Vroum Vroum might well be a Festival mare on the evidence of this Wexford win.

They very well might have been racing to the right for the very last time at Wexford on Tuesday last the 18th of November.

Plans are well advanced at this stage for a trial raceday on St Patricks Day 2015 to race left handed or anti clockwise at the track following discussions with HRI and the Turf Club.

This switch would see Wexford offering the only left handed track in the south east making it unique !

Anyway thats a story for another day, with the days headliner begin the Co Carlow based maestro Willie Mullins who recorded a fine treble under Ruby Walsh.

With a small enough attendance , the bookies in the betting ring may have found it difficult to make a few euro with four odds on favourites on the afternoon, but I’d say matters were helped a little with the defeat of the local hot pot Loch Dara in the last.

Three weeks ago the going at the track was good to firm over the October Bank Holiday weekend but following heavy rain in the intervening weeks it was officially described as, soft to heavy, heavy in places.

But truthfully it actually raced much better than that, so any of the equine mudlarks would have been disappointed.

Willie Mullins was not in attendance nor were many others from the racing world as the scheduled meeting clashed with the funeral ceremony for Dessie Hughes who was remembered with a minutes silence on the afternoon.

The performance of the day was the victory of Vroum Vroum Mag in the Kerlogue Mares Beginners Chase for Mullins and his retained jockey Ruby Walsh.

This 5 year old French bred mare by Voux Du Nord , already a winner over hurdles in France won this 2 mile 3 furlong race pretty much as she pleased at 11/8 on favourite.

The went a good pace from flag fall with Davinia’s Tip leading for someway until Walsh took charge 4 out after his mare jumped her way to the front.

She coasted home 9 lengths clear of Emily Gray and the always prominent Down Ace.

Completing his treble here a very pleased Ruby Walsh stated ” She travelled well and jumped super, she pinged a few of her fences and you would struggle to pick something out of it not to like”

Racing in the colours of Susannah Ricci this mare travelled well on the ground and jumped superbly.

We just might have seen the debut of a top class festival mare here?

Racing opened with the 2 mile 2 furlong Supporters Club AGM Maiden Hurdle where the Gigginstown silks were in the winners enclosure with victory going to Aminabad. The first of the three Mullins/Walsh winners this French bred 4 year old son of Singspiel already a Listed bumper winner quickened up past Domesday Book after the last to win comfortably from Henry De Bromhead’s horse and an eyecatching run from Tombstone in the same winning silks.

Walsh indicated afterwards that “It was sharp and he learned a bit. He will likely go back up in trip”

The Mullins / Walsh treble was achieved by Measureofmydreams in the Slaney Maiden Hurdle where the Shantou 6 year old opened his account over hurdles in the colours of Gigginstown House Stud.

A point to point winner and a bumper winner already , this horse would be one of the stars of most yards, but given the firepower in Closutton future plans for the horse might be a little unclear.

The Mullins clan didn’t finish with their treble as Patrick Mullins was given the leg up on Boxer Georg by Shark Hanlon in the Rosslare Hunters Steeplechase with the 12 year old Taipan gelding winning at 5/2.

With only four runners in the race, many were scratching their heads wondering just what is wrong with the racing world!!!! With €7,500 on offer it is mystifying that many would prefer to race in an Open Lightweight for €1,000 than to compete in this.

Local trainer Leonard Whitmore won the equivalent race in 2013 with the Winged Love gelding, Loch Dara and Harley Dunne.

They were back for a repeat performance here and in the intervening time Loch Dara had taken the Tetratema Cup at Gowran.

They were sent off the 11/8 on favourites and tracked Mullins on Boxer Georg until hitting the front 2 out. Wandering or at least hanging to the left approaching the last Dunne and Loch Dara failed to negotiate it safely and left Boxer Georg to register only the second track win of his career.

Now in the ownership of Catherine O’Farrell the horse will be campaigned in the point to point fields by her daughter Katie, with the long term aim to run in the Foxhunters at Cheltenham for the Kilmoganny, Co Kilkenny based mother and daughter team.

Members of St Annes GAA Club were out in force on the afternoon as they paraded the Co Wexford Senior Football Cup which they won the previous weekend.

They were on hand to continue their celebrations with Murrintown native Robbie Moran following his win on Halls Bridge in the 2 mile 6 furlong Selskar Handicap Steeplechase.

