Wexford brings its summer season to a close with some Good to Firm going!

The Summer race season at Bettyville came to a close on Saturday afternoon the 30th with a low key all flat race card on offer at Wexford Racecourse.

With a going description at best of ,good , during the week , an overnight change of going saw Good to Firm added leading to 11 withdrawals before race time.

Perhaps the racing authorities got it wrong at the declaration stage, but many trainers took the opportunity to withdraw their horses, once the word firm was added.

Given the fact that only 66 horses were declared it was pretty clear that any wholesale level of withdrawal’s would decimate the card, with the racing authorities responsible for the outcome.

With no watering of the track evident to my eye, added to a warm sunny day and drying wind blowing across the track all ending up with a 20% withdrawal making many of the races potentially a little on the non competitive side.

Did they declare the wrong Going ? Was it not already good to fast in places on Friday?Were they praying for overnight rain ?

Fortunately for racecourse management , some exciting and interesting racing was served up with 4 winning favourites and a double a piece for trainer David Wachman and jockey Seamie Heffernan.

With a fiver per person entry and a nice afternoon weatherwise to tempt the race going public the attendance struggled to reach reasonable levels let alone break any records.

The most valuable race of the day opened proceedings with the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Fillies Maiden. Six faced the starter in this 1 mile plus race with Co Tipperary based David Wachman taking it with Que Sera Sera.

This Dansili 3 year old went off the 11/4 favourite following the withdrawal of Dermot Welds Comtesse and built on her previous placed efforts to open her account here.

Another track winner in the colours of JP McManus this filly was settled in behind the leader Celestial Fable by her jockey Fran Berry with them taking control 2 furlongs out to win comfortably in the end.

Winning connections were represented by Frank Berry, JP McManus’s racing manager who was on hand to accept the winning trophy and stated, “She did it grand, likes the ground, got a good positive ride and stayed on nicely.” Before adding “The Cheek pieces helped, so we will go for another handicap somewhere, but it was good gaining a winning bracket”

Wachman was absent on the afternoon and he missed seeing a nice double for his yard when Mr Rock justified his prohibitive odds of 11/4 on in the hands of Wayne Lordan.

This 3 year old by Galileo was never in any danger with the Michael O’ Flynn owned and bred horse putting his four rivals to the sword.

Winning jockey Wayne Lordan indicated afterwards. “It was not much of a contest, but he had had two good runs and this was a nice step forward”

It would be no great surprise to me if he saw a hurdle or two in the future, but thats just speculation.

Ten runners faced the starter for the 1 mile 3 and a half furlongs of the Childrens Day at Bettyville Handicap with previous course winner An Fear Ciuin favourite to give Wachman and McManus another winner on the day.

This horse didn’t however get in a blow at the business end of the race with Unrequited passing the post the comfortable winner for Ger Lyons and Colin Keane.A 13/2 chance , the 3 year old by Authorised is well thought of in the Lyons yard and is “A nice staying horse for the future” according to stable representative Shane Lyons.

Unfortunately for all concerned celebrations ended swiftly as winning jockey Colin Keane didn’t weigh in.

With the race awarded to Coolfighter, Seamie Heffernan got the first leg of his double in place in most fortunate circumstances. The 6 year old Black Sam Bellamy horse won twice at the Tramore Festival meeting earlier in the month and recently acquired by Noel Dooly he was giving his Co Wexford based trainer a second win in two weeks. No doubt he hopes to add a few more for his new owners.

Heffernan is a most capable jockey and has long been a part of the Aidan O’Brien team at Ballydoyle with his services much in demand from outside yards, particularly the smaller ones.

Two miles around Wexford on a horse with a stable reputation “as a bit of a Boyo” can lead to some interesting outcomes , but Heffernan rode the 7 year old Verglas gelding Magnetic Force to perfection for Robbie Hennessy’s Co Meath yard at 16/1.

