Change The Rules and Adrien Heskin after winning the Handicap Chase at Limerick. (Picture: Alain Barr)

O’Brien Makes A Winning Start At Gowran Park

Former champion jockey Joseph O’Brien made an explosive start on his first day with a trainer’s licence and of his four opening day winners, two of then came at Gowran Park on bank holiday Monday last.

O’Brien spent the day searching for new talent at the Goffs Landrover Sale but was on the mark with his first runner in his own name as Justice Frederick landed the 7f maiden. The 6/4 shot was ridden by his brother Donnacha and had a length and a half to spare over Leo Minor, trained by his father Aidan, at the line.

Both Joseph and Donnacha were winners again later on the card as Zig Zag came from last to first to win the 9f handicap. Fethard trainer Joe Murphy continued his good run of form when Shepherd’s Purse made all the running under Gary Carroll to win the 7f handicap.

Paddy Meany enjoyed his second winner in two days when Enough Is Enough took the apprentice handicap in the hands of Robbie Dolan.

More senior riders dominated the rest of the card with Chris Hayes and Kevin Prendergast teaming up to win the 8f maiden with Madroos, while Kevin Manning and Jim Bolger scored with Qatari Hunter in the 9f handicap. Baliyka justified strong market support to win the fillies’ maiden at odds of 4/6 favourite.

Brian O’Connell Stars At Listowel

Brian O’Connell rode the first treble of his professional career when winning the first three races on the card at Listowel on Monday week last. The County Kilkenny rider shared two winners with Doneraile-based John Joe Walsh and made a winning start with Una’s Pleasure in the mares’ maiden hurdle.

O’Connell partnered Joseph O’Brien’s first winner over hurdles when Mai Fitzs Jack easily took the 2m maiden hurdle and he completed his three-timer when the Walsh-trained Popboru took the 2m4f handicap hurdle.

Joseph O’Brien further added to his brace at Gowran Park on the same afternoon when Oathkeeper ran out the hugely impressive winner of the bumper in the hands of his sister, Sarah.

Ah Littleluck landed the 3m handicap hurdle for Tom Gibney and Mark Flanagan, while Robbie Power rode Stellar Notion to win the 2m3f handicap chase for Henry de Bromhead. The hunters’ chase went to the James O’Keeffe-trained Hard Station who made most of the running to win under Johnny Barry.

Kieren Fallon Lands Fairyhouse Double

Kieren Fallon rode the opening two winners at Fairyhouse on Wednesday last. He partnered 5/4 favourite Magical Fire to win the 6f fillies’ maiden for Michael O’Callaghan and quickly follow up when Blairmayne, the 11/4 favourite, took the handicap over the same distance for Scarva, County Armagh-based trainer Natalia Lupini.

Andy Oliver, who trains at Caledon, County Tyrone, was another to record a double in back-to-back races. Connor King guided The Eyes Have It to success in the 6f handicap, while Billy Lee was in the saddle as Grey Blue Sky won the 12f handicap. Both winners were returned at 9/2.

Perhaps the most impressive winner of the session was Raymonda who made it two wins from as many starts for Dermot Weld and Pat Smullen when readily beating Irish 1,000 Guineas fifth Cool Thunder in the 7f fillies’ race.

Joe Murphy has his Fethard, County Tipperary yard in top form and he landed the 7f maiden with Flying Fairies who was ridden by Gary Carroll. Ger O’Leary and Killian Leonard teamed up to win the concluding 12f handicap with Bobskier who at odds of 25/1 was easily the longest priced winner of the day.

Bolger And Manning On Fire

Jim Bolger and Kevin Manning dominated proceedings at Leopardstown with three winners on Thursday evening last. The pair opened up with success in the 7f fillies’ maiden with 5/4 favourite Oh Grace and went on to land the 12f maiden with 8/11 favourite An Cailin Orga.

At a more appealing 8/1, Mandatario completed the treble with a win in the 15f handicap. Dermot Weld and Pat Smullen continued their good run as they recorded two winners. They took the featured Listed Glencairn Stakes with 11/4 chance Foxtrot Charlie who now has the Celebration Stakes at the Curragh at the end of the month as a target.

The pair had earlier won the 7f maiden with 20/1 outsider Currency Converter who might now run in the Group 3 Tyros Stakes at the same course next month. Joseph O’Brien kept up his good work in his first week with a trainer’s licence as he saddled 6/4 favourite No Biggie to win the 10f handicap in his mother Ann Marie’s colours.