Moran, now based in Thurles, Co Tipperary had the 7 year son of Brian Boru in the first four all the way and having passed the leader, Adams Wood, they held the fast finishing Tailors Hill to win at 11/1.

Trained in Co Tipperary by Shane Ryder and owned by Co Westmeath based owner/breeder Denis Hannon this was the horses first track win having been successful in the point to point fields.

Robert Murphy brought Mrs Mac Veale from his Co Waterford yard to contest the 5 runner Join The Supporters Club Mares Hurdle. The Cappaquin, Co Waterford based trainer picked up the winners share of the €15,000 pot when the 9 year old Karinga Bay mare won under Andrew McNamara.

Leading all the way, on the five time winner, McNamara held off a flattering Solita in second. Owned by Villierstown man Paddy Corkery, McNamara indicated afterwards “We were a little worried about the ground, but she is genuine and likes it her own way”

The seventh winner of the day saw Oliver McKiernan and Shane Crimin join forces to win the Loch Garman Handicap Hurdle with the 5/1 shot Follow The Sign.

With his Co Dublin yard out of form McKiernan “hoped the horse was healthy and fit enough to do himself justice”

The 6 year old son of Old Vic won this race with ease and if all of McKiernans future runners are in such form they should be feared.

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Seefood takes Wexfords biggest race for Hughes and Geraghty.

The experiment of an individual / single day two day Halloween Bank Holiday weekend fixture run over three days just didn’t seem to work at Wexford with the second day failing to ignite the imagination.

A small enough attendance had to endure some unpleasant weather on the afternoon but the intrepid punter among them fared pretty well with 6 winning favourites fairly routing the few enough bookies in the ring at the course. Some weekend rain saw the word Firm taken out of the going with Good ground on offer keeping everyone happy.

Co Kildare based trainer Dessie Hughes is a regular visitor to the South East and is in the top five most successful trainers at
Wexford.

He struck again on Bank Holiday Monday when his 2/1 joint favourite Seefood took the Listed MW Hickey Memorial Chase run over 3 miles 1 furlong.

This race , the only Black Type race on the calendar at the track and its most valuable pot saw just four horses declared to face the starters flag.

With prize money down to fourth place it was a little unfortunate that the outsider of the quartet , Pollywollydoodle refused to participate and had the forgo the best paid gallop she might ever have had!

Noel Meades , Thomond set the early pace until Barry Geraghty sent Seefood to the front 4 fences from home and pretty much finished the race as a contest coming home 39lengths clear.

The 7 year old son of Kahyasi was winning his sixth career race with his Maynooth, Co Kildare based owners Dan and Margaret Houlihan of the Lyreen Syndicate pleased to have picked up such a nice prize.

Sandra Hughes who was on hand to represent the absent winning trainer stated “He loves that ground , but I am not sure how much longer we can get it at this time of year. He needed that trip, as he was a 3 mile hurdler he is clearly a 3 mile chaser.”

With a mile less to travel in the Jim Whitty Memorial Beginners Chase, the Whitford Hotel sponsored 2miles 1furlong contest saw Gordon Elliott’s, Crown Theatre , sent off the 9/4 favourite under Paul Carberry.

With San Miedo and The Mooch sharing the lead, Carberry had the Kings Theatre out the back and according to Carberry ” He jumped really well and we went on after great leaps at the third or fourth last as I didn’t want to disappoint him”

Owned by Dublin based Anthony O’Sullivan the 5 year old has been on the go all summer who benefited from from a previous steeplechasing experience in Perth to add to his Downpatrick hurdle win in October.

Racing got underway at 1.15 with the Garryrichard Stud Colt and Geldings Maiden over 2miles 2furlongs. Here Stonehall Jack was sent off the 7/2 on favourite under Barry Geraghty and duly won for Davy Fitzgerald.

The Co Limerick based trainer quickly indicated afterwards ” I needed that win more than him. But he was not winning out of turn, he really should have won before now, but he needs to settle”

Geraghty pretty much made all the running on the Ann and Alex McCarthy homebred 5 year old Gamut gelding coming home in front of Slyguttou and an eyecatching Benahavis. Fitzgerald added “Thats it for now, we will give him a break”

Denis Cullen and Adrian Lynch teamed up to take the JJ Byrne Subaru Maiden Hurdle with Whipper Boy.

