Two mile maiden success for O’Keeffe

Velvet Elvis wins for Darragh O'Keeffe and Tom Gibney at Thurles on Monday. (Photo: Caroline Norris/Racing Post)

Doneraile’s Darragh O’Keeffe continued his good form and shared another winner with Trim, County Meath trainer Tom Gibney as the WTF Partnership-owned Alko Rouge won the two-mile maiden hurdle at Navan on Sunday.

A strong 6/4 favourite, the seven-year-old beat the Gordon Elliott-trained Coqolino by three and three-parts of a length and connections see the winner as one that will really make his mark over fences.

While Gordon Elliott dominated on the day with four winners at Navan on Sunday, it was Denis Hogan’s Young Dev that shared the headlines, thanks to the remarkable efforts of his jockey Hugh Morgan. The County Kilkenny conditional rider all but stole the show however, as he recorded a most memorable victory in the handicap chase on the seven-year-old.

Morgan’s right stirrup broke after the first fence and he was left without irons for 16 more fences and the best part of three miles. Not only did Morgan manage to remain on board, he brought the 17/2 shot with a perfectly timed challenge to beat the Brian McMahon-trained Se Mo Laoch by three-parts of a length.

He commented, “I didn’t really think about pulling up because I felt comfortable and he’s a safe old jumper. It was great, something new anyway. It was my first ride for Denis, so it was very important to get the win.”

Shane Crosse, Cahir narrowly got the better of Gavin Ryan to win the six-furlong handicap on 11/1 chance Ahundrednotout at Dundalk on Wednesday. A neck separated the pair at the line as the Leanne Breen-trained seven-year-old overcame a wide draw to pip the Natalia Lupini-trained 11/4 favourite Anabelle Rock.

Darragh O’Keeffe recently gave Tom Gibney his second training success in the space of seven days when Velvet Elvis took the rated novice hurdle at Thurles last Monday week. The 8/1 shot won with plenty in hand, scoring by three and a half-lengths from the Conor O’Dwyer-trained Capilano Bridge.

At the same meet, John Joe Walsh and Ambrose McCurtin combined to win the two-mile seven-furlong handicap hurdle with the Gerald Gormley-owned Knock Na Rea. The 15/2 chance won by a length and three-parts from the Brian O’Keeffe-trained The Grey Guy with Tom Nagle’s Four Horsemen in third place.

Brother and sister Paul and Jody Townend helped Willie Mullins to two winners as the champion. The champion trainer won the opening beginners’ chase and the concluding bumper with horses ridden by the Townend siblings.

The champion jockey was successful on the 11/4 shot Harrie which made much of the running to win the first of the day by an easy eight and a half lengths and his youngest sister completed the trainer’s double with a five-length success on the Douglas Taylor-owned Cool Jet in the final race at odds of 7/2.

Upcoming Fixtures

Thurles – Thursday, February 25 (first race 2.20pm); Gowran Park – Friday, February 26 (first race 2pm); Dundalk – Friday, February 26 (first race 4.30pm); Fairyhouse – Saturday, February 27 (first race 1.45pm); Naas – Sunday, February 28 (first race 2.30pm).