winners over the 4 days with their only Black Type winner coming at Limerick as well when the 16/1 chance Make A Track took the Listed Tim Duggan Memorial Chase under Brian Cawley and trained by Charlie Swan.

In fact JP McManus was the top single owner at these meetings with 6 individual winners, while a selection of Syndicates scored on 7 occasions, probably showing an increased interest in this type of race horse ownership after a decline with the death of the Celtic Tiger!

Barry Connell and Danny Mullins teamed up to win the top Grade 1 Novice Hurdle with the 9/4 chance The Tullow Tank. Trained by Philip Fenton this 5 year old was Connell’s only winner, Fenton did add to his record when the talented amateur Richie Kiely scored on the 4 year old Value at Risk in the last race of the 28 races over the 4 days at the Foxrock track.

Mullins must get the award of the ride of the week, not a winning ride, but a brave effort in third on Our Conor, when refusing to flinch and allow Tony McCoy the run of the Ryanair Hurdle!

That said no one would have beaten Hurricane Fly on the day as the 11/10 chance won his 18th Grade 1 race and the rising 10 year old son of Montjeu never looked better.

JP McManus saw his green and gold colours carried to success 6 times with Carlingford Lough adding a Grade 1 Topaz Chase to his Galway Plate win of 2013. This 7 year old son of Kings Theatre is an unusual one in that he is a second season chaser who had never won over fences till July of this year. This horse has been so well handled by Dungarvan maestro John Kiely!

Over the four days we had 22 winning favourites, with the longest priced winner being, Mazuri Cowboy at 40/1 at Limerick, for Eoin Doyle, Paul Holden and Martin Ferris.

Willie Mullins took 9 of the 63 races on offer with Gordon Elliot striking 6 times, while others of note saw Paul Nolan win on 3 occasions the same number as Charles Byrnes while doubles were had by Charlie Swan, Prunella Dobbs at Limerick and Stuart Crawford at Down Royal.

On the jockey scene, Davy Russell recorded his 1,000th winner when winning on Sea Light, on St Stephens Day, with the same horse winning again 4 days later. Ruby Walsh took the honours with 6 winners, while Bryan Cooper had 4 followed by a commendable effort at Limerick by Mikey Fogarty with 3 winners in total.

The Beeches Stud will have been pleased with Flemensfirths 5 winners, while Kings Theatre had an equal number with 2 of these being Graded winners with Montjeu and Beneficial scoring 4 times, sadly the last 3 stallions mentioned are no longer with us so their stock are now a rare commodity.

In the age game we had 3 three year old winners, 15 four old winners, 15 five year old, 13 six year old winners, 9 seven year old winners, 5 eight year olds ,2 nine year olds and only one 10 year old managed to win!! It does look like a younger horses game!

Completing our Festival Review our amateur jockeys had a good time with 14 races being won by Qualified Riders which saw Steve Crawford, Nina Carberry, David O’Leary, Katie Walsh, Steve Clements, Jane Mangan, Derek O’Connor, JJ Burke, Ambrose McCurtin, Colin Griffin , Richie Kiely and Barry O’Neill all add to their winners on the track.

Thats racing by numbers, have a good 2014!


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