This 95 rated flat performer , a 4 year old son of Whipper had some uninspiring hurdle form prior to winning here at 10/1.

Martina Doran’s locally trained Burlesdon put up a very forward showing here under Mikey Fogarty but they were unable to hold off the finishing pace of Whippers Boy who won by 2 and a half lengths.

Speaking afterwards, winning trainer Denis Cullen stated ” I am delighted, he has had issues with his jumping. He wad sticky over the plastic hurdles but he warmed up well here. The long run in from the last here suited , so we will see where we go”

Just 3 horses raced for the €12,000 pot of the INH Stallion Owners EBF Novice Hurdle with Aidan O’Briens Draco leading all the way, adding to his August win at Bellewstown here at 7/4 favourite.

The 5 year old son of Hernando has been a little disappointing to date but winning jockey Robbie Power indicated “He was free early on, but settled. He has grown up an awful lot and will be a nice horse in six months”

The conditional jockeys were given the stage in the Martinstown Opportunity Handicap Hurdle run over 2 miles 4 furlongs.

Jonathon Burke is a rising star and the young Cork man added another winner here when winning on Bank Bonus for Co Kilkenny based Eoin Griffin.

The 5 year old Motivator gelding started was bred by the Queen of England and is now owned by a Waterford based syndicate of owners including International soccer player John O’Shea and his brother Alan.

Eoin O’Griffin noted ” He really likes summer soft ground but its nice to finally get a win. Johnny gave him a great ride.”

Peter Nolan Bloodstock sponsored the concluding bumper which saw father and son partnership of Ronnie and Johnnie O’Neill team up to win with Bay Sly. This home bred 7 year old son of Stowaway will head to Doncaster Sales according to winning trainer Ronnie O’Neill.

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Is there a place for Laytown, Listowel and Champions Weekend in the Irish Racing Calendar?

This Champions Weekend at Leopardstown and Curragh on the 13th and 14th leaves me cold ,I have to say.

Yes we are getting all the hooplah, the glitz and glamour, all the money and all the spin.

But I am just not warming to the idea. From this angle its one enormous expensive party as the Irish racing authorities and elements within racing have been given their heads and run with it.

With entrance fees not an awful lot higher than any or our country tracks on an ordinary day,” they ” are really keen to fill both venues with people, anybody with a pulse in fact.

I’d imagine they are worried, particularly for the Curragh fixture, with the racing public finding it difficult to get enthused with racing at headquarters.

Yes you can list off all the Group 1 races on offer, the lucrative handicaps and all the side shows but if this whole circus is not critically reviewed after this year it looks like it is here to stay.

As I say it leaves me cold, even the talk of a Triple Crown between the French Arc weekend , the British Champions weekend and the Irish venture seems daft.

If someone can explain to me just how much racing will benefit from all of this please do tell!

When you contrast what is on offer over Champions weekend and today at Laytown the following week at Listowel , you get some idea as to how far apart our worlds are.

Maybe there is a place for all three but in my view the icy coldness that the Champions project engenders in me will be hard to thaw out!

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Smullen Stars on Ladies Day with Brunker, Heffernan and The Queen at Wexford.

Day Two of the pre Galway racing festival at Wexford saw a significant treble for Pat Smullen on a tricky card brightened up by Ladies Day, Littlewoods Ireland, Amanda Brunker and Margaret Heffernan. With an all flat card on offer the ground good, good to firm in places seemed to race a little on the dead side having been watered during the week. This may have been the reason as to why only one winning favourite was recorded on the day, the even money chance Bogardus but all bar one of the other six winners were well supported giving some respite.

With this race meeting being the only and last one before the start of the Galway Festival it had all the look and feel of a mid week industry day, with a small enough crowd for a Saturday fixture, no live link to At The Races, the competition of the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth meeting at Ascot and constant chatter about the upcoming hurling match between Wexford and Limerick all taking the focus off the racing at Bettyville.

Pat Smullen was the star turn on the afternoon as the former Irish Champion Flat jockey recorded a fine treble with wins on Empress Toorah, Renown and Hunting Tower. Smullen the long time stable jockey to Dermot Weld is making a bold bid to regain that jockeys title from his wife’s nephew Joseph O’Brien with this treble putting a gap of 14 winners between Smullen and the reigning champion.