With the well supported grey horse , Greatness ,from the Tony Martin yard getting a lot of attention from his handler fading very quickly in front 3 furlongs from home, it was Heffernan and Magnetic Force that opened up an unassailable lead to win.

Hennessy indicated afterwards that “He is a versatile horse, maybe Dundalk or Navan next, but we will have a bit of fun with him”

Jim Bolger is always keen to have a winner in his native county and he despatched Gold Focus from his Co Carlow yard in an attempt to add to her Ballinrobe win on the previous Wednesday night.

This fine rangy 3 year old Intense Focus filly came from off the pace to get up under a strong ride from Ronan Whelan to win the Wexford Apprentice Handicap.

Ger Flynn representing Bolgers yard commented “She was well placed here by the boss following her win earlier. She stays well and as our last runner here today she pays for the diesel home”

The Shelmalier Qualified Riders race was a three runner affair over 2 miles with Katie Walsh taking the honours on the Peter Fahey trained Alton Bay.

This 6 year old son of Pushkin went off the 3/1 outsider of 3 and came home in front having being well handled by Walsh.

Biding her time behind Macnicholson and Totally Dominant , the Co Kildare trained horse won comfortably”He switched off lovely today. He is a good horse and could be a nice novice hurdler in the spring” according to Fahey.

With Patrick Mullins taking the concluding Enniscorthy Mares Bumper on Morning Run at 3/1 on it will be interesting to see if the Kings Theatre mare can be as good as a previous winner of this race Annie Power! We will have to wait and see.

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Some Eyecatchers for the Autumn, hopefully they will win!

With the month of August just about slipping away its that time of year to look at a few eyecatchers that could still in both on the flat and over jumps. But for now lets focus on the jumps game.

Kilbeggan specialises in National Hunt racing throughout the summer months with very competitive cards always on offer at the Co Westmeath venue.

Well supported by the trainers one horse that caught the eye at the track was Fellow Indian from Tom Foley’s , Aughabeg yard in Co Carlow.

The 6 year old by Indian Haven had tried his luck in bumpers in 2013 , showing a level of ability, but his switch to hurdles has seen his best form to date. He may need to improve his jumping a little but Foley is good at schooling his racehorses and it wouldn’t surprise me to seem him win a maiden or even a little handicap off a reasonable mark during the autumn.

I saw William Codd’s Marmaladeskies win a point to point at Stradbally earlier in the year ,one of his brother, Jamie’s winners during his successful 2013/14 campaign for the National Riders title. The 7 year old Bishop of Cashel looked a bit of a tricky enough ride that day, but has a bit of ability. He was spotted staying on well in his last two efforts over hurdles at Down Royal and Killarney being sixth on both occasions.

With a bit of luck he looks a likely sort to win , but the difficulty might be that it will be hard to choose the day that he will win for Codd his Co Wexford based trainer and his owners the Porters from Co Wicklow.

Gigginstown Stud invest an extraordinary amount of money into racing in Ireland and it is always good to see their colours in the winners enclosure at any track in the country.

Behemoth trained by Paul Nolan in Co Wexford, the 5 year old Presenting gelding won his only start in the point to point fields. Since then his form seemed a little underwhelming to say the least. That statement of course could be put down to the fact that I have tipped him unsuccessfully once or twice as my One for the Day!

He did spring back to form at Tramore during the August Festival when winning a beginners chase and has since progressed to being a fine third in a Grade C Handicap Chase at Killarney. Racing prominently under a lightweight the 16/1 chance had to give best to Pass The Hat and Nearly Nama’d. This was a good run over 2 miles 4 furlongs as he beat some good horses on the day. Chasing is his game and I would expect Nolan to find a winning opportunity for the horse before long, or else Gigginstown might just ship him on!

Mikey O’Connor sent Buster Dan Dan on the long journey from Co Cork to Downpatrick during the week with the 6 year old Buster King horse justifying favouritism. Making all the running in O’Connors own hands this horse has progressed well this year.

