A letter for GALWAY in six easy steps!

Galway has built up a reputation as a must do racing venue for just about anyone that can still draw a breath. Its mixture of racing, fun and a great social scene has seen the festival develop into a major tourist attraction on the west coast of Ireland.

With the Galway Plate on the Wednesday and the Galway Hurdle on the Thursday these two races have long been seen as iconic “must win” races for many owners, trainers and jockeys. Some good horses have won both of these races over the years with more than one winner racing proudly onwards at even more illustrious venues in Ireland, Britain, France , United States of America and Canada to name but a few. Now , not all of these horses won the Plate or Hurdle but other races have been added to include the Topaz Mile (previously known as the McDonagh Handicap, Corrib Fillies Stakes in addition to some really nice handicaps and quality two year old races that have seen the winners race with success elsewhere.

So what of this year? To be honest , it’s a pure lottery with multiple chances held by many a horse, so as is now custom I will give you a letter for GALWAY in six easy steps, but don’t risk the house on any of them !

Gambling Girl is a 5 year old daughter of Hawk Wing trained in Co Kildare by Jessica Harrington and will be ridden in the Connacht Hotel Qualified Riders Handicap in the Monday evening highlight by Kate Harrington. This mare won a Grade 3 Hurdle at Down Royal under Robbie Power in November of 2013 having won a bumper prior to this.

Her form seemed to taper off after this when tried at the highest level in novice hurdle company against the likes of The Tullow Tank. Returning on the flat at the Curragh she has put up a number of notable performances in the meantime including winning at Leopardstown and being placed at Killarney, enough to merit support in this very competitive race.

With a field of quality amateur jockeys facing Kate Harrington , the young Kildare woman, fresh from her win at Ascot over the weekend won’t be fazed by any one of them!

Alelchi Inois has an entry on Thursday in the Guinness Harp Novice Chase over 2 miles 1 furlong. Trained in Co Carlow by Willie Mullins he is likely to be part of a big enough team heading daily to Ballybrit from his Closutton yard. The French bred 6 year old son of Night Tango a hurdle winner in France and in Ireland has already won twice over the bigger obstacles, at Tramore and Killarney having switched to that code for the 2014/15 season.

It looks likely that he will be campaigned until the winter ground returns, but Mullins will have a couple of other contenders in this novice chase category so just where they all race will depend on himself. Owned by Margaret McMahon, the horses only entry this week, from what I can see is Thursday but he might just be given another one on Sunday if he is eligible, but no matter where he runs he looks a likely sort.

Little King Robin is a tough mare trained in Co Wexford by Colin Bowe from his Kiltealy yard just outside of Enniscorthy. A former point to point winner , this 6 year old daughter of Kings Theatre has been showing wonderful versatility to have also won over hurdles and competed at the highest level including a shot at Quevega at Cheltenham in March 2014. While falling just a little short on that occasion she has some nice placed form in Graded races over hurdles at Down Royal and Tipperary, but her entry this week is actually on the flat at the festival meeting! Bowe is a fairly shrewd trainer so this entry far from speculative following a third place at Tramore in a similar contest under Rachael Blackmore in May in the colours of Marie Kavanagh.

They will be potentially taking on a couple of likely sorts from Dermot Weld and Aidan O’Brien’s yard in the shape of Forgotten Rules and Thomas Wedgewood so the 1 mile 4 furlong contest could be a tight affair. She may just be a decent price if Bowe lets her run!

Wood Breizh is another horse from the Willie Mullins yard that catches the eye, with the Stormy River 4 year owned by the Supreme Horse Club holding an entry in the concluding 2 mile flat handicap for horses rated between 55 and 80. The French bred is unlikely to be classed among the premier division of horses that Mullins has in his yard but he is capable of winning a race or two.

He has a bit of placed form in both codes. Campaigned over hurdles the Tramore hurdle winner in April has a 2 year old win to his name on the flat in his native France and could well be the bet for Tuesday.

