WEEK 48: MONDAY, 23 NOV. – SUNDAY, 29 NOVEMBER
Another 11 winners combined for Avondhu area locals based in the UK. Martin Lane took the honours last week with four winners, followed by two winners apiece from Jonjo O’Neill and Liam Keniry and a winner each for Richie McLernon, Brian Harding and David O’Meara. Our combined 2015 winners total now stands at 449.
LANE HITS 50, WHILE MEDICEAN HITS 500
Kilworth native and flat jockey, Martin Lane, brought up his half-century of domestic winners in no uncertain fashion, with four successes last week, the highlight of which came aboard the Jeremy Gask trained, Medicean Man (10/1), who went on to take the 12 runner Tote H’cap (C2), over 5f, at Chelmsford on November 23rd last.
Dropped back into handicap company for the first time since February this year, this 9-year-old gelded son of Medicean was also having his first spin around this track, with Lane hoping for an end-to-end gallop. This gallop seemed assured from the outset, as the trailblazer, Come On Dave, set out to make all, as Lane and Medicean Man dropped out in rear up the inside of runners.
Taken on and passed for the lead by Secret Missile at the three pole, Come On Dave found himself back in front rounding the home turn, as this field congregated up the centre of the track on straightening up for home. With a line of horses queueing up to challenge on the front end, Medicean Man found a huge gap up the inside and stoked up by Lane, he was sighted reeling in the leaders passing the one marker.
Getting on top with well over half a furlong to go, this Stuart and Kate Dobb owned gelding, fairly flew home to stamp his authority on this race right where it mattered most. Winning readily in the end, Medicean Man had too much class for his rivals here, putting one length between himself and the second, Brother Tiger. It was a further half a length back to Dynamo Walt, in third.
Winning off a mark of 102 here, which ensured he carried top-weight, Medicean Man is a credit to all concerned and with €29,000 up for grabs here, he has now broken through the €500,000 prize money barrier. Winning his 12th race, on this, his 64th start, he will now possibly return to Dubai this winter, where he has been successful three times in the past, the last win coming with Lane aboard. Breaking the track record here and showing how effective he still can be off a solid gallop, Medicean Man hasn’t been rated below 101 since July 2011 and must be a dream horse to own and train.
Jeremy Gask, winning trainer, said, “I would think that Medicean Man will go to Dubai after that. He’s won out there in the past and doesn’t winter very well here. He was pretty hairy today.”
Lane will again be riding in Dubai this winter and will go out to warmer climbs after Christmas. Martin Lane, speaking to The Avondhu, said, “He was the class horse in this field and only just missed out on a Group 1 win this summer, showing clearly his ability isn’t fading. He’s not the most consistent type and usually does best in the sunshine. He turned up today and thankfully did it all in a very straightforward manner.”
Lane went on to ride a further three winners and they were in date order: Show Me Again (7/1), who was the first leg of a Monday double for Lane at Chelmsford, when taking the 7 runner Tote Nursery H’cap (C4), over 8f, on November 23rd for trainer David Dennis. Lane kept his love for Chelmsford alive with another winner, aboard the Ralph Beckett trained Crowning Glory (11/1), who scored her first win in the 10 runner Tote Maiden Fillies’ Stakes (C4), over 7f, on November 26th; and finally, Lane finished off the week nicely with a Wolverhampton winner, aboard the Charlie Appleby trained, Sparring (2/1), who took the 8 runner Coral H’cap (C3), over 12f on November 28th last.
BACK ON SONG AND OPTIONS APLENTY
Liscarroll native and jump jockey, Richie McLernon, teamed up with fellow Avondhu and Castletownroche native, Jonjo O’Neill, aboard I’dliketheoption (10/1), when taking the 6 runner Betdaq H’cap Hurdle (C3), over 16.5f, at Doncaster on November 28th last. Coming here off the back of a disappointing run on handicap debut last time out, at Ascot, this four-year-old gelded son of Presenting was looking to make amends, up in grade, but back down almost three furlongs in trip.
