WEEK 49: MONDAY, 30 NOV-SUNDAY, 6 DEC.
Another 8 winners to report on from Avondhu area locals based in the UK. Liam Keniry took the honours last week with 3 winners, he was followed closely by Jonjo O’Neill with 2 winners, with Maurice Linehan, Brian Harding and Martin Lane adding a winner apiece. This takes our 2015 combined winning total onto the 457 mark.
CANDYMAN CANS SECOND RACE IN A ROW
Killeagh native and flat jockey, Liam Keniry, kept up his recent rich vein of form, riding another three winners in Week 49, this, taking his 2015 total on to the 57 winner mark.
His highest class win came aboard the Willie Musson trained, Candyman Can (15/8f), who took the 8 runner 32Red H’cap (C5), at Kempton Park, on December 3rd last. Backing up his recent course win under Keniry and back up in trip to 12f, this five-year-old gelded son of Holy Roman Emperor, was also bidding to defy a rise in class and a penalty.
Drawn widest of all, Candyman Can was well away from the gate and settled into second place off what looked a very slow pace. Passing the winning post with a full circuit to go and Keniry moved alongside the reluctant leader, Shadow Rock, eventually taking over in front and moving on at a slightly increased tempo. Controlling every aspect of this race and literally anchoring Candyman Can in front, Keniry sat quiet and waited until passing the half mile pole to up the ante.
Slowly winding up the tempo, Candyman Can entered the home straight full of running and ridden fully two furlongs out at the cutaway, this Miss A Jones owned gelding had all the answers to repel latecomers, who one by one, stacked up behind him. Hanging slightly towards the centre of the track, Candyman Can stayed on well to win handily in the end by some one and a half lengths, from Indira back in second. It was a further head back to hat-trick seeking, Saint Honore, in third.
Recording his third win from 17 starts in total, Candyman Can has come back in great form from a summer break. Carrying top-weight here with a rating of 70, he may now have to go up in class if reassessed above 76. Life will become much harder and he won’t get things his way so easily in future races.
Willie Musson, winning trainer, said, “Candyman Can had a setback in the spring and it has taken him a long time to come back. He wears a hood at home every day as he’s a bit quirky, but he’s got stronger with age.”
Liam Keniry, speaking to The Avondhu, said, “Candyman Can is improving all the time and ought to be able to win again, as he only just does enough in front. I think he still has a bit up his sleeve.”
Keniry went on to ride another two winners, both of which were trained by Neil Mulholland. They were, in date order, Greek Islands (22/1), who won the 11 runner Ladbrokes H’cap (C6), over 8.5f, at Wolverhampton on December 1st and finally, Lions Charge (5/2f), who followed up his recent win at Wolverhampton, again under Keniry, by taking the 13 runner IseHove H’cap (C6), over 12f, at Kempton on December 2nd last.
LITHIC A CHIP OFF THE OLD BLOCK
Castletownroche native and trainer, Jonjo O’Neill, added a further two winners to his ever increasing total in Week 49, taking his winning total on to the 57 winner mark.
His most notable win came with the Richard Johnson ridden, Lithic (11/4f), who took the 12 runner Southwell National Hunt Flat Race (C6), over 15.5f, at Southwell on December 1st last. Making his racecourse debut, this well supported four-year-old gelded son of Westerner looked fit and ready to do himself justice.
Held up in rear early, as the pace was set by Ballypoint, Lithic settled well off a steady gallop, while others pulled a bit too hard. Always able to position his mount where he wanted, Johnson sighted the Dan Skelton ridden, Tommy Rapper, as the main threat and followed him throughout this race. With the field well bunched going out on their final circuit, Ballypoint increased the tempo slightly entering the back straight as Prince Of Steal joined him up his inside going well. The wheat was now separated from the chaff, as one by one, horses began to fade out of contention. This left just five contenders entering the home turn, each going as well as the other.
Three horses stood out, Lithic, Tommy Rapper and Alexander The Grey and they duly strode on with little answers coming from the closers. Early leader, Ballypoint, faded away disappointingly, while up front, both Lithic and Tommy Rapper looked set to fight out this finish. Ridden to go about his business, Lithic picked up nicely for Johnson and soon had the upperhand over Tommy Rapper.
Striding clear, this Jon and Julie Aisbitt owned gelding had little to concern himself inside the final furlong, going on to win by some five lengths in the end, from Tommy Rapper back in second. It was a further 12 lengths back to Prince Of Steal in third.
Bred locally by Declan Dorgan in Bartlemy, Lithic is a half-brother to promising bumper winner, Ok Corral, out of a full-sister to the mighty Tidal Bay and he looks a chip off the old block.
O’Neill’s second winner also came with another youngster, in the shape of the Richard Johnson ridden, The Tailgater (5/1), who scored in the 7 runner Racing UK National Hunt Flat Race (C6), over 15.5f, at Catterick on December 2nd last. Having his first start for O’Neill and second run in total, this Paul and Clare Rooney owned four-year-old gelded son of Oscar, was a former inmate of Donald McCain, who ironically trained the second, Mo Chailin.
Richard Johnson, riding his 21st winner for O’Neill this season, said, “The Tailgater was just a bit green when he got there and he should get nicer and nicer with time.”
BOY CAN MIX IT WITH BEST
Castletownroche native and jump jockey, Brian Harding, recorded his 21st winner of the season, aboard the Keith Dalgleish trained Mixboy (9/2), who went on to take the 8 runner Roflow Air Ambulance H’cap Hurdle (C4), over 17f, at Sedgefield on December 4th last. Off the track for almost a year and making his handicap hurdle debut, this five-year-old grey gelded son of Fragrant Mix, was also having his first start for the Dalgleish team after transferring from Donald McCain’s yard only last month.