Its only the end of July so there are a lot of fixtures between now and the end of the season and with a significant number of 2 year olds still to run from Ballydoyle, Smullen will need more than just Dermot Weld’s yard to provide him winners, just as he did at Wexford with Sabrina Harty and James Lambe chipping in a winner a piece.

Holy Roman Emperor was a very good two year old for Ballydoyle who was shuttled off to stud as a three year old to replace the Coolmore stallion failure George Washington. His stock have been a success since hitting the track and he added another winner to his list with Empress Toorah winning for Pat Smullen, Sabrina Harty and winning owner Margaret Nevin.

Smullen popped her straight into the lead once the gates opened and they made every yard of the running over the 1 mile 100 yard trip of the Irish Stallion Farms European Breeders Fund Fillies Maiden to upset the favourite Celestial Fable and win at 7/2.

This was the most valuable race on the card with €11,000 on offer and Harty picked up the winners prize at the fillies tenth time of asking. Speaking afterwards the Co Kildare based trainer stated “That was great, she can be tricky to train and can be hot and moody. She is not overly big so handicaps can be hard on a filly of her size, but she seems versatile, stays well and we will tip away with her”

Famous Name is a 21 time winning son of Dansili owned by Kahled Abdullah of Juddmonte Farms Ltd, trained by Dermot Weld who now stands at the Irish National Stud. A standing order for many years in Group and Listed races in Ireland , Britain and France it remains to be seen if his three parts brother, Renown can reach such heights but he started on the right course when making an impressive looking racing debut in the Littlewoods Ireland Ladies Day Maiden in the same colours .

Racing in fifth place for most of the 1 mile 3 furlong trip behind Hurricane Volta the 3 year old son of Champs Elysees came through in the last furlong to go past the favourite, Sindarban and score by a very cosy length at 7/1.

Speaking afterwards the winning jockey Pat Smullen commented “He is very laid back, he stays better than Famous Name and he only has another 20 wins to equal him. But it’s a good start and hopefully he will progress” This gelding will not have a career in the stallion sheds so it will be interesting where the Juddmonte team place him into the future.

James Lambe made the trip down from Co Armagh with a small team of horses and took the last race the 2 miles Gorey Handicap with a resurgent Hunting Tower winning at 9/2 in the hands of Pat Smullen. The 10 year old son of Sadlers Wells, bred by none other than Queen Elizabeth, won a 2 year old maiden for Richard Hannon at Brighton 8 years ago and having won seven races in the intervening period over hurdles and on the flat his ninth win was posted here. With Dat’S The Plan and Katys Girl cutting out the running, Smullen bided his time in the ten runner race to come through and win by a neck.

Commenting afterwards Lambe noted “He got an excellent ride today from Pat, the yard is in good form and it was worth the trip down. Pat really got a tune out of him today.” Back in Lambes yard for the past 4 months, there are no immediate plans with perhaps an entry at Galway next weekend a possibility.

With the Queen of England breeding a winner on the day another notable lady or two were at the track as Amanda Brunker hosted the Littlewoods Ireland Ladies Day with over 100 colourful women and their outfits brightening up the day.

Patrick Prendergast has a good strike rate of late with the Co Curragh based trainer sending out three winners from his last three runners. The third of these came in the Amanda Brunker Judges Littlewoods Ireland Ladies Day Rated Race when the Richard Barnes owned Bogardus opened his account on turf when winning by a neck from Johnny Murtaghs Sea The Stars filly Calorie. Home bred by the American based Barnes at his Grangecon Stud in Co Wicklow the son of Dalakhani was 15 lb better off with that horse from their last encounter at Dundalk and needed every ounce to beat her here by a neck at even money.

Prendergast who has a small team of 18 horses indicated “That was a clever ride from Gary, it’s been a good weekend, the trip was a bit on the sharp side, but he is better on the all weather”
With all the talk of fashion it was fitting that Margaret Heffernan of Dunnes Stores fame got in on the act with her horse Cin Cin, an Exceed and Excel 4 year old filly winning the 1 mile 3 furlong Slaney Handicap under Emmet McNamara. Trained by her husband Andrew, the filly according to the winning trainer “Has as not been running well, so we tried her in cheekpieces today. We won’t go to Galway but we might head to Tramore next month” Bred by Mrs Heffernan’s brother Frank, this was very much a family affair for a small yard with five horses in training.

