Moore and Casey take the top race on day 1 of Wexfords Bank Holiday Fixture

The October Bank Holiday Weekend kicked off on Saturday at Bettyville with a seven race card at Wexford Racecourse on day 1 of their 2 day fixture.

Sponsored in its entirety by Casey Enterprises based in North Co Wexford the willingness of this local business to support their local track is both noteworthy and commendable.

With a drying wind blowing across the harbour in Wexford Town the going was Good, Good to Firm in places , unseasonal in most years , but just a little quicker than than encountered at the same fixture last year!

So that O zone effect is most certainly having an impact in the Sunny South East.

Punters or more specifically favourite backers had a torrid enough time with only one winning favourite , and that was a 13/8 on chance in the very last race.

The steeplechase track was the curtain raiser with the two opening races utilising the 2 mile 3 furlong distance.

The days top prize , the €25,000 Casey Precast Handicap Steeplechase saw 8 horses face the starter following the withdrawal of course specialist, Foritsa.

With Call Rog going off favourite the Mark Walsh ridden horse diced with Dick Dundee until that Paul Nolan trained top weight headed him under a positive ride from Brian O’Connell.

The pace setters seemed to have done enough until veteran jockey David Casey unleashed a winning run from 6 year old Westerner gelding Mitebeall Forluck to collar the Kings Theatre 9 year old , Dick Dundee close home by a head.

Trained by the legendary Arthur Moore and carrying the colours of the yards longtime patron Chris Hanbury this well bred horse added to his one previous win , at Clonmel, returned at 13/2.

Speaking afterwards the winning trainer commented “He is ground dependent , who might run again tomorrow or early next week. He is going the right way, with the few extra furlongs here a help. He ran a blinder with David giving him a bloody good ride’

The opening Beginners Chase saw 9 runners face the starters flag with the Co Tipperary based Ballinard Billy taking it under Johnny Burke.

This race saw Burke set a good pace on the 9 year old Aidan Fogarty trained Anshan gelding Ballinard Billy.

Strongly pressed by Philip Rothwells , Merrion Row and Paul Nolans , Illtakeitfromhere two fences from home, they had to give way as David Splaine and Tulpar ran on to lead between the last two fences.

Tulpar ran about however on the run to the last and interfering with Illtakeitfromhere both of them failed to survive the fence with Tulpar unseating his rider and Mikey Fogarty falling on Illtakeitfromhere.

This melee allowed Burke and Ballinard Billy to regain the advantage and run out a 3/1 winner.

Speaking afterwards his enthusiastic owner Donal Cullen noted “We have put Ballinard , Co Tipperary on the map, we needed a bit of luck, he has had five seconds both on the track and in point to points. They went a fast pace but this was deserved”

The racing focus at the track switched to the hurdle course after the second race with Co Tipperary based trainer/jockey Denis Hogan taking the 2 mile 4 furlongs maiden hurdle on Beautiful Ben.

This 4 year old Beneficial gelding jumped well to lead from the second hurdle and stayed on comfortably to win.

Some of the competitiveness of the race was lost at the third last as the well fancied Hallings Treasure came down in the hands of Bryan Cooper a point mentioned afterwards by Hogan ” It was a weak enough maiden hurdle and with the favourite out you just couldn’t say what it was like” continuing “But he jumped well and thanks to Ann Grace from the yard, as she travels all the horses for me and gets them here ready to run”

With €10,000 on offer in the Casey Tarmacadam Mares Hurdle it was left to Kevin Sexton and Catamini to cause the surprise of the day when taking the 2 miles 4 furlong contest for Co Kildare based trainer,Sean Byrne at 14/1.

The home bred 6 year old daughter of Golan owned by the trainers wife Brenda returned to form here to win for the second time of her career at Wexford and the third time in all.

This was a very tight race as the entire field of five was in with a chance on the long run in after the last hurdle.

Speaking afterwards Byrne noted ” She is back to herself, we have had some problems with her hooves. She battled well today and we will try to stick to some mares hurdles ”

Co Clare trainer Michael McDonagh missed seeing his colours pass the winning post in first place as Taken Twice came from way off the pace in the Casey Concrete sponsored hurdle to win at 6/1.

Ridden by Co Kilkenny based Brian O’Connell the Presenting 8 year old “Disappointed the last day when ridden too handily, he got into a nice rhythm here , but good ground is the key to him” according to the winning jockey.

Lindas Choice had been in good form of late and the 7 year old Golan mare opened her account for her Co Kildare based trainer Homer Scott in 2 mile handicap hurdle.

Scott , famous for handling some really good horses in the past including from memory Omerta and The Illiad was quick to let his owners do the talking here following the 5/1 victory under Ricky Doyle.

The mare had been up with the pace pretty much all the way and with the last hurdle omitted the very, very long run home suited.

Champion amateur jockey Patrick Mullins was more than double jobbing at the track, as not only did he ride the only winning favourite on the day, Captain Carol, he also drove the horse lorry and did the media briefing before heading back to Co Carlow.

The 13/8 on favourite by Captain Rio 4 year old was “Professional, honest and a push button ride” with a strong indication given that she would be seen next over hurdles for her Co Sligo born owner MJ Mulvaney.

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