Dunleer, County Louth trainer was on the mark with Total Demolition who gave 17 year old Sean Davis the second winner of his career. Davis rode his first winner at the same venue on the previous Friday.

Joseph O’Brien Maintains Impressive Start At Clonmel

Joseph O’Brien was again on the mark in his first week with a trainer’s licence when Oh Me Oh My took the maiden hurdle at Clonmel on Friday evening. Jody McGarvey partnered the 4/1 shot who was running for the first time and was her trainer’s sixth winner in five days and his only runner at the meeting.

The father and son team of Tony and Danny Mullins landed the 2m handicap hurdle with 10/1 chance Balinaboola Lass who scored by all of 16 lengths. The widest winning margin on the evening was 21 lengths and that was recorded by 4/6 favourite On Fiddlers Green who took the 2m7f beginners’ chase for Henry de Bromhead and Davy Russell.

Also over fences, Ted Walsh’s Myles Ahead was a popular 11/4 winner of the 2m beginners’ chase in the hands of Ian McCarthy, while 7/1 shot Pops Well took the handicap chase for Paul O’Flynn and Ambrose McCurtin.

Kieran Purcell and Brian O’Connell scored with You Can’t Catch Me in the 2m4f handicap hurdle and the 6/1 chance was winning over the course and distance for the second time in a little over three weeks. Barry O’Neill rode Khalessi to win the bumper for Mallow, County Cork trainer Tom Nagle.

Two Winners For Curragh Trainer Ken Condon

Ken Condon scored back to back winners at Navan on Saturday. Based in Rathbride, Condon teamed up with Colm O’Donoghue to win the extended five furlong handicap with 100/30f In Salutem and followed up in the very next race when 7/1 shot Shanghai Beauty scored under Nurney, County Kildare apprentice Andrew Breslin who was riding his first winner.

Ger Lyons and Colin Keane had little difficulty in winning the opening median auction race with 1/3 favourite King Electric who is set to step up in class for his next start. Dermot Weld and Pat Smullen scored with Karalara, a 9/4 chance, in the fillies’ maiden while Jim Bolger and Kevin Manning took the 13f handicap with 7/4 favourite Ceol Na Nog.

At a more generous 6/1, Zebgrey won the 8f handicap for Ado McGuinness and Ronan Whelan, while over the same distance Aidan O’Brien’s General Macarthur got the better of the gambled-on Tony The Gent in the concluding conditions’ race. The final winner of the day was returned at 11/4.

Husking Secures Handicap Chase At Limerick

While certainly not unheard of, Gordon Elliott sent out a rare 16/1 winner when newcomer Takeittothelimits landed the bumper at Limerick last Saturday evening. The winner was partnered by Cian Collins who was riding his fourth winner.

Kilcolgan, County Galway trainer Stephen Mahon was on the mark with Afatcat who bounced back to form under Ger Fox to land the 2m handicap hurdle. The winner was also returned a 16/1 shot and powered home to beat Caridadi by three and a quarter lengths.

Graiguenamanagh, County Kilkenny-based Eamonn Sheehy won the 2m maiden hurdle with the Brian Hayes-ridden 9/4 co-favourite Gunner McGregor. Leslie Young saddled Fleurys Fort to win the 2m3f handicap hurdle with Ryan Treacy getting the 6/1 chance home by a length for the Templemore, County Tipperary trainer.

Charles Byrnes and his old ally Davy Russell combined to win the novice hurdle with 7/4 chance Black Warrior who looks a nice prospect and readily won from 6/4 market leader Master Of Verse.

Over fences, Peter Fahey’s Xsquared and Kevin Sexton won the beginners’ chase, while Adrian Heskin partnered Aengus King’s Change The Rules to win the handicap chase at odds of 7/2 and 7/1 respectively.

Robert Cowell Notches Up First Winner In Ireland

Spirit Quartz gave British trainer Robert Cowell his first success in Ireland when taking the Listed Midsummer Sprint Stakes at Cork on Sunday. Pat Smullen had to work hard to get the 5/4 shot home ahead of the well-supported 11/10 favourite Ardhoomey.

The champion jockey enjoyed a second winner as the Dermot Weld-trained Alveena readily landed the Cork Derby Handicap in the Epsom Derby-winning colours of His Highness The Aga Khan.