Aidan O’Brien supplied two of the jockeys in the Wexford Racecourse on Facebook Apprentice Handicap with his daughter Ana riding Action Master for James Lambe and Aidan himself sending Duarte Fernandes to his local track ridden by his son Donnacha O’Brien. None of the two young O’Briens got a shout in at the business end with Donnacha involved in a 2 horse melee on the turn into the straight with 3 furlongs to go. The winner here was a 4th success for Adrian Keatley who won with Carraroe Flyer for Sean Corby. This 4 year old daughter of Sintarajan will now head to Cork following this 14/1 success.

The final winner of the day was Fran Berry for David Watchman with An Fear Ciuin. Racing in the colours of JP McManus, the 3 year old son of Galileo pretty much made all the running to win at 11/4 and provide a rare flat win at Wexford for McManus. The 1 mile 3 furlong trip seemed to suit and this horse will most likely be seen over hurdles at a later stage.

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Get More makes the headlines for Slevin!

The two day July meeting at Wexford got underway on the Friday evening 25th in glorious sunshine on a 7 race all National Hunt card. With the ground good to firm in places it seemed to offer ideal jumping ground for our national hunt horses as the very large attendance enjoyed a good evenings sport with three winning favourites.

The highlight of the evening was the JP McManus sponsored Martinstown Opportunity Handicap Steeplechase, run over 2 miles 3 furlongs it resulted in a great local win with Shay Slevin’s Kiltrea ,Enniscorthy yard winning with Get More in the colours of Co. Westmeath based Michelle Ryan. With Old Supporter attempting to make all the running under Brian Hayes, Patrick Corbett had the 7 year old Milan horse towards the rear and only came into the reckoning after the second last. With All Fired Up attempting to see off the flattering Imperial Joey , Corbett surprised them all to win at 14/1.

An obviously delighted Slevin family were celebrating with their owner in the winner’s enclosure with the winning trainer taking the time to state “He got a good ride, they stuck at it well, he will improve for this, and we will stay handicapping”. The winning owner Michelle Ryan is an important part of the Slevin operation with 15 horses in training, but she enjoys the sport immensely as it is a good break from her wholesale business which she operates throughout Ireland.

The other two Steeplechase’s on the card all seemed to turn into a bit of a farce however. With the Saltee Islands Handicap Steeplechase in particular seeing only 4 of the original 13 declared finish following 2 late withdrawals. The winner here was Best Value for Michael Darcy with the 7 year old Helissio gelding who has been mixing it over hurdles of late leading all the way to beat Jansboy at 6/1 co favourite. The local hope here Yvonne Latta’s Most Chaste was pulled up by Davy Condon with indications afterwards that the ground was too fast for her. Nagle stated that the plan was to head to Galway for a 3 mile Handicap Hurdle on Sunday. A lot of horses pulled up in this race with only 5 horses still running 6 fences from home putting a question mark over the reliability of the form in my view, but hey a win is a win and Nagle won’t worry !

The Mares Beginners Steeplechase sponsored by Easy Fix Rubber Products saw 13 starters but 4 of them had already left the contest by the 2nd fence with 3 falling at the first including Michael Winters Silver Chief and his Missed Cloud falling at the 2nd. With Ger Fox being injured early in the day, Brian Cawley got a late call up from Denis Hogan to ride Dedoctorsdaughter for the Wildcats Syndicate. This 7 year old Doctor Massini mare bred by John Bowler of Co. Clare (one of the Wildcats Syndicate) was always pretty close to the action. Cawley indicated afterwards “It was a weak race, she was entitled to it, she was fit and healthy beforehand and the others didn’t just get competitive”. Her winning owners from Tipperary and Clare indicated afterwards “She needed good summer ground and we will race on with her”.

Racing opened with the http://www.wexfordraces.ie Maiden Hurdle where Norman Lee saddled the Paul Mullins home bred gelding Bashful Beauty to win under Adrian Heskin. With Hard Fought setting a furious gallop upfront under Paddy Kennedy Heskin didn’t panic and he reeled in the leader before the last and held off Liz Doyle’s Cashofgold. Co. Galway based Lee commented “We fancied him today, he is a good little horse that won a point to point with Jamie Codd. He will go to Galway next week for Friday or Sunday”. This 7 year old High Rise gelding has a nice bit of form to his name and he might be worth keeping on the right side of.