He had been tried on the track before switching to the point to point fields where the dual winner has developed.

With a handicap mark over hurdles O’Connor could go that route before going chasing, and its in this world that I feel he will excel. He has the same sire as Irish Grand National winner Bluesea Cracker and in time thats where he might make a mark.

Thats an autumn list of National Hunt eyecatchers, hopefully they will win!

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Whats on this Week?

On the Track:

25th Downpatrick, 26th Ballinrobe (e), 27th Bellewstown (e), 28th Bellewstown (e), Tipperary (e), 29th Down Royal (e), 30th Wexford, 31st Cork, Curragh.

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Whats on this Week?

On the Track:

18th Roscommon (e), 19th Sligo (e), 20th Killarney (e), 21st Killarney (e), 22nd Kilbeggan (e), Killarney (e), 23rd Curragh, Killarney, 24th Curragh.

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Its been a busy few days at the races, check out a few Tweets from the South East!

@talkinhorses_ie:
Co Waterford based trainer Robert Murphy takes the last @TramoreRaces with Mrs Macveale and Andrew McNamara.

@talkinhorses_ie: @HenrydeBromhead wins at his local track @TramoreRaces with Zane Grey and Andrew Lynch for the Garristown Aintree Syndicate.

@talkinhorses_ie: King High scores @TramoreRaces for Co Kilkenny’s Eoin Doyle and jockey @_Davy_Russel_ bringing up Russell’s double.

@talkinhorses_ie: @TramoreRaces win for Co Waterfords John Queally with @JohnnyBurke2 winning on Oscar Vespasian at 9/2.1 of 7 letters http://t.co/696H4irlfr

@talkinhorses_ie: Gusty Rocky wins @TramoreRaces for @PatFlynnRacing @_Davy_Russel_ in the first. Another winner for PJ Flynn from his Co Waterford base.

@talkinhorses_ie:
Beat the Shower, another winner for @BallylinchStud Co Kilkenny stallion Beat Hollow @pontefractraces for Peter Niven and Robert Winston

@talkinhorses_ie: Lope de Vega standing @BallylinchStud Co Kilkenny sires @RacesNewbury Listed homebred winner Belardo for @varianstable and Andrea Atzeni

@talkinhorses_ie: Stowaway standing at Whytemount Stud Co Kilkenny sires Admiral Hawke to win @MarketRasenRace for Brian Ellison and James Crowley.

@talkinhorses_ie: Denis Murphy @bakmurphy Lingstown pt2pt winner Lord of Drums @bononeill1 wins @PerthRacecourse for @lucindavrussell Derek Fox @gordon_doyle

@talkinhorses_ie: Co Carlow trainer WP Mullins and @wjlee24786 win @TramoreRaces with @colinboweracing pt2pt horse Clondaw Warrior.

@talkinhorses_ie: Co Wexford based Noel Dooly strikes @TramoreRaces with Coolfighter and Seamie Heffernan in the fifth on the third day of the Summer Festival.

@talkinhorses_ie: @Chepstow_Racing winner Last Echo by Whipper for @RalphBeckett and Silvestre De Sousa bred by @BallylinchStud Co Kilkenny.

@talkinhorses_ie: Beat Hollow @BallylinchStud Co Kilkenny sires Hollow Penny win @FontwellPark for @dickyjohnson77 and Alan King.

@talkinhorses_ie: Notnowcato standing @KnockhouseStud Co Kilkenny sires Group 3 winner Custom Cut @MoyglareStud @LeopardstownRC @omeararacing Daniel Tudhope.

@talkinhorses_ie: Behemoth wins for Co Wexford @TramoreRaces Paul Nolan and @GigginstownFans and @kevinsexton94 . Finally building on pt2pt success !

@talkinhorses_ie: Co Kilkenny based Eoin Doyle strikes @TramoreRaces with Indian Fairy in the first ridden by Brian Cawley at 7/2 favourite.