With tongue tie retained, I’dliketheoption was settled in rear off a steady early pace set by race favourite, Zulu Oscar, who seemed committed to controlling this race from the front. Jumping well and always taking the shortest route around, I’dliketheoption travelled nicely into this race as the pace finally began to lift over four out. The runners entered the top of the home straight with one less runner, as Bobs Lady Tamure pulled up, as if amiss, after jumping the fourth last.
Still bounding along in front, Zulu Oscar began to wind it up, as Double W’s came there full of running upsides over three out. Meanwhile, McLernon and I’dliketheoption tagged onto the heels of the front pair running down to two out, where Zulu Oscar again began to assert in front. An awkward jump over the second last saw Double W’s all but scupper his chances and this race was left as a match-up between Zulu Oscar and I’dliketheoption.
Coming to challenge under a strong ride approaching the last, I’dliketheoption got to within a neck of Zulu Oscar, only for the latter to come crashing down over the last. Left with a clear and unassailable lead, this JP McManus owned gelding was eased down for a 12 length win from Double W’s, back in second. It’s always good to have luck on your side and it would have been a close run thing if the favourite stood up. He definitely didn’t deserve to go out like that, but all was well, as Zulu Oscar rose to feet unscathed.
Recording his third win from just six starts, I’dliketheoption benefited from a drop back in trip and should go on from this. He has plenty of time on his side and will make a fine chaser down the line. McLernon was riding his 20th winner of the season.
O’Neill went onto record another winner with the Richard Johnson ridden, Spookydooky (9/1), who scored on handicap chase debut, when taking the 12 runner Bet365 Novices’ H’cap Chase (C3), over 22.5f, at Newbury on November 26th last. Having only his second chase start under rules, this former Kilworth point-to-point winner, just got the better of a tight finish winning by a head, from the Paul Nicholls trained, Warrior’s Tale.
O’Neill was recording his 55th winner of the season, with Johnson riding 19 of those winners from 60 rides.
KENIRY’S GOT A REAL BUDDY IN SHEILA
Killeagh native and flat jockey, Liam Keniry, registered another two winners in Week 48, this taking his 2015 winning total on to the 54 winner mark.
His most notable win came aboard the Stan Moore trained, Sheila’s Buddy (8/1), who went on to take the 10 runner Coral H’cap (C5), over 9.5f, at Wolverhampton on November 27th last. Back on a favoured surface and dropped significantly in class, this six-year-old gelded son of Reel Buddy, was bidding to get back to winning ways, after last tasting success off the same mark of 75, back in July 2014.
Drawn widest of all in 10, Sheila’s Buddy, was well away and dropped in rear early, as a contested lead developed between Mr Frankie and Comanche Chieftain. With the pace relentless as the front pair strung out the field after some three furlongs, Keniry took closer order in 7th, always travelling well within himself, some seven lengths off the leaders.
With target stamped on the front pairs backs, it was Mr Frankie who first cracked, as Comanche Chieftain took the lead outright, well over half a mile from home. Comanche Chieftain had no sooner taken the lead when the field closed right up, with race favourite, Monolito, catching the eye, cruising around runners entering the home turn. With Comanche Chieftain taken out by Monolito at the top of the home straight, it was Keniry and Sheila’s Buddy who now filled the eye.
Brought widest to challenge well over one furlong out, Sheila’s Buddy came alongside Monolito just outside the one pole and ridden out, he duly put daylight between himself and the closers, going on to win in the end by one and three-quarter lengths from Karnage back in second. It was a further three and three-quarter lengths back to Dolphin Village in third.
Recording his sixth win in total, with Keniry aboard on five of those occasions, this Ray Styles owned gelding has dropped back to a mark of 75, this, just inside the class 5 company cut off point. His record in class 5 races reads 5/14 and he is always worth noting dropped to this grade on a synthetic surface. If anything, he was well over-priced on this stat alone, being 1/37 in class 4 races or higher.