Phelim Byrne provides the restaurant services at the track and he sponsored the 2 Mile 4 Furlong Handicap Hurdle which went to Old Theatre Royal for owner/trainer Lorcan Donnelly, this 9/1 winner was well ridden by Kevin Sexton who jumped off into the lead at flag fall and nobody got past him. Donnelly who is now based in Co. Wicklow is originally from Gorey, Co. Wexford has only 4 horses in training and will send this 9 year old son of Kings Theatre to Galway if he stays sound. This race was always between Old Theatre Royal and Orion’s Might, with that horse falling at the second last leaving the favourite Kinneagh Cross to attempt to reel in the leader but to no avail. Sexton must take credit for a very well judged ride here and he continues to bloom as a 5 pound claimer.

Co. Kilkenny based trainer Thomas Walsh has been coming to Wexford for quite a few years now. Having saddled his first winner at the track in 1959, he saw their home bred Springfield Grey take the Littlewoods Ireland 3 Mile Handicap Hurdle ridden by Shane Crimin. Lar Byrne’s locally trained Key Account was sent off to the front by Martin Ferris and they continued to lead until passed by Springfield Grey who stayed on stoutly to defeat Milan Ridge for Colin Bowe and Patsy Farrell. Walsh and his wife Joan indicated afterwards “This is the only horse we have in at the moment, we took a chance in running him here, but we were confident that he would win if in form”.

The concluding bumper saw a very nice field of 16 mares face the starter with success here going to Co. Waterford based Riche Kiely on Cruisingdownriver for Phillip Fenton. This 4 year old Milan mare had run here in June and built on that promise to take her first race in the colours of Youghal owner/breeder Jerry Russell . Russell father of well known jockey Davy was a little concerned afterwards as the filly had to be dismounted before returning to the winner’s enclosure putting a little dampener to celebrations. Fenton indicated afterwards “We are a little concerned; we will have to bring her home and investigate”. This race was sponsored by the Acquired Brain Injury Ireland Charity which saw a number of notable celebrities playing hurling on the track earlier in the evening, thankfully none of them will be lining out for Wexford in the near future!

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Not a bad return for mid week racing!

With a variety of race meetings in Ireland and Britain today, it was good to see a nice mixture of winners with local connections.

Starting with Lisheen Hill an 8 yo by Witness Box and pt2pt winner for Co Waterford based Declan Queally in 2012 winning at Worcester today for trainer RichardPhillips and jockey Daniel Hiskett.

While Cloudings a stallion son of Sadler’s Wells standing at Old Road Stud, Lismore , Co Waterford sired Moorlands Jack to win Worcester Racecourse for Jeremy Scott Racing and jockey Nick Scholfield.

Silent Knight won again this time at Worcester Races for Warren Greatrex and Co Cork native Gavin Sheehan.By Pierre standing at Knockmullen House Stud in Co Wexford this horse won his Point to Point for Andrew Latta in 2013.

Lawman standing at Ballylinch Stud Co Kilkenny sires Agnes Stewart to win her maiden Fairyhouse this evening for Billy Lee and Eddie Lynam at 22/1.

While Classic Pursuit took a race Kempton Park for Co Waterford born jockey Tom Queally and Ronald Harris.

While Jim Bolger and his stable jockey son in law continued their good seasonal form when scoring a double at Fairyhouse this evening.

Taking the evenings highlight the Group 3 fillies and mares race Tobann win at 3/1 while last weekends surprise winner, News at Six went in again at odds on .

Not a bad return for mid week racing!

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Go Racing in the South East!

Go Racing in the South East!!! Both Gowran Park and Wexford race this week, with a flat card on offer this evening (Tuesday) at the Co Kilkenny venue at Gowran Park.

With the eternal hope of good weather in the South East Wexford Racecourse offers an all national hunt on Friday evening.

With both tracks offering the Go Racing in the South East 5 for 50 offer , it might just encourage a few extra racegoers this and everyday till seasons end !

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Its Australia the Good rather than Australia the Great?

What an extraordinary day at the Curragh, the 8/1 on chance Australia, beats four rivals home to take home the €725,000 first prize giving his trainer Aidan O’Brien his eleventh win in the Group 1 classic and his son Joseph claiming his second.

With a media frenzy of superlatives being unleashed over the airwaves, on Twitter, Facebook, print and on blogs all lauding the 3 year old son of Galileo as “great” “the best ever” etc. etc. maybe we should all take a pull here on the bit and consider.