Art of Logistics is my long range choice for the Galway Plate on Wednesday. It’s a purely tentative choice as I am not at all sure that Dessie Hughes will send the 6 year old from his Curragh Co Kildare base to challenge for the €120,374 first prize. This son of Exit To Nowhere has been highly tried over the winter including an unsuccessful run at Cheltenham and defeats by Defy Logic and Don Cossack. He has however managed to pick up a pot or two himself during this time and he would be a worthy challenger on the day.

It’s a hot renewal of the race with JP McManus holding an entire flotilla of entries at this stage. With the ground likely to be at worst described as good, it will take a horse, that can jump quickly and is capable of avoiding traffic problems to prosper in the Wednesday evening highlight. Art Of Logistics might be the answer.

Yulong Xiongfeng represents the Y of Galway and he actually runs on Monday night for Eddie Lynam and Zhang Yuesheng. This 2 year old will be ridden by Billy Lee with the son of Showcasing among the 8 declarations. With the three big yards of Weld, O’Brien and Bolger all represented with Postulation, Jamaica and Vocaliser respectively this 7 furlong race could be a very difficult one to win. Galway has had a bit of a reputation as a nursery ground of horses that have gone on to even greater success, with Dermot Weld sending out future Group 1 winners Go and Go, Market Booster and Grey Swallow at this meeting. So Lynam and Lee might struggle here, but some of those other horses might be worth a look see.

That’s a letter for GALWAY in six easy steps!

20140727-203100-73860285.jpg

Advertisements

Keeping an eye on Tom O’Brien and a little more news from the Twitter machine.

@talkinhorses_ie: Tom O’Brien wins @Southwell_Races on Mile House for Robert Stephens at 16/1. Former pt2 pt winner for Co Wexford based and family members JJ , Shay and Liz Slevin @MarkSlevin .

@talkinhorses_ie: Co Wicklow trainer Peter Croke wins first time in GB @Southwell_Races with My Betty for Maurice Sheehy. Ridden by@AP_McCoy at 13/8 fav.

@talkinhorses_ie: Donnchadh Doyle @farmerdoyle1 @donaldmccain and James Cowely strike @BangorOnDeeRace with former pt2pter Valleyofmilan at 9/2.

@talkinhorses_ie: Donnchadh Doyle @farmerdoyle1 @donaldmccain and James Cowely strike @BangorOnDeeRace with former pt2pter Valleyofmilan at 9/2.

@talkinhorses_ie: @PTownend doubles up @BallinrobeRaces with Grand Partner by Millenary @KnockhouseStud Co Kilkenny for Tom Mullins

@talkinhorses_ie: Co Kilkenny trainer Garrett Power wins @BallinrobeRaces with Curragh Golan at 8/1 under @PTownend

@talkinhorses_ie: Royal Shot wins @BallinrobeRaces for trainer/jockey @d_g_hogan bred by the Doran family at Parkville Stud Co Wexford by King’s Theatre.

@talkinhorses_ie: Porthos De Vallon wins @ayrracecourse for @DalgleishRacing and Tom Eaves. By JEREMY for Garryrichard Stud Wexford and @IrishNatStud

@talkinhorses_ie: Co Kilkenny based Brian O’Connell wins on Res Ipsa Loquitur @BallinrobeRaces for J F Levins

@talkinhorses_ie: @BallylinchStud Co Kilkenny breeds @PatFlynnRacing winner Hangar Five @BallinrobeRaces with Co Waterford Jockey Ian Queally in the saddle.

20140722-233823-85103718.jpg

Let them race on, well done to all on the Sizing Europe decision.

It is always a strained and complicated decision to make as where and when a horse should be retired from racing, showjumping , hunting, hacking or whatever. This becomes all the more difficult in the racing world particularly when one such horse is well known and highly successful over the years and is named Sizing Europe.

