Impressive win for Darragh O’Keeffe at Downpatrick

Wayne Lordan and Highly Approved scored in good style for County Meath trainer Ado McGuinness at Leopardstown on Thursday. (Photo: Patrick McCann/Racing Post)


Doneraile jockey Darragh O’Keeffe was first into the winners’ enclosure at Downpatrick on Sunday when he landed the opening mares’ maiden hurdle on 4/6 favourite Rhythm Divine. Trained by Tom Gibney, six-year-old won by all of eight and a half lengths.

Although he was to suffer reversals on favourites So Wonderful and Amhran Na Bhfiann later in the day, Wayne Lordan made a winning start to the week when Giorgio Vasari took the 6f winners’ race at Naas on Monday. He got the Aidan O’Brien-trained 4/1 shot home by two lengths ahead of Joseph O’Brien’s Charmed having made virtually all the running.

Lordan was on the mark again at Leopardstown on Thursday on the Ado McGuinness-trained Highly Approved which bounced back to form with a 25/1 success in the 7f handicap. The five-year-old scored by a length and a quarter from Myrcella. The Upton jockey was also successful at the Curragh on Sunday where Aidan O’Brien’s Classic and Group 1-placed So Wonderful finally shed her maiden tag, six days after being beaten at Naas.  

Denis O’Regan gave the Brian McMahon-trained Warreedy a patient ride to win the 3m1f handicap chase at Roscommon on Bank Holiday Monday. He brought the 11-year-old, a 14/1 shot, from well off the pace to beat the Eamonn Sheehy-trained Rudy Catrail by six lengths. 

Paul Townend won the first two races at Wexford on Wednesday. He gave Willie Mullins a winner with his only runner at the meeting when Hybery easily landed the opening 2m maiden hurdle. The strong 13/8 favourite came home a 10-length winner from the John Kiely-trained Master Artist. Townend completed a double on the Peter Fahey-trained Twilight Girl in the 2m4f handicap hurdle, the 7/1 chance scoring a three-length victory over the Shark Hanlon-trained Comporta, despite a blunder at the final flight. 

Local trainer Susan Finn took the opening division of the 7f handicap at Cork on Saturday where the Mairead O’Carroll-owned Youceeyouceecee scored a last-gasp success under her brother, Billy Lee. The 17/2 chance came from well off the pace and collared the leaders close to the line for a half a length success over the Eoin McCarthy-trained Fascinating Spirit.

The Paul Townend-ridden Sayo was back in the winners’ enclosure after a comfortable success for trainer Willie Mullins in the Joe Cooney Memorial Hurdle at Kilbeggan on Saturday evening. The 10/11 favourite never gave his supporters a moments’ worry as he scored a seven and a half-length victory from 80/1 outsider Dolciano Dici. It was a third success for the grey and his first since October of last year.

Eoin Walsh made it six winners for the season when winning the 2m4f handicap chase on the Noel Meade-trained The Caddy Rose. It was a fourth win for the six-year-old which just holding off the late surge of the Seamus Neville-trained Ask Nile by a neck.

Trainer Alice Curran and jockey Ian Power made welcome returns to the winners’ enclosure at Roscommon on Bank Holiday Monday. The pair landed the 2m4f maiden hurdle with 33/1 chance Jacksons Gold, a second winner on the racecourse for the Dungarvan trainer six and a half years after Lisrose gave her a first winner at Thurles.

Power, who retired from race riding in 2012 but renewed his licence this year, was enjoying his first winner since the Vincent Halley-trained Misty Weather prevailed at Wexford in June 2012.

The winning rider said: “I’d be always helping the Currans out doing bits and bobs. I’ve got the licence back now and that’s my first winner for a good while. We knew he’d run well. We thought he might have just needed the run a bit but he’s a nice horse.”

Western Step landed the mares’ beginners’ chase for trainer Declan Queally. Sean O’Keeffe was in the saddle as the 1/3 favourite romped to a 13-length success over the Jessica Harrington-trained Rapid Response, the seven-year-old making all the running for her first success of the year and her fourth in all.

Queally was a winner again at Kilbeggan on Saturday where the Thomas Coughlan-owned Mick Charlie took the 2m4f handicap hurdle. Sean O’Keeffe again did the steering as the 17/2 chance raced to a seven and a half-length success over Noel Meade’s 11/8 favourite, In Your Shadow.

Upcoming Fixtures

Ballinrobe: Monday, August 10 (first race 4.40pm);
Gowran Park: Wednesday, August 12 (first race 1pm);
Leopardstown: Thursday, August 13 (first race 1pm);
Tramore: Thursday, August 13 (first race 1pm);
Tramore: Friday, August 14 (first race 4.45pm);
Curragh: Friday, August 14 (first race 1pm);
Dundalk: Saturday, August 15 (first race 12.55pm);
Tramore: Saturday, August 15 (first race 4.40pm);
Cork: Sunday, August 16 (first race 2.10pm);
Tramore: Sunday, August 16 (first race 2.30pm).