I’ve no doubt that the classically bred horse is good, very good. With two Group 1 wins to his name in the Irish and Epsom Derby’s already, he looks like being the top middle distance 3 year old of 2014.

His win at Epsom over 15 other runners including todays absentee Kingston Hill was a much measure than todays near farcical Dubai Duty Free sponsored event.

Was he in truth ever going to be beaten by any of his stablemates today? Unlikely and so it proved, with Kingfisher and Orchestra, both sons of Galileo staying on to be second and third.

The only other two runners, Ponfeigh a dual winner over a mile who looked out of his depth here, and Fascinating Rock who ran disappointingly at Epsom and needs a much softer surface than that encountered today just wouldn’t be a serious measure as to Australia’s ability today.

A much talked up horse, his long term future is very much seen as a stallion and everything even down to his name will be used to maximise the euros and aussie dollars that Coolmore can generate in the Northern and Southern hemispheres.

He will race on I am sure, probably at a shorter distance but he needs to beat the older generation comprehensively and regularly before all those superlatives can be justified!

So for now it’s Australia the Good rather than Australia the Great!

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Red hot Fogarty headlines on treble day at Wexford!

20140317-220420.jpgRacing at Wexford took on a real local flavour with four local yards providing racegoers with the first five winners on the Patricks day card. Three of these were ridden by Mikey Fogarty with the Wexford based jockey commenting “That is unreal, especially back here in my local town, it has been a great day” having ridden a treble on the track for the first time in his career.

Fogarty is red hot at the minute, what with his first Champion Festival winner on Don Poli last week and now another milestone has been added here.

The day was really one of trebles as not only did Fogarty ride a treble, we also had three winning favourites on the day, while Gordon Doyle and Liz Doyle miraculously conjured up a three in a row treble for their horses Snowell and Foritsa.

The Arctic Tack Stud Veterans Handicap Chase had a very attractive pot of money on offer with €23,500 to be divided amongst the first four home. With 15 facing the tape of the 2 mile 3 furlong contest it was Gordon Doyles Foritsa that was sent off the 5/2 favourite. The dual winner had opened his account here in November with the 10 year old Golden Tornado gelding being given every chance to win by the enterprising and forceful ride of Adam O’Neill.

He was committed to the front 4 fences from home and held everyone at bay to pass the post in front.

The bottom weight has improved no end for Doyle at his New Ross yard and it is an achievement to sustain the progress since November. Plans for the Harry Williams owned horse might see him race again but “Today was the day” according to Doyle who added “I wasn’t at all confident, I wasn’t sure if was still in form. He would love even better ground so we will see how he comes out of this”.

Liz Doyle fresh from a nice double at Navan yesterday was on hand to welcome home Snowell after winning the St Patricks Day Novice Handicap Hurdle. The 7 year old Well Chosen gelding was capturing his third race in a row for his owner/breeder, Tramore based Fionan O’Driscoll. Winning at Clonmel and Thurles in February he racked up his third win on the trot here under young Cork amateur JJ Burke.

This was a thrilling finish as Burke got a wonderful leap from his horse at the last to beat off Hurler and Farmer and Cordelia Blue in a two head finish.

Doyle commented afterwards “He was very brave and didn’t have much room, but the 7lb claim of the rider made a difference here and this was Jonathan’s first track win against professional jockeys”.

Mikey Fogarty must be on cloud nine just now with the Cleariestown, Co Wexford man booting home three winners on the day.

Opening proceedings in the Wexford Racecourse Supporters Club Maiden Hurdle Fogarty made all the running on Sardinia to win for Paul Nolan and Mrs Ann Coffey. The 4 year old Galileo gelding, a winner on the flat for Aidan O’Brien in October had seen him only jump hurdles once in public with no success since transferring to Nolans, Co Wexford yard.

While he can obviously gallop his lack of respect of the hurdles in front of him made Fogarty’s job more difficult. They had however surrendered the lead before the last to Voice of a Curlew but her last hurdle fall saw Fogarty do well evade her and he managed to drive on again by the rail and hold Shutter Island.

Nolan said afterwards “We thought the blinkers might help, he can gallop but he needs to jump better. He will mix it on the flat and over hurdles”.