@talkinhorses_ie: Meldrum Lad July winner @WexfordRacecour follows up @TramoreRaces for Harry Kelly @flanagansw65 By Fruits Of Love at Annshoon Co Kilkenny.

@talkinhorses_ie: Cin Cin,Days Ahead + On The Way Out all winners @TramoreRaces on Day1 had winning form already here, check out TIPS http://t.co/696H4irlfr

@talkinhorses_ie: Co Carlow trainer WP Mullins wins @TramoreRaces with Un Beau Roman for @PTownend on day 1 of the festival in Co Waterford.

@talkinhorses_ie: Co Kilkenny based Father/ Son team Tony @tonymullins84 and Danny Mullins @dan2231 win with Coolfighter @TramoreRaces http://t.co/M84M1wo7S2

@talkinhorses_ie: On The Way Out wins@TramoreRaces for Co Waterford based John Kiely and On The Way Up jockey @JohnnyBurke2 at 5/1. http://t.co/MKiTtLQFgP

@talkinhorses_ie: Days Ahead wins @TramoreRaces for Co Kilkenny based trainer Eoin Doyle and jockey @Martinferris83 at 8/1. http://t.co/TPhCpIocuf

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A letter for Tramore in seven easy steps!

Mid August is the traditional Irish holiday time with the 15th of August marking the end of summer.

Tramore Racecourse has long held this date with a racing fixture at the Co Waterford track. Now extended to a four day festival this meeting offers a mixture of flat and national hunt racing at the seaside venue.

With good ground on offer and a sharp , tight track facing everyone , horses with a bit of previous form at the venue are worth a look.

So for anyone interested lets spin through Tramore and highlight a horse or two with my letter for Tramore in seven easy steps!

Thoonavolla a 6 year old son of Beneficial has run well on his last two runs at Downpatrick and Ballinrobe. Trained in Mooncoin, Co Killkenny by Eoin Doyle this horse while still a maiden tries his hand here over fences and could just win on the 15th. He will lack for nothing with Brian O’Connell in the saddle, and may have most to fear from John Queally’s Darwins Theory or Paul Nolan’s Behemoth.

Run Fly Run comes from the all conquering Willie Mullins yard with the Kalanisi 5 year old likely to run on the 17th in an amateur maiden hurdle. Mullins has a strong link to the track as one of its Directors and will have a good team of horses competing. Owned by the Supreme Racing Club he opened his account at Ballinrobe under Patrick Mullins in a bumper in late July. If Mullins chooses to try him over hurdles here the pointer should be taken.

Ashjar represents the same yard with the 4 year old son of Oasis Dream holding a winning chance. Mullins has declared the horse for the Waterford & Tramore Racecourse Directors Rated Novice Hurdle on Friday evening with Paul Townend in the saddle. The French bred has won at the track already this year and went on to win a race on the flat at Roscommon.
He wont have it all his own way here as Henry De Bromheads , Damefirth and Gordon Elliots , Moss Street will be serious challengers. Tactics in this small field will be crucial and while the odds might not be lucrative, he may give a return.

Marty’s Magic trained at Rosewell House Co Kildare by the globetrotting Dermot Weld runs in the famous colours of Dr Michael Smurfit. Made famous by Vintage Crop at Melbourne, Curragh and Newmarket, they might be seen in the winners circle at Tramore on this 5 year old Tale of the Cat gelding. A maiden in all codes Weld is probably the best trainer around to find a winning opportunity for a horse. Marty’s Magic has shown enough placed form to give the Curragh maestro a real chance of winning yet again in the sunny south east.

Oscar Vespasian is a tentative enough choice to win for John Queally’s Co Waterford yard. With a declaration on the 15th and entries for the 17th the horse might just run twice, so hopefully he will win once!
He has a bit of placed form with a third here in atrocious conditions in December. He looks like a horse that prefers a bit of nice ground. With Johnny Burke in the saddle he will benefit from his 5lb claim to reduce his topweight burden.

