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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