Fogarty and Nolan followed up in the very next contest for the Join The Wexford Supporters Club Today Maiden Hurdle when winning the 2 mile race on The Mooch at 5/1. Fogarty was never far away on 6 year son of Bach whose only previous win was here in July of 2013 under Harley Dunne on good to firm ground.

With another bit of luck going Fogarty’s way the leader Lipinski fell heavily at the last leaving the way open for Fogarty to power on and hold Ontopoftheworld by a neck.

Commenting afterwards Nolan state “He looked like being a good second until that mishap at the last, he will continue summer racing now as he couldn’t be sold at Newmarket”.

Owned and bred by Tipperary based Roger English, the English family including Rogers cousin the legendary hurler Nicky English were on hand to congratulate Fogarty.

Michael O’Murchadha father of the current racecourse manager Michael Murphy was commemorated by the staging of a 2 mile 4 furlong Rated Hurdle. Victory here went to the Colm Murphy trained 7 year Beneficial gelding Mister Hotelier. Fogarty used very different tactics here to record his treble as he dropped the Mark McDonagh trained horse out early on, waiting to challenge after the last and win at 7/1.

Murphy was on a treble of his own as he had saddled Cracking Lad at Navan yesterday, while Express Du Berlais won at Down Royal today to strongly indicate that his Co Wexford yard was back in form.

Expressing satisfaction afterwards Murphy noted “This was the first day he settled, he dropped the but and Mikey gave him a peach of a ride. Chasing is his future, but we will mix it for now”.

Henry De Bromhead was absent on the day but the winning owner Kilmeaden, Co Waterford based Owen Byrne was on hand to welcome home his winner, An Dearthair Og in the McGuinness Lambert Auctioneers Novice Handicap Steeplechase. De Bromhead also got in on the treble act as he saddled two other winners at Down Royal Never Complain and Riviera Sun.

Ridden by Andrew Lynch this 8 year old son of Expelled is the only horse Byrne has in training, who has had a difficulty of two in the past with indications that he would be tried on a bigger galloping track.

The concluding Mares Bumper sponsored by Notnowcato at Knockhouse Stud went to the Kinsale Co Cork yard of Robert Tyner with Carrigmoorna Rock. Ridden by David O’Leary the Kings Theatre 6 year old is part owned by her breeder Tom McCarthy in the Old Fools Partnership based in Dungarvan. This winning point to pointer could go for the mares final later in the season according to the winning trainers wife Mary.

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Fogarty Doyle and Flanagan head to Wexford.

20140317-104110.jpgThe traditional St Patricks day fixtures at Wexford and Down Royal are the attraction today. With the South East track getting its 2014 season underway.

Much of todays chat will focus on those 12 Irish trained winners at Cheltenham with the management of the racecourse likely to highlight the fact that 2 of the 12 winners at the festival (Tammys Hill and Savello) had won at their Bettyville track earlier in their careers.

When you throw in the exploits of locally based jockey Mikey Fogarty who won at the same meeting on Don Poli for Willie Mullins and Gigginstown, racegoers at the track have much to chat about.

Fogarty is in rare good form as he took the maiden hurdle at Navan yesterday on Cracking Chap. Riding for the north wexford yard of Colm Murphy the 5 year old High Chaparral took this race readily at 5/1. His sire High Chaparral continues to get my eye and his stock over jumps could be more than interesting in future years.

These weren’t the only Wexford based winners on the day as Liz Doyle saddled both Glen Beg and Le Vent D’Antan to win. Ridden by Kevin Sexton whose 5 lb claim helped the 7 year old daughter of Norwich, she won this at 11/1 having struck the front after the last.

This mare may never reach the possible heights of Doyle’s second winner Le Vent D’Antan but she has managed to win a couple of races for the Williams family who must be pleased.

Doyles french bred 5 year old Martaline gelding Le Vent D’Antan was a big fancy this time last year at the Cheltenham festival when finishing seventh in the bumper. With some difficulties in the interim Doyle wisely set her sights lower this year and must be pleased to have won this so amazingly easy under Barry Geraghty. This horse promises much for the future and remains an exciting prospect.

Liz Doyle gave Sean Flanagan his first ever winner as a rider and the freelance jockey has never looked back.Flanagan added another winner yesterday at Limerick when he joined forces with Tipperary based David Kelly to win with Sherika in the handicap chase at in a tight finish at 8/1.

They are all at Wexford today and the card looks exceptionally tricky to sort out!

Enjoy the day!