Roman Numeral continues the Roman theme, as Vespasian was a Roman Emperor in historic times. Eoin Doyle has had the 6 year old Kings Best gelding in rare good form with wins at Kilbeggan and Tramore. Doyle may run him more than once but his first target is the Flynn Group Hotel Handicap Hurdle where he locks horns with Galway winner Beckwith Star. With both of them joint top weights they might be under pressure to hold on , so we will see.

Everything Zain is our final letter for Tramore with the Dessie Hughes gelding holding an entry on Saturday. This Cape Cross 5 year old suffers a little from seconditis on the flat but he just could open his account here. Running in the trainers colours he could finally add another win to his name.

Thats a letter for Tramore in seven easy steps! Enjoy!

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A little update before Tramore hits the stage with its Four Day Festival in the South East!

@talkinhorses_ie: Fantastic Four Timer for @patjsmullen @gowranpark sets him up for the Four Day Festival @TramoreRaces http://t.co/uAe0go1hD0

@talkinhorses_ie: Success Days @gowranpark wins for Ken Condon and @Franmberry Another winner for Jeremy @IrishNatStud at Garryrichard Stud Co Wexford.

@talkinhorses_ie: @BallylinchStud Co Kilkenny stallion Lawman sires Palace Dragon to win @LingfieldPark for Mark Prescott and @Luke_Morris88.

@talkinhorses_ie: Windsor Knot standing at Rossenarra Stud Co Kilkenny sires @LingfieldPark winner What A Party for @GayKelleway and Shelley Birkett.

@talkinhorses_ie: Garryrichard Stud Wexford @IrishNatStud stallion Jeremy sires Unison to win @FfosLasRC for Peter Makin and Steve Drowne @drownie1.

@talkinhorses_ie: Co Wexford native Declan Bates continues his good form as @decbates scores @WolvesRaces on Low Cut Affair for David Evans.

@talkinhorses_ie: Jeremy sires @BallinrobeRaces winner Shutter Island for Charles O’Brien and Mark Walsh. Standing at Garryrichard Stud Wexford @IrishNatStud.

@talkinhorses_ie: Co Kilkenny based Garrett Power wins @BallinrobeRaces with Curragh Golan under @PTownend at 12/1 to win for the second time at the track!

Whats on this Week?

On the Track:

11th Ballinrobe (e), 13th Gowran Park (e), 14th Tramore (e), 15th Tramore (e), 16th Tramore (e), 17th Tramore, Dundalk.

In the Sales Ring:

12th/13th/ 14th Tattersalls August National Hunt Sale.

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The Stewards of the INHS Committee fail with these rule changes to Point to Pointing.

The Autumn Point to Point fixture list was published about 3 weeks ago with a start on the 28th September at Bruff, Co Limerick for the Limerick Foxhound meeting.

A few noteworthy rule changes come into force which in my view makes a bit of a mockery of this horse racing sector.

The decision to allow maidens to compete in Winners races, is one such change and it really beggars belief.

A winners race is exactly what it says, a race between previous winners, but now the rules are to be amended to allow maidens to enter!

I really have no idea why this has been done and see no fair or logical reason for it.

Winners contests set a standard in point to point racing above that of a maiden race which progressive horses can seek to achieve. Its a standard which now looks likely to being diluted.

Only in Ireland can you have maidens or non winners eligible to run in a race for Winners!

Perhaps we should call them Winners of 1/2/3 or of None into the future!

Staying on the topic of pointless changes, just why is it now proposed to allow a horse a double entry at the same point to point fixture?

Horses can already hold multiple entries at different race meetings but now seemingly they can be entered twice at the same fixture!!!!

Can someone tell me why this amendment to the rules was needed?? It serves no real purpose other than to generate additional entry fees and potentially create confusion for racegoers and jockeys alike.