The 12 year old son of Pistolet Bleu signed off on his 2013/14 campaign with a wonderful Grade 1 success at the Punchestown Festival bringing his career total to 21 wins of which 16 were Graded races over fences and over hurdles. Racing since 2006 he has been wonderfully well handled by Co Waterford based Henry De Bromhead during these years and has contributed just under £1.3 m (stg)to the Alan and Ann Potts fund.

The Potts family and De Bromhead announced during the week that Sizing Europe would return into training after his summer break for the 2014/15 with a tilt at the PWC Grade 2 Steeplechase contest at Gowran Park the first objective. Already a three time winner of this 2 mile 4 furlong Chase run at the Co Kilkenny track each October they see this as the first target for Sizing Europe which future races to be decided after this.

Simply put, Sizing Europe ran a very creditable fourth beaten just 9 and ½ lengths by Sire De Grugy in the Champion Two Mile Chase at the Cheltenham Festival in March and this was was followed by a Grade 1 victory in the Boylesport.com Champion Chase at Punchestown in April. The chances are that has not deteriorated one iota in the interim, so why would his connections retire him from racing?

No reason whatsoever can be given in my view, it just seems to me that it’s either a kind of romantic notion to see him retire on a winning note or it’s another example of daft ageism surfacing this time in the equine world!

He really never needs to win another race as his place in racing history is safe and at 12 years old he is in particularly good order and racing better than some half his age!

Over the past few months I have noted the victories of older race horses recently and history is littered with horses who have raced on and on with success, both over jumps and on the flat such as Tied Cottage and Vintage Crop with many living on to wonderful retirement . So well done to De Bromhead and Mr and Mrs Potts on this move, my only fear is that those forces not in favour of the decision will be only waiting to see the negative in the move but its your call and you have made the right one!

20140720-102414-37454426.jpg

The real story would be winning the Irish Oaks not just riding in it!!!!

I know, I know its being spun as a big “girl power” story this week , with Ana O’Brien taking the ride on Beyond Brilliance in the Group 1,Darley Irish Oaks at the Curragh but in truth its pretty much a non story or event in my opinion.

Anastasia O’Brien is the 17 year old 7 lb claiming daughter of non other than Aidan O’Brien of Ballydoyle fame and her mother Ann Marie, a Crowley from Co Kilkenny.

This would in breeding terms make her a “full sister” to the Group 1 winning jockey and Irish champion jockey Joseph O’Brien ! So she is likely to get better and better…..

She will get the leg up on Beyond Brilliance in the Group 1 classic, who is trained by her father Aidan, owned by her mother Ann Marie and bred under their bloodstock breeding banner, Whisperview Trading Ltd.

So if this young woman was ever going to ride in an Irish Classic with all of these connections she wouldn’t have to have looked very far! The chances are she will ride in all the Irish Classics in the next couple of years, so are we going to have the same storyline for everyone of these????

She is not the first young woman to ride in an Irish Classic, as from my memory Joanna Morgan has that honour , way way back in the 1970’s when partnering the Seamus McGrath trained Riot Helmet in the Group 1 Irish Derby. She was also the first woman to ride at Royal Ascot, the first woman to beat the great Lester Piggott on the race track, the first woman to ride a winner as a professional jockey in Ireland and a true pioneer of racing. In addition to her, Cathy Gannon was a champion apprentice in Ireland 2004 with Hayley Turner , Kirsty Milzarek and the Group 1 winner Alex Greaves plying their trade with considerable success in Britain .

Of course the national hunt world has long seen the likes of Katie Walsh, Nina Carberry peform recently with former jockeys Ann Ferris and Rosemary Rooney, racing and winning at the likes of Cheltenham and Fairyhouse with success including in the Irish Grand National .

Anyone of these women has already broken through this glass ceiling in racing in far more difficult times and circumstances.

Beyond Brilliance is currently quoted at 50/1, with the 3 year old daughter of Holy Roman Emperor a , one time winner, has a bit of Listed placed form over a mile and enjoys the good to firm ground on offer.

As the outsider of the five Ballydoyle runners the real story would be a win in the race not just riding in it!

