Veteran Prendergast Wins Big Leopardstown Pot
No stranger to Leopardstown success over a long and glittering career, 82-year-old Kevin Prendergast was the toast of the south Dublin venue on Sunday when his Katie T landed the €100,000 BoyleSports Hurdle. With Brian Hughes in the saddle, the six-year-old could not have been more impressive and has targets at both the Punchestown and Galway festivals. The Adrian Heskin-ridden Foxrock gave local owner Barry Connell a big race success when taking the €100,000 BoyleSports Handicap Chase for trainer Ted Walsh. In the owner’s familiar yellow and blue silks, Foxrock powered clear on the run-in for a five length victory. Davy Russell won both maiden hurdles on the card, winning the opener on Michael Griffin’s Golan Road and the 2m4f race on Fletcher, trained by Eddie Harty. Vautour got back to winning ways for Willie Mullins with a facile success in the €37,500 Grade 2 Leopardstown Killiney Novice Chase. Ruby Walsh came home a clear winner and he followed up when taking the 3m handicap hurdle on the Tony Martin-trained Mydor. Mullins got a second winner for himself when newcomer Balko Des Flos made all the running in the bumper under Patrick Mullins.
Noel Meade Doubles Up At Naas On Saturday
Trainer Noel Meade sent out two winners at Naas on Saturday where his Wounded Warrior was the big winner of the day. The six-year-old ran out an impressive victor of the €40,000 Grade 2 Woodlands Park 100 Club Novice Chase under Paul Carberry and is certainly one for the Cheltenham Festival. Meade and Carberry also took the 2m3f maiden hurdle with Russian Bill who picked up well on the run from the final flight to win in fine style. The Edward O’Grady-trained Kitten Rock completed a hat-trick of wins when landing the €30,000 Grade 3 Limestone Lad Hurdle under the season’s leading rider Mark Walsh. Walsh got a second winner when guiding the Martin Brassil-trained A Grey Matter to success in the 2m handicap hurdle. Mikey Fogarty and Curragh trainer Ken Condon paired up to win the 2m maiden hurdle with Social Riser who made all the running to beat favourite I’ll Be Your Clown. Back over fences, Kilmurry Kid took the 2m handicap chase for County Limerick trainer John Hayes and Jonathan Burke. Gordon Elliott got one over on Willie Mullins when Tombstone and David Mullins comfortablly outpointed Potters Point to win the bumper. Both horses carried the colours of Gigginstown House Stud.
Youngsters Dominate On Polytrack At Dundalk
Five young apprentices were among the winners at Dundalk on Friday night. It was a red letter occasion for 24-year-old Conor Hoban who rode out his claim with success on the Michael Halford-trained Arif in the 8f maiden. Dylan Hogan (20) brought Well Insured from last to first to win the 12f handicap for Straffan-trainer Daniel Barry. Another to come from off the pace to score was Lee Smyth’s Norville who scored in the 8f handicap under Philip Donovan who turned 20 on Sunday. Donagh O’Connor is also 20 and he won the opening 6f handicap on Your Pal Tal, trained by Johnny Levins. Gearoid Brouder (19) and Michael O’Callaghan combined to win the 7f handicap with Fastidious. Gary Carroll was champion apprentice in 2009 and shared that title with Ben Curtis and Joseph O’Brien the following season and he won the 6f three-year-old handicap on the Johnny Feane-trained Showcard. Colin Keane is the reigning champion apprentice and he teamed up with Ger Lyons to win the 10f maiden on Thirteen Diamonds.
Elliott Strikes In Thurles Grade 2
The remarkable good run of form by the Gordon Elliott’s yard continued at Thurles on Thursday where the Gigginstown House Stud-owned Don Cossack landed the €40,000 Grade2 Ladbrokes Ireland Kinloch Brae Chase. Ridden by Bryan Cooper, the eight-year-old might just have been getting the better of Champagne Fever when that one came down at the final fence. Don Cossack was winning his fourth race in-a-row and now heads to Cheltenham where he will have a number of options. Trainer Willie Mullins enjoyed better fortune in the €52,500 Grade 2 Leading Light Coolmore NH Sires EBF Mares Novice Chase which went to Vroum Vroum Mag and Ruby Walsh. She remains unbeaten in