The remarkable Hurricane Fly won his 20th Grade 1 race when storming to a two-and-a-quarter length success over champion hurdler Jezki in the Stanjames.com Morgiana Hurdle at Punchestown on Sunday. The much-loved ten-year-old was winning the race for the third successive year and connections can be optimistic that he will remain competitive at the highest level for some time to come. The pair is likely to clash again at Leopardstown at Christmas. The Grade 2 Craddockstown Novice Chase went to the Noel Meade-trained Chancol who jumped a little to his left as he powered to a three-length success over the front-running Un Beau Roman. The Grade 2 Florida Pearl Novice Chase produced an equally impressive winner in the shape of Shanahan’s Turn who led on the run to the second last fence as he comfortably accounted for multiple winner Indevan under Jonathan Burke. Mikey Fogarty took the 2m handicap hurdle on the Liz Doyle-trained Pairofbrowneyes while the 2m6f handicap hurdle went to Lite Duties who won for trainer Charles Byrnes and Davy Russell. No More Heroes was the all-the-way winner of the 2m6f maiden hurdle while Bordini was another favourite to score for Willie and Patrick Mullins in the bumper.
Cork Double for Willie Mullins And Paul Townend
Willie Mullins and Paul Townend enjoyed two winners together at Clonmel on Thursday and the pair repeated the feat at Cork on Sunday. French import Sempre Medici was far from fluent as he made a winning start to his jumping career in the four-year-old maiden hurdle while Black Hercules, a leading bumper performer last season, was also successful on his jumping bow over the same distance. The trainer went one better and completed a treble when Rio Treasure added to her Listowel success under Aubrey McMahon in the bumper. Amateur rider Johnny O’Neill made much of the running on Rory O’Moore to win the 2m4f handicap hurdle. Owned by his sister Debbie and trained by his father Ronnie, the nine-year-old won in comfortable fashion from the gambled-on Roll It On. Alan Crowe and Christy Roche won the 2m handicap chase with easy winner Sitcom while the beginners chase went to the Phillip Enright-ridden Who Let De Dogsout, trained by Robert Tyner. Is Herself About last left in-front at the final hurdle to win the 2m handicap hurdle for David O’Brien and John Cullen.
Oliver Brady Remembered As Bertolini Comes Good Again
Oliver Brady was very much on everyone’s mind as Shabra’s Bertolini won the 2m novice handicap hurdle at Punchestown on Saturday. The five-year-old was the late County Monaghan trainer’s last winner and he became the first for Anthony McCann since he took over the licence in September. Jonathan Moore was the man in the saddle and he got the 14/1 chance home a cosy winner. Bryan Cooper helped himself to a double when winning on the impressive Valseur Lido in the 2m4f beginners’ chase for trainer Willie Mullins and the equally good Alpha Des Obeaux, trained by Mouse Morris, in the 2m4f maiden hurdle. Adrian Heskin also enjoyed two winners. He won the three-year-old maiden hurdle on the Kevin Prendergast-trained Crafty Codger and followed up in the Risk Of Thunder Chase over the banks course on the Enda Bolger-trained Love Rory. Mark Walsh and Aidan O’Brien won the 2m6f hurdle with Plinth and Robbie Power and in-form Colin Bowe joined forces to win the 2m6f handicap chase with Kashline. Wildebeest reverted from hurdles to take the bumper for Noel Meade and Nina Carberry.
Chris Hayes Lands Early Dundalk Double
Chris Hayes got off to a flying start at Dundalk on Friday night when winning the opening two races. He combined with Curragh trainer Patrick Prendergast to win the 5f maiden on Daisy Bell who prevailed by just a head from newcomer Knoxville Bullet and followed up on the Aidan Joyce-trained Times In Anatefka who won the 5f handicap by the same margin. 17-year-old apprentice Donagh O’Connor and trainer Johnny Levins were on the mark with Havelock Ellis who came with a late run to win the 10f handicap. Johnny Murtagh and Niall McCullagh landed the 12f handicap with Hardstone who saw off Jim Bolger’s Gold Focus to win by a length. John Egan and Pat Flynn won the 8f handicap with Almosthaditall while Michael Halford and Shane Foley were on the mark with Great Dancer in the maiden over the same distance.
Champagne Fever Impresses At Clonmel
The Paul Townend-ridden Champagne Fever confirmed his status as a star in the making when running out the impressive winner of the Grade 2 Clonmel Oil Chase on Thursday. An odds-on favourite, the seven-year-old won by six lengths from Alderwood as Sizing Europe put in a rare below par effort. The Willie Mullins-trained winner could now head to Kempton on St. Stephen’s Day for the King George VI Chase. Jennies Jewel got off the mark over fences in some style when taking the Grade 3 EBF T.A. Morris Memorial Mares Chase for trainer Jarlath Fahey and jockey Ian McCarthy. Another impressive winner was Pumbaa who easily won the handicap chase for Donal Commins and amateur rider Roger Quinlan. Conditional rider Shane Crimin was on board The Bold Beckey as she raced clear on the run-in to land the 2m4f handicap hurdle while the 3m handicap hurdle went to Clara McCloud, ridden for Gordon Elliott by Barry Geraghty. Willie Mullins also won the opening maiden hurdle with the Townend-ridden Killultagh Vic but he had to settle for second place with newcomer Pearl Diamond in the bumper. That race was won by the Paul Nolan-trained Kennady who was ridden by Mikey Doran.