20140719-055819-21499069.jpg

Latta has a most wonderful first career win at Wexford with Most Chaste.

Thankfully we had little sign of any 4th of July festivities at Wexford Racecourse with every race goer intent on attempting to stay dry as the heavens opened during the earlier part of the evening meeting.

With the ground changing from good at declaration time to good to yielding and then good to soft a surprise or two was likely.

With the rain passing through mid way through the seven race national hunt card, encouraging a reasonable attendance to come through the gates the racing highlight went to Henry De Bromheads Co Waterford yard with Lord Ben taking the €12,500 Hook Head Steeplechase.

Favourite backers had a fairly torrid time with only one winner on the evening with Beach of Falesa opening her account at the very generous odds of 11/4 favourite in the opening info@wexfordraces.ie mares maiden hurdle.

The evening in many ways belonged to the Latta family from Ballycarney, Enniscorthy, Co Wexford with Yvonne Latta saddling her first ever winner when Most Chaste took the 3 mile 1 furlong Tuskar Rock Beginners Steeplechase.

Having only taken out her licence in May of 2014, Latta and her family including husband Charlie and son Andrew made it a real family affair as the 9 year old Alderbrook mare won her very first race on the track.

A multiple point to point winner over the years the Charles Harold – Barry home bred mare is “Tough and genuine” according to Latta who added “That it was nice to win my first race in Wexford”

With Davy Condon in the saddle the softened ground , described by many as “summer soft” saw the mare start at 10/1. Sent off in front by Condon they made most of the running. Rallying after being passed two from home by Express Du Berlais and Brian O’Connell she saw out every inch of the trip to win.

With four horses in training for the summer months by Latta this mare winning at the twelfth time of asking and a former champion Mares in the point to point fields “might try her chances over hurdles as she already has a handicap rating”

Racing opened with Ballydoyle saddling another hurdle winner, Beach of Falesa in the famous JP McManus colours under Robbie Power.

The Dylan Thomas 5 year old mare hadn’t set the national hunt world on fire and was sent off an easy enough favourite at 11/4.

With Aidan O’Brien otherwise engaged it was left to his brother Jim to supervise the mare.

Following last months debacle with their winner Shield weighing in light after winning the race many observers were keen to see no repeat of that here.

With the winning jockey Robbie Power indicating afterwards ” She found it hard to settle but hurdles very quickly” plans for the mare were unclear but Jim O ‘Brien confirmed that “She would race on at the upcoming Summer festivals”

Co Wexford based Sean Flanagan has struck up a good relationship with Harry Kelly’s Co Tipperary yard.

Riding Meldrum Lad in the owner breeder Thomas Hannons colours Flanagan made plenty of use of the Fruits of Love 5 year old being in the first two all the way in the Ferrycarrig Maiden Hurdle over 2 miles 4 furlongs.

Setting a pedestrian enough pace in conjunction with Dun Scaith he eased passed this pass setter before the last to win at 4/1.

With the winning trainer choosing to race at Bellewstown it was left to His brother Jimmy to do the honours when indicating “He was unfortunate on his last run. He looks like a summer horse so he is likely to go the novice route”

Another owner / breeder to strike was Fermoy , Co Cork Richard Cotter who had the added bonus of being the winning trainer as well of Ronava who took the Nick O’Donnell Memorial Handicap Hurdle.

With Key Account a winner here the last day trying to repeat the effort from the front under Martin Ferris, Jonnie Burke a near neighbour of the Cotters stalked him all the way and went clear to win easily at 12/1.

With just the one horse in training winning connections represented by the winning trainers father Eamonn indicated “He will continue racing for the summer. Richard will see from here, but Galway night be on the cards”

The 6 year old Blueprint gelding had been rested since December and with a previous placed effort in the point to point fields as well the horse has a level of ability and couldn’t have won more easily.