Colm O’Donoghue is enjoying a fine season and he teamed up with Aidan O’Brien to win the Group 3 Munster Oaks with Pretty Perfect who scored impressively at odds of 3/1 and could now run in the Darley Irish Oaks at the Curragh next month. Curragh trainers took the opening two races. In the 5f fillies’ maiden, Johnny Murtagh’s Miss Cogent held off Arabian Verse before jinking at the line and unseating Ross Coakley who emerged unscathed from the nasty incident.

Willie McCreery and Billy Lee were gain on the mark with Peticoatgovernment who won the handicap over the same distance. The father and son team of Albert and Keith Moriarty, from Killorglin, County Kerry, landed the opening division of the 9f handicap with Prince Jock, while Charles O’Brien and Declan McDonogh took the second leg with Fairy Flute.

Sheila Lavery and Gary Carroll won the concluding 8f maiden with the grey Crafted Jewel who had little difficulty in winning at odds of 4/5 favourite.

Elliott On Top Once Again At Downpatrick

Gordon Elliott was responsible for the first and last race winners at Downpatrick on Sunday. The venue’s leading trainer struck with the Luke Dempsey-ridden 2/1 favourite Lake Malawi in the 2m2f maiden hurdle and followed up when Nina Carberry got 6/4 favourite Blue Empyrean home the narrow winner of the bumper from main market rival Sweet Shirleen.

Colin McBratney, who trains in Crossgar, County Down, combined with Sean Flanagan to win the 2m5f handicap chase with Drumhart who could be Galway festival-bound. Enda Bolger supplied Mark Walsh with his latest winner when Floral Fantasy ran out a good winner on her handicap debut in the mares’ hurdle.

Coolaney, County Sligo trainer Mark McNiff captured the other handicap hurdle on the card as Mr Mulliner saw off the Elliott-trained Overtures under Derek Fox. Drumree, County Meath-trainer Keith Clarke and Barry Cash won the beginners’ chase with 20/1 outsider Western Goose, while Nenagh, County Tipperary trainer Jimmy Finn and Kevin Sexton enjoyed success in the 2m2f handicap chase with 10/1 shot Ballyfinboy.


Annual Point-To-Point Award Winners Announced

The 2015/2016 point-to-point award winners were announced at the annual awards night at Knightsbrook Hotel it Trim on Saturday night. Jamie Codd was crowned the Irish Field Champion Rider, while Chris O’Donovan picked up the award for the leading novice rider.

The ladies champion ended in a three-way tie with honours shared between Sheila Ahern, Liz Lalor and Aileen O’Sullivan. Mark O’Hare, Ciaran Fennessy, Jamie Codd and Derek O’Connor won the regional riders’ awards.

The champion handler was Colin Bowe. On The Fringe was revealed as the champion hunter chaser while the champion pointer was Anseanachai Cliste.

Prize-Money Boost At Next Month’s Galway Festival

A prize-money increase of €83,000 has been announced for next month’s Galway festival bringing the total on offer at the seven-day extravaganza to €1,884,000. The Guinness Galway Hurdle remains Ireland’s richest National Hunt race with a total value of €300,000 while Galway Plate continues to be worth €220,000. Feature races on the remaining five days are now worth a minimum of €80,000.

Horse Racing Ireland Set To Introduce In-Running Data At Every Racecourse

A GPS and radio survey of all 26 racecourses is set to take place in the coming months ahead of the introduction of in-running data in Ireland next year.

Every horse would be tracked and timed under the initiative and the data compiled by SIS would be of benefit to owners, trainer and punters alike according to Darren Lawlor, HRI’s commercial and broadcast manager.

“We are in the early stages, still doing surveys and engaging with people,” he said. “As part of the new media rights deal, we are committed to looking at in-running data with SIS”.

Seven Horse Racing Ireland Student Interns Appointed

Horse Racing Ireland has appointed seven interns for the summer season of 2016. Four of the student interns will work in the HRI-owned racecourses at Fairyhouse, Leopardstown, Navan and Tipperary and three will be based in the HRI head office at Ballymany, Kildare, with two in the Marketing Department and one in Tote Ireland.

The interns started their twelve-week work placements last week. Interns at the four HRI racecourses will be required to assist in many areas of racecourse operations such as marketing, sales, social media, website maintenance and race day operations.

Upcoming Fixtures

Leopardstown – Thursday, 16th June (first race 5.55). Limerick – Friday, 17th June (first race 5.30). Down Royal – Friday, 17th June (first race 5.45). Down Royal – Saturday, 18th June (first race 2.15). Gowran Park – Saturday, 18th June (first race 1.30). Gowran Park – Sunday, 19th June (first race 2.15).