On the issue of confusion, have handlers not had insurance cover for the past number of years? Have the Stewards of the INHS Committee allowed racing in point to points already without this cover in place? Thats a fairly serious issue for everyone attending these race meetings and I just wonder has the decision now belatedly taken by the INHS Committee been prompted by insurance claims or legal cases against handlers, organising hunts or the authorities themselves? I really an confused on that one!

With other changes to Hoods, Numbering fences and entry fees, all looking acceptable, they have also reduced the deadline for track winners to qualify for Open Lightweights by seven months to seven months ending on the last day of February.

I assume that allows horses which last won on the track prior to the last day of February now being eligible for a Hunters Cert and to race in Open Lightweights.

Are we all comfortable with this?

Do we really need a clatter of young and not so young track winners chasing each other around in the Opens? Maybe they might be better to look at the Open Lightweight sector first and maybe reframe it and reposition it as we seem to be downgrading it year on year and this rule change wont help it in the longterm.

So in Leaving Cert result week if I were giving marks to to the INHS Committee I’d say that they failed!

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Maybe a little late in the day, but these could be worth a second look!

Those eyecatchers just keep slipping by me with placed form or at least a good run at Galway coming through in the past week with some winners , including Cassells Rock, Little King Robin, Mojito Royale and Fields of May all stepping up to win elsewhere.

So maybe a little late in the day I might try to highlight a few horses that caught the eye and maybe worth looking at next time out.

Bumper winners are hard to find , at value, particularly with the strength of Willie Mullins in that sector.

Co Galway based restricted trainer Hannah Lee did nearly spring a surprise with Blueprint Bob at Galway when the 7 year old son of Blueprint finished a short head second to Patrick Mullins on Shark Hanlon’s Clondaw Farmer.

Ridden prominently by Declan Queally on the day he belied his odds of 50/1 to merit future attention. With just two runs under his belt , including his only previous run at Cork in 2012 he has ability and might just win if staying injury free and race on a bit of summer ground.

Colm Murphy may not be flying quite as high these days as in the past with such good horses as Big Zeb, Brave Inca and Feathered Lady, but his Co Wexford yard is still churning out the winners.

One of those winners is the 7 year old Beneficial gelding, Mister Hotelier who last won at Wexford on St Patricks Day.

That win was his second over hurdles and Murphy has switched the horse to fences with a couple of placed efforts at Killarney and Galway since. A drifter in the market at Galway he came from off the pace in the 2 mile 6 furlong chase to finish third. He looks a likely sort to win over fences fairly soon maybe at Tramore but more likely at a galloping track.

Quick Sketch went into the notebook at Down Royal on the 25th of July with a sixth place for John O’Shea at 66/1. A subsequent run at Sligo didn’t add much to the 2 year old son of Excellent Art’s record when seventh from eleven. But I wouldn’t give up on him just yet as O’Shea is more than capable of getting a horse ready from his Co Kilkenny yard and this Nicholas Teehan/ Bluegate Stud owned and bred horse may just be the one to raise a winning flag for him.

Tony Martin has his Co Meath yard in fair good form at present and they are worth keeping on the right side of. One of his lesser lights might be Anner Queen home bred by the Newtown Anner Stud. This 4 year old Invincible Spirit filly has now run 11 times, with her last run, when third at Down Royal showing signs of promise.

Ridden by Chris Hayes she missed the start over the 7 furlong trip but came through late in third place.

She may never win an Arc De Triomphe but Martin could well find an opportunity for her at some of the smaller tracks or even back on the All Weather.

I missed backing the Dermot Weld trained Renown at Wexford on the second day of their two day meeting in July with the 3 year old Champs Elysses gelding making a winning debut at 7/1.

The three parts brother to Famous Name seemed to run green enough on that day but relished the 12 furlong trip to indicate better days are to come.

Just where that might be I’m not at all sure, but Weld the Master of Rosewell House will have a plan, so we just need to sit it out and wait!

Maybe late in the day, but these might just be worth a second look!

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