On a evening of success for owner/ breeders and trainers John Hayes saddled his first track winner, Kilmurry Kid to take the Carrickbyrne Handicap Chase with Ian McCarthy in the saddle. With the home bred Witness Box gelding always close to the lead Co Limerick based Hayes stated ” They went a bit fast for him the last day at Clonmel and he probably needed the run anyhow. But I am delighted with the way he won here. We will go home now and study the racing calendar”

With Hayes holding a restricted licence for the past 18 months this horse a former point to point winner seemed to revel in the changed ground conditions here.

Henry De Bromhead was very pleased to welcome back Lord Ben to the winners enclosure having set the pace and rallied to get past the favourite Midnight Game to regain the lead on the run in.

With the 2 mile 1 furlong trip just about ideal for the 9 year old Beneficial horse on the ground he was winning his fifth race for Grantstown, Co Waterford pair John and Joan Davis.

De Bromhead added ” He jumped brilliantly today, it was a good performance to give all that weight away today” before continuing ” The ground helped here over the trip, but I don’t know where he will go from here, but the Davis’s have been very patient and they are knocking some fun out of the horse”

The last race on the seven race card saw Co Cavan based Anthony Mulholland saddle Myles Ahead to win at 7/2 for Henry McCourt. The 5 year old Desert King gelding was another home bred winner with the owners son John being the winning breeder.

Ridden by Steve Clements this was another horse that raced up with the pace and galloped on to win.

Mulholland stated “He was fancied, he had a nice run last time. We were a little worried that the ground was against hime but it was good down the middle.He might go for a winners but will hurdle.”

20140705-075317-28397865.jpg

McCutcheon and Keatley are names for the future.

Congratulations to Evanna McCutcheon on riding the winner of the Ladies Derby at the Curragh for rookie trainer Adrian Keatley.

Winning the first race of her career as an amateur jockey on the track in Ireland Tipperary based McCutcheon a rookie trainer in her own right in addition to being a talented amateur jockey over fences saw off all competition today to record this famous win.

With both herself and Keatley having already tasted victory in Britain as trainers this shared winner at the Co Kildare track marks both of them down as names for the future. Keatley doubled up as the winning owner this afternoon of the 5 year old winner Zeftan so it was all good news!

With Aidan O’Brien saddling four winners at the track today, being added to by Jim Bolger, Roger Charlton and Sabina Harty the competition is intense so our two rookie trainers did well to get their names in the winners circle.

20140629-201402-72842867.jpg

So just how many of these race days do you plan to get to?

So the longest day of the year has past, the rain has started to fall yet again, so it really must be time for the Summer Highlights of racing festivals in Ireland !

According to a very glossy brochure distributed far and wide by GoRacing the Summer highlights really start this weekend with the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby Festival.

Over three days , with the Derby itself the racing highlight, the level of sponsorship is phenomenal with a fairly extensive marketing budget put in place to encourage a maximum attendance.

The Curragh can struggle to feel warm and welcoming with the size of the whole set up conspiring to keep it feeling a little distant from mere mortals.

They do try however and the quality and standard of racing is better than almost anywhere.

I do cringe however at the efforts to “create” an event in and around the staging of the Irish Derby itself. The varied renditions of the ballad of Kildare have always left me feeling uncomfortable while the disjointed presentation ceremony really is better scrapped!

With the high society meeting over, the month of July sees four festivals with Bellewstown, Killarney , Oaks day at the Curragh and Galway all being offered.

Of course both Bellewstown and Killarney hold another Festival meeting in August so if you miss July you wont have long to wait!!!!!

Bellewstown is one of my favourite tracks with a great setting , good racing and a wonderful atmosphere all adding to the race meetings.

Killarney has prospered with the demise of the track at Tralee and now deliver two very attractive meetings made up of mixed cards from the 14th /17th July and the Rose of Tralee meeting between the 20th of August to the 23rd.

A fine track , with racing offered at a near peak holiday time , how could it fail?

I have always been amazed at the ability of Galway to draw such massive crowds with a seven day marathon now on the schedule.

