Churchstonewarrior comes home for Sweeney

Churchstonewarrior, Thurles 2021.

Kildinan trainer Jonathan Sweeney won the second division of the bumper at the rescheduled meeting at Thurles on Wednesday week last, with the Ray Barron-ridden Churchstonewarrior.

A strong even money favourite, the six-year-old pulled clear from early in the straight to win by all over 16 lengths from the Shark Hanlon-trained Captain Westie.

While Paul Townend and Willie Mullins dominated the meet, where they won both Grade 2 chases on the card. The pair combined with the impressive Colreevy to take the opening Coolmore NH Sires Kew Gardens Irish EBF Novice Chase.

A strong 4/5 favourite, she scored by all of 12 lengths from the Gordon Elliott-trained Mount Ida and connections will now choose between at similar race at Limerick in March or a trip to the Cheltenham Festival for her next start.

The champion trainer and champion jockey doubled up when Allaho returned to winning ways in the Grade 2 Horse & Jockey Hotel Chase, the 10/11 favourite scoring by three lengths from his own stable companion Elimay. Both horses are on target for the Cheltenham Festival with the latter pencilled in to run at Naas in the interim.

A Mullins treble was completed when amateur rider Aubrey McMahon partnered his first winner over hurdles in the auction maiden hurdle on 15/8 chance Eurotiep which is owned by the Down The Hatch Syndicate. He scored a 19-length success over the Elliott-trained Stranger Danger.

Eoin McCarthy struck for a second time with Blanketontheground which landed the two-mile handicap hurdle. Owned by John Leahy, the 11/2 chance added to a win at Limerick before Christmas when scoring a four-length success over 7/4 favourite Whatsnotoknow under Gearoid Brouder. The eight-year-old might well reappear this weekend at Leopardstown’s Dublin Racing Festival.

Street Value justified his position towards the head of the betting markets to easily win the opportunity handicap hurdle for Charleville jockey Barry John Foley and rookie trainer John Flavin at Gowran Park on Thursday. Owned by the Miracle Cure Syndicate, the six-year-old had little difficulty in adding to his recent Clonmel win when beating the Philip Dempsey-trained Oscar Sam by six lengths.

Sarah Lynam maintained her fine run of form with a double at Dundalk on Friday evening, which she shared with Cahir’s Shane Crosse. The pair struck with Tyrconnell in the eight-furlong handicap, the seven-year-old winning by a cosy two and a quarter lengths from the Tom Cleary-trained Dark Magic.

The 5/1 winner is owned by the trainer’s father Edward and his colours were carried to success once again as Sabrina Fairchild completed Sarah’s second double in the concluding six-furlong handicap. A strong 9/4 favourite, the six-year-old came from well off the pace and eased to a three-length win over the Oliver McKiernan-trained Fox Fearless.

Skibbereen’s Adam Farragher was on the mark at Dundalk where he won the apprentice maiden on the Michael Halford-trained Turbo Command. Sent off at odds of 10/11 favourite, Farragher made most of the running on the four-year-old to beat the Tracey Collins-trained Strange Times by a length and three-parts.

Henry de Bromhead landed two winners at Naas on Sunday and he shared them both with Rachael Blackmore. The Stephen McCarthy-owned 11/8 chance Mr Incredible took the second division of the maiden hurdle in great style when readily accounting for the Willie Mullins-trained 4/6 favourite Glens Of Antrim by four and a half lengths.

While the winning margin wasn’t as wide, there loads to like about how Eklat De Rire won the Grade 3 Naas Racecourse Business Club Novice Chase. Blackmore made all the running on the seven-year-old to beat the Gordon Elliott-trained Escaria Ten by a length and three-parts and the RSA Chase at the Cheltenham Festival next month might well be next.

Paul Townend won the first two races at the venue, teaming up with a couple of legends of the game, Dermot Weld and Willie Mullins. He won the opening four-year-old maiden hurdle on the Weld-trained Coltor, the master trainer’s first jumps winner since the 2019 Leopardstown Christmas Festival. The 11/4 favourite held on gamely from the Gordon Elliott-trained Showbusiness to win by a neck.

It was far easier for the classy Bachasson on which the champion jockey made all the running to win the Grade 3 Limestone Lad Hurdle. In the colours of Edward O’Connell, the 10-year-old raced to a comfortable four and three-parts of a length win over the Elliott-trained Grand Roi which is half his age. The Red Mills Chase or the Red Mills Hurdle is likely to be next for the successful 11/8 shot. 

Upcoming Fixtures

Down Royal – Thursday, February 4 (first race 1.15pm); Dundalk – Friday, February 5 (first race 4.30pm); Leopardstown – Saturday, February 6 (first race 1.05pm); Leopardstown – Sunday, February 7 (first race 1.10pm).