Conna trainer Seamus Spillane won the second division of the 2m7f handicap hurdle at Fairyhouse on Saturday, with Goulane Jessie.
Ridden by Simon Torrens for owner/breeder Mary O’Donnell, the seven-year-old was sent off at odds of 5/1 and won by a length and a half from Howaya Aoife which is trained by Gerry Keane.
At the same meet, Denis O’Regan landed his first success since returning from an ankle injury when partnering the Gordon Elliott-trained Fight For Love scored to a narrow success in the 2m handicap hurdle.
The 6/1 shot got up on the line in a thriller to win by a nose from the Shane Crawley-trained Reine Fee in the colours of the Gordon Elliott Racing Club. Paul Townend and Willie Mullins were winners again as Monkfish won the 2m7f maiden hurdle in fine style – the 1/2 favourite went clear from the second last hurdle to win by 11 lengths.
Meanwhile, Cork trainers won back-to-back races at Navan on Sunday. Kinsale’s Robert Tyner took the 2m4f handicap chase with the Mark Walsh-ridden Fairly Legal which bolted up at odds of 5/2, backed from 7/2.
The grey Mick The Jiver, trained by Eoghan O’Grady, won the 3m handicap chase in similar fashion under Phillip Enright.
The easy-to-back 14/1 chance travelled and jumped brilliantly throughout and never came off the bridle as he won by three and a quarter-lengths from Wonderoftheworld in the colours of the Jiver Syndicate.
Double Delight for County Cork at HRI Awards
Doneraile youngster Darragh O’Keeffe and Upton’s Wayne Lordan were among those honoured at the annual Horse Racing Awards last Tuesday evening.
Wayne Lordan was the winner of the Flat Achievement Award on the back of a terrific year that began with success on the Aidan O’Brien-trained Hermosa in the 1,000 Guineas at Newmarket and ended with a first success in the Breeders’ Cup on Iridessa in the Filly & Mare.
Lordan was adding to wins on Iridessa in the Pretty Polly Stakes at the Curragh and the Coolmore Fastnet Rock Matron Stakes at Leopardstown on Longines Irish Champions Weekend.
Darragh O’Keeffe is the winner of the Emerging Talent Award. Standing out amongst several hugely promising young National Hunt jockeys, Darragh landed his 60th success and rode out his claim when winning the Cork National on the Michael Hourigan-trained The Gatechecker at Cork at the beginning of last month. Darragh rode his first winner only 16 months previously.
The winners were announced at a ceremony which was attended by many of the industry’s leading figures. Guest of honour was Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed TD and those in attendance were welcomed by Chairman of HRI, Nicky Hartery.
Dundalk – Friday, December 20 (first race 5.15); Thurles – Saturday, December 21 (first race 12.10).