Of course the Plate and the Hurdle on the Wednesday and the Thursday have long been much sought after prizes for trainers, owners and jockeys.

Inspite of all the other races on offer in the Irish Racing calendar these two are right up there with the Irish Grand National at Easter and form the centrepiece of the summer.

With a level of sponsorship that any racecourse would kill for the meeting opens on the 28th of July right through to the 3rd of August .

Wexford Racecourse stages a two day meeting on the 25th and 26th on July and while not Galway , winning form on the track at Wexford is often replicated at Ballybrit – so take note!

Staying in the South East the track at Tramore has traditionally raced on the 15th of August, which has been an iconic date in rural Ireland for a long long time.

With racing from the 14th to the 17th of the month the traditional two weeks of summer holiday is a wonderful excuse to race at least one of the days at the Co Waterford track.

With a lovely mixture of flat and national hunt racing spread out over the evenings and afternoons this highlight of summer racing in the sunny south east continues to attract strong crowds.

The month of September offers what could be described as the good, the bad and the ugly with Irish Champions Weekend, Laytown and Listowel all due to be staged.

I jest of course, but Laytown, while still on the racing calendar really is only a shadow of itself with health and safety restrictions sanitising it nearly out of existence. They will race on the 4th of September on what is Europe’s only beach/ strand official race track.

The newly created Festival of racing on the 13th and 14th of September the two day will be staged at Leopardstown and the Curragh. The Irish Champion Stakes and the Irish St Leger will be the highlight on each of the days but in my view it remains to be seen if it can attract a sufficient attendance. Mostly likely of course the money generated from TV rights and the sponsorship will be sufficient to make it a success!

The Harvest Festival at Listowel from 14th to the 20th of September will bring the curtain down on the Summer Highlights with the Co Kerry track now a must go to venue.

With the Kerry National sometimes just about balancing itself as the first major target of our winter national hunt horses the drawing appeal of the festival continues to impress.

So just how many of these race days do you plan to get too?

20140628-011947-4787487.jpg

Which one of the Ballydoyle seven will win?

The Curragh will be the centre of attention this weekend with the staging of the €1.25m Group 1 Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby.

With 11 entries at latest count Aidan O’Brien has taken the precaution of supplying 7 of those including his Epsom Derby hero Australia.

Just how many will actually turn up on the evening is unclear as the Master of Ballydoyle always plays his cards close to his chest.

7 of the current entry had run last time out at Epsom with Australia winning under Joseph O’Brien from Kingston Hill and Andrea Atzeni.

With only a length and a quarter between them over the one mile four furlong trip the Roger Varian son of Mastercraftsman will be more comfortable at the Curragh.

The ground in this part of the world is rock hard and with it currently good to firm on the track any water, be it rain or applied will be a help.

Australia a classically bred son of Galileo, has always look like a horse that might be more comfortable racing over a couple of furlongs less with the Eclipse Stakes a real option.

If he runs on Saturday he will take on another 6 horses which he beat on the 7th June with 3 of those coming from Ballydoyle! Just how competitive they really were on the day is open to question with none of them raising a serious gallop on the day in my view.

Can you really see any of his stablemates beating him? Or to even think about beating him? Unless he doesn’t perform of course!

So it looks like its up to Kingston Hill, Fascinating Rock, Ponfeigh or True Story to upset the plan.

I fancied Fascinating Rock at Epsom but he didn’t run well, was it the ground or the course? Im just not sure.

True Story could improve with the Manduro colt trying to build on his Dante run and Listed win, while Ponfeigh for John Oxx would be taking an extraordinary step up to win here.

So its between Australia and Kingston Hill again and if both run it will be a great race.

While it might just be wise to see what happens to the favourite and in his absence keep an eye on Geoffrey Chaucer as a winning substitute.

20140625-183853-67133302.jpg

Byrne lights up Wexford with a first career double.

Wexford Racecourse on a bright and balmy evening has few equals on the racing circuit and last Wednesday it was seen in all its glory.