Halford And Foley Dominate Again
Curragh trainer Michael Halford and his stable jockey Shane Foley were again the team to follow at Dundalk on Wednesday night as they shared three winners. The pair got off the mark in the two-year-old 7f maiden with Wychwood Warrior who easily outgunned odds-on favourite Game Set Dash. Over the same distance, Whaileyy overcame trouble in running to win the handicap and in a thrilling finish, Temasek Star completed the treble in the concluding 10f handicap. Trainer John McConnell saddled the much improved Minot Street to win the apprentice handicap under Tom Madden and another youngster on the mark was Colin Keane who rode Plus Ca Change to win the fillies maiden for Ger Lyons. Wayne Lordan rode his first winner since returning from Australia when taking the three-year-old 7f maiden on Sirikoi and Fran Berry was also among the winners as he scored on Pat Flynn’s Alfaayza in the 7f handicap.
Racing Mourns Loss Of Curragh Trainer Dessie Hughes
Dessie Hughes, a leading jockey and more recently one of the top trainers in Ireland, has died. He was 71. A remarkably popular figure, he will always be remembered for his partnership with the legendary Monksfield and his handling of the dual champion hurdle winner Hardy Eustace. Brian Kavanagh, chief executive of Horse Racing Ireland said, “It is very sad news and I would send my deepest sympathies to Eileen, Richard and Sandra. Dessie was an absolute gentleman and one of the most popular people in Irish racing. He was a great family man too – himself and Eileen were always at the races as a pair and he took great pride in his children, anyone could see that.
“Apart from his wonderful achievements as a trainer and a jockey, he made significant contributions to racing in other ways throughout his life. He was always very active on the council of the trainers’ association and was a member of the board at Leopardstown. This is a sad day for racing.”
Horse Racing Ireland Pays Tribute to the Late Joe Walsh
The Board of Horse Racing Ireland (HRI) has paid tribute to the late Joe Walsh, former TD, Minister for Agriculture and Chairman of Cork Racecourse. Expressing the thoughts of the Board, who met at Ballymany, HRI Chairman Joe Keeling said: “Joe Walsh was a true friend of Irish racing and deserves much credit for its modern-day success. He was a familiar face at racecourses throughout Ireland, and knew many trainers, jockeys and racecourse staff, often as close personal friends. He will be missed by everyone in this industry who had the honour to have known him and experience his characteristic mixture of good humour, knowledge and understanding of the sport.”
Lexus and Leopardstown celebrate ten years of the Lexus Chase
Lexus Ireland has announced that its hugely successful sponsorship of the feature race on Day Three of the Christmas Festival has been renewed for a further three years. The new sponsorship agreement with Leopardstown runs from 2014 to 2016 inclusive and celebrates the tenth anniversary of the Lexus Chase. A highlight of the four-day Leopardstown Christmas Festival, the Lexus Chase, a prestigious Grade 1 steeplechase, regularly attracts a large crowd and boasts an honour roll of champions including Beef or Salmon (2004, 2005), Denman (2007) and reigning champion Bobs Worth (2013).
Irishman Claims US Jumps Title
County Cork native Willie McCarthy, who rode successfully in point-to-points for trainers Eugene O’Sullivan, Donal Dargan and Ian Ferguson, has been crowned champion national hunt jockey in America. McCarthy has been based in America since 2009 and won the title with 23 winners, nine clear of joint runners-up Paddy Young and Irish Grand National winner Ross Geraghty.
Horse Racing Ireland Racecourses Upgrade Owner Services
Horse Racing Ireland (HRI) has announced the upgrading of owner services offered by each of the four HRI owned racecourses, Fairyhouse, Leopardstown, Navan and Tipperary. When passing through the designated AIR gates, each AIR card holder with a runner on the day will now receive an additional voucher along with a racecard and admission to the track. This voucher will entitle the owner to a complimentary light lunch option that will include hot food options or sandwiches, all of which will be available in the Owners and Trainers bar. The winning owners will be invited to enjoy a celebratory drink after the trophy presentation and will also receive a copy of the race DVD as a memento to enjoy from the day.
Horse Racing Ireland Launch Student Bursary Award at CAFRE Enniskillen Campus
Horse Racing Ireland (HRI) has launched a bursary which will be awarded to a student studying Equine Management at the College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprise (CAFRE) Enniskillen campus. The £1000 bursary, which will be linked to an assignment to produce a short video aimed at encouraging more young people to get involved in the racing industry, is open to second year students on the Honours Degree programme.
Wexford – Tuesday 18th November (First Race 12.45)
Fairyhouse – Wednesday 19th November (First Race 12.35)
Thurles – Thursday 20th November (First Race 12.25)
Dundalk – Friday 21st November (First Race 6.10)
Gowran Park – Saturday 22nd November (First Race 12.30)
Navan – Sunday 23rd November (First Race 12.25)