Settled into fourth, off a fair pace set by Irish-trained Mighty Whitey, Mixboy looked to stay wide of runners, presumably looking for better ground in very testing conditions. With the leader taken on early by the Danny Cook ridden Blake Dean, who seemed to lead himself after jumping the third flight, the pace lifted going out on the final circuit and in a bunching field, Mixboy was sighted travelling easily under a quiet sitting Harding.
Now only a length off the front pair and still travelling widest of all, Mixboy took closer order as the head-on camera angle showed a field of fanned out runners going down to four out. As Mighty Whitey and Blake Dean succumbed to their early exertions, it was Orchard Road and Jonathan England who led over three out, with Harding tanking to his outside in second. With his mount taking him into the lead soon after jumping the third last, Harding sat motionless until entering the top of the home straight, where he let Mixboy stride on down towards two out.
Putting daylight between himself and the one closer, Sailors Warn, Mixboy strode out nicely and popping the last, he just had to be kept up to his job to go on and win handily by some four and a half lengths.
Recording his first win, on this, his fifth start, this Paul and Clare Rooney owned gelding looks very much open to further improvement and winning here off an opening handicap mark of 115, he should be well capable of going in again off a penalty.
CYRIUS LOOKS SERIOUS PROSPECT UNDER LINEHAN
Fermoy native and conditional jump jockey, Maurice Linehan picked up a spare winning ride, aboard the Ben Pauling trained Cyrius Moriviere (20/1), who took the 15 runner Betfred Novices’ Hurdle (C4), over 15.5f, at Huntingdon on December 6th last. Coming here off a decent run last time out, over course and distance, behind subsequent Sandown winner, O O Seven, this five-year-old gelded son of Vendangeur was sent to post at very generous odds if that form was taken literally.
Jumping off in second place behind early pacesetter, Artiste Du Gouet, Cyrius Moriviere settled well in Linehan’s hands off a steady pace, which only increased when Instant Karma took over in front after jumping the third of 8 flights of hurdles. Always jumping and travelling well down the far side, Cyrius Moriviere jumped his way into the lead between the fourth and third last. With Instant Karma briefly coming upsides, it was clear from this snapshot that Linehan had that rival well and truly covered.
In front on landing over three-out, Cyrius Moriviere looked to be full of running, with only race favourite, Waterlord, going with him entering the top of the home straight. Two to three lengths up over the second last, Cyrius Moriviere just kept on rolling, leaving Waterlord in his wake approaching the last. Jumping the last three lengths up, Linehan rode out his mount up the short run-in, going on to win readily in the end by some one and a half lengths. Waterlord did well on hurdles debut back in second. With the front two clear, it was a further 10 lengths back to Midnight Cowboy in third.
Recording his first win, on this, only his fourth start, this Pillar P Partnership owned gelding looks a hugely progressive horse and his frame suggests he will only get better with time. Another former Donald McCain trained inmate, the third mentioned in this column alone, Cyrius Moriviere, benefited from a positive Linehan ride and appreciated this drop back in trip. Linehan was riding his 5th winner of the season and second for former Nicky Henderson assistant, Pauling, who looks a real trainer of note and whose runners are worth a second glance.
Maurice Linehan, speaking to The Avondhu, said, “Cyrius Moriviere is a nice horse that looks to have a bright future. I’m really looking forward to him stepping up in grade.”
EQULEUS ROCKS & ROLLS UNDER LANE
Kilworth native and flat jockey, Martin Lane, added a further winner to his 2015 total, which now stands at 51. His win came aboard the Jeremy Gask trained, Equleus (7/1), who went on to take the 14 runner IseHove H’cap (C6), over 8f, at Kempton on November 30th last.
Still looking for that elusive first win and in first time cheekpieces, this three-year-old gelded son of Equiano, was also dropped back in trip having been tried at various distances from 6f to 10f. Drawn 2 on the inside, Equleus was slow to stride and settled in about 5th position off an early contested lead, which eventually resulted in Exalted bagging the front posse and setting a sensible pace. Keen going towards the inside, Equleus looked to always travel well and although losing a couple of places before the halfway point, he always had good track position as the field passed the three-furlong marker and entered the home straight. Ridden towards the cutaway two out and with a huge gap appearing in front of him, Equleus soon reeled in the leaders which now included Dandy’s Perier who just headed long time leader, Exalted, before the one pole.
Hitting the front virtually on the one pole, Lane got busy in the saddle and his mount responded generously to pressure, staying on strongly to win going away, by some one and a half lengths, from Dandy’s Perier back in second. It was a further half a length back to late closer, Choral Clan in third.
Recording his first win and looking to excel at this trip, this Rock & Rollers owned gelding was winning here off a mark of 58, having dropped 7lbs from 65 since his opening handicap run. He’s lightly raced and should be open to further improvement.
MONDIALISTE SET FAIR FOR G1 HONG KONG MILE
In other news, Fermoy native and trainer, David O’Meara, can look forward to running Mondialiste in the Group 1 Hong Kong Mile, at Sha Tin, on this Sunday, December 13th. The race off-time is 7.50, which I presume is our time early Sunday morning and after two cancelled flights, Mondialiste and his travelling head lad, Fearghal Davies, touched down in Hong Kong early last Monday. He travelled well and all seems to have gone to plan. We wish all concerned the very best of luck.
UK flat/jumps 2015 – 453, Ireland 1, France 2, Canada 1.