Offering a seven race all National Hunt card the racecourse organisers must have been pleased with the good turnout on the evening.

With €15,000 prizemoney in the Jog For Jockeys Handicap Steeplechase the days highlight went to one of only two winning favourites on the day with Big Generator winning for local trainer Paul Nolan.

It was a particularly good evening for local yards as Larry Byrne who operates from Rathurtin, Enniscorthy sent half (two) of the four horses he has in training to run at Wexford and managed to score with both on the evening.

Byrne has had more than a trouble or two himself over the years but he was overjoyed to train the first ever double of his career with Posh Frock and Key Account both winning at 20/1 and 9/1 respectively.

Old Leighlin , Co Carlow based jockey, Brian Hayes got the leg up on the 5 year old Oratario mare Posh Frock in the 2mile 4furlong Mount Leinster Maiden Hurdle.

With the Gigginstown hotpot Easter Hunt going off the 9/4 on favourite for Mouse Morris and Brian O’Connell, Byrnes mare was pretty friendless in the betting ring , but was nibbled at from 25s into 20/1.

With JJ Burke setting the pace on Star Question , O’Connell was never that comfortable on the favourite for much of the trip. They did however hit the front over 3 hurdles out but had no answer when Hayes produced Posh Frock at the last to get past them and win by three parts of a length.

Wearing a tongue tie, the former inmate of Jessica Harringtons Co Kildare yard had a nice piece of form to her credit in the past and managed to finally build on it here since moving to Byrnes yard.

Speaking afterwards winning trainer Larry Byrne commented “Its nice to have a winner , particularly at my local track. Since coming from Mrs Harringtons yard she has had a soft palate operation and that worked while its the first day with the ground in her favour.”

Owned by Sean Malone from Dublin, Byrne was quick to thank him and his good friend Damien Carroll ” They have kept me afloat so I am very grateful to the pair, while adding that the mare would try her luck next in a handicap at Galway”

Byrne was his daughter Sarah were already in good form following the first but they were over the moon following the victory of Key Account at 9/1 in the Phelim Byrne Seasuir at Wexford Racecourse Handicap Hurdle.

The 6 year old Key of Luck gelding added to his sole success on the track to date , at Kilbeggan in 2012, when leading all the way under a stylish ride by Martin Ferris to win at 9/1.

Cloudy Morning who went off favourite here just never really got a blow in on the winner here when staying on in third place.

Byrne was keen to thank young amateur jockey Eddie Keating for the work that he puts into the horses with Byrne adding “With such a small team of horses Eddie rides them all out for me and I wouldn’t be able to do it without him”

Owned by Dublin based meat distributor Damien Carroll the horse “Is quirky, but has plenty of ability. We thought he might just not be trying but Martin rode him well to win”

Byrne was greeted my many well wishers on the evening following these victories and he promised that that only plan now was to celebrate!

Paul Nolan was the most successful trainer at Wexford over the past 5 years way and above any others racing on Wednesday and that very good form continued when taking the evenings racing highlight, the Jog for Jockeys Handicap Steeplechase over 2 miles. 1 furlong.

Saddling Big Generator for Coolamurry Stud supremo Jim Mernagh the 8 year old Generous gelding , was winning for the third time at the track, successful on this occasion with Robbie Power in the saddle.

The well backed 2/1 favourite , a winner over hurdles last time out at Tipperary when springing a 16/1 surprise held off another course specialist Annie Other to win.

With Araglen Lad setting the pace Robbie Power had Big Generator pretty close up to the lead and took it up two from home and they refused to be caught.

Nolan stated afterwards “He jumps a little bit better going left handed but he got a marvellous ride from Robbie as he needed to get his confidence back following a bad fall at Naas a couple of seasons ago.”

Plans for the horse are simple enough ” We will mix it over hurdles and fences following these back to back wins”

Power had been in bad luck earlier on in the evening when he saw his winning ride on Shield being lost in the stewards room having won by an unextended 8 lengths.