Keniry’s second winner also came at Wolverhampton on Saturday, November 28th, aboard the Tom Dascombe trained, Mr Christopher (3/1), who recorded his first win, on this, his 9th start, by taking the 12 runner Ladbrokes H’cap (C6), over 7f.
BIG MAC N CHEESE CHURNS OUT EASY WIN
Castletownroche native and jump jockey, Brian Harding, recorded his 20th winner of the season, aboard the Rose Dobbin trained, Mac N Cheese (15/2), who scored in the 11 runner Boxing Day Tickets H’cap Hurdle (C4), over 19.5f, at Wetherby on November 25th last. Coming here off some disappointing runs, this, five-year-old gelded son of Milan had seen an opening handicap mark of 95 drop to 89 and with prevailing ground conditions testing, it was hoped that this would bring about some improvement.
With the keen going Diamond D’Amour making this a real test for conditions, Harding again bided his time in mid-division and didn’t make any significant headway until closing in on the leaders going down over the fifth flight of hurdles. Travelling supremely easily and looking to revel in conditions, Mac N Cheese moved effortlessly into second place just off Diamond D’Amour going to three out.
Coming alongside the leader and produced with perfection by Harding, Mac N Cheese strolled into the lead approaching the last with Diamond D’Amour now paying for his early reluctance to settle. Driven out, this Richard and Katherine Gilbert owned gelded, had all the answers for Harding, going on to win by 8 lengths in the end from Diamond D’Amour back in second. It was a massive 29 lengths back to Peterpanopirateman in third.
A first win for this nice looking son of Milan, whose full-brother, Milborough, won last year’s Eider Chase and it’s plain to see that he is a long-term project for connections. He will no doubt struggle to be rated below 100 after this win and chasing looks his game in the coming seasons.
Richard Gilbert, winning co-owner, went on to say, “Mac N Cheese is one for the future and won’t run many more times this season. He seemed to love this heavy ground and his full-brother won last year’s Eider, so staying chases will be his game next year.”
HAZEL GIVES IN RUNNING BOYS THE BLUES
Fermoy native and trainer, David O’Meara, recorded his 121st winner of 2015, with the Josh Doyle (7) ridden Hazel Blue (3/1f), who won the 12 runner Coral H’cap (C6), over 9.5f, at Wolverhampton on November 28th last. Having only her second start for O’Meara and stepped up significantly in distance compared to her 6f run last time out, this, four-year-old Kodiac filly looked well at home on a polytrack surface, having won her only previous race, at Dundalk, back in July 2014.
Well away from a wide draw in ten, Hazel Blue was eventually tucked in towards the outside of runners, as the keen going Overrider, pulled his way to the front, under Oisin Murphy. With a solid looking pace on show, Overrider took no prisoners, as Doyle found himself with only one horse behind him on passing the halfway point. Always sighted travelling well, Hazel Blue was going to need luck in running and an out, as the leaders bombed towards the final bend. With Les Gar Gan edging left and doing Overrider no favours on hitting the front at the top of the home straight, Hazel Blue was switched around runners, to the outside, by Doyle.
Coming widest of all and with Quite Sparky now in front, Hazel Blue began to inhale this field along with fellow closer Elle Rebelle. With both horses bearing down on the line, it looked for all as if Elle Rebelle had timed her run to perfection, only for Doyle and Hazel Blue to nail her right on the line. With a whisker between the two and the course commentator calling Elle Rebelle the winner on first crossing, this outcome was left to the judge, who, after due care and pixel magnification, called Hazel Blue the winner by a nose. It was a further one and a half lengths back to Quite Sparky in third.
With the second horse trading at 1.01(1/100) in running, the fast pictures boys got their fingers burnt in what turned out to be a roller-coaster race of changing fortune. Recording her second win and possibly the lowest rated horse in O’Meara’s yard at 46, Hazel Blue has plenty of room to improve. She was the third Avondhu winner on the night at Wolverhampton, following on winners from Martin Lane and Liam Keniry earlier on the card.
UK flat/jumps 2015 = 445; Ireland = 1, France = 2, Canada = 1.