With only four runners in this €10,000 race Philip Fentons Bentelimar went off the 13/8 on favourite following two previous wins. With the Co Kilkenny based Brian O’Connell setting to lead every inch of the way on the Beneficial 5 year old they looked like doing just that until Power conjured a run out of the JP McManus owned Dylan Thomas 5 year old Shield at the last to pass the post at 7/4.

With a discrepancy on weighing in after the race Shield and Power were demoted with the race awarded to Fenton ‘s Bentelimar owned by James Ryan.

Speaking afterwards the winning connections stated ” Brian said he was a bit lazy in front and we were a little despondent after the race. Hopes are that he will go to Galway for a winners in Galway”

Shield ran well here but the indian file gallop didn’t help, yet he still managed to win, so keep him in mind for the future.

The Co Kildare based Madden family were out in force on the evening with their Ashkalani 7 year old Shake The Bucket finally opening his chase account in the Courtown Beginners Chase in the hands of New Ross man Ben Dalton.

Second here at the corresponding in 2013, he last jumped a steeple chase fence in July of the same year but stripped fit enough here following a stint on the All Weather.

The 5/1 winner was “Well in” according to winning trainer Niall Madden who trains the horse for his daughter the well known racing writer Sarah Ann.

Madden added. “He was unlucky last year, he would want the ground even quicker than here, but I don’t know where he might go next”

Co Kildare based Shane Nolan saddled his first winner at Wexford when springing a 25/1 surprise in the 2 mile Barrow Mares INH Flat Race with the 6 year old Alamshar mare Our Girl Naoise.

Commenting on the JJ King ridden winner Nolan stated ” She ran a cracker the last day. She will come on a tonne for this and we will try and pick up a hurdle with her”

With the ground officially good to firm it was interesting to see runners getting a cut into it following extensive watering during the week.

With the last hurdle placed some distance up the track , the long run in did offer some hope of a driving finish on occasion.

Ger and Mary Mullins didn’t have to endure such an outcome as their She Be Fine, a 6 year old Golan mare related to Beef Or Salmon ran out an easy winner of the 3 mile Hen and Stag Parties Maiden Hurdle under Shane McDermott at 10/1.

Mullins who trains a small team at Doninga, Co Kilkenny offered his opinion ” That was expected, she was unlucky at Clonmel last time when she fell. She will get better and will knock more sport out of her”.

20140622-024529-9929483.jpg

De Bromhead Doubles up at Clonmel.

Co Waterford based Trainer Henry De Bromhead and his stable jockey Andrew Lynch headed back home down the N24 this evening following a good double with Cordelia Belle and Pierlow on a Go Racing in the South East evening.

His 7 year old daughter of Accordion , Cordelia Belle was well fancied at 5/1 joint favourite and added to her Fairyhouse win in the colours of Jonathan Flanagan.

De Bromhead worked his magic on Pierlow this evening when the 5 year old Double Eclipse gelding opened his account over hurdles at the tenth time of asking.

Not unconsidered in the market his last couple of runs were worthy of consideration in the betting ring and so it proved at. 8/1.

Adrian Heskin was also in double form when winning on Dushybeag for Michael Hourigan at 2/1 and Survival for Norman Lee at 12/1.

A couple of 16/1 winners fairly blew away many of the punters with Johnny Burke winning on Maya Quest for Michael Fitzsimons giving the young Co Cork man a great boost to his professional career.

The second 16/1 winner was steered home by Robbie Colgan for Steve Mahon with Afatcat winning.

The days opener saw Barry Geraghty and Edward O’Grady win the maiden hurdle with Hell Cat Maggie. This 5 year old daughter of Flemensfirth justified 5/4 favouritism while the bumper , the eighth race on the card saw Willie and Patrick Mullins win with Daring Carlotta at 11/8.

With three of the top trainers at the course in the past five years it pays to follow De Bromhead, O’Grady and Mullins at Clonmel!

20140613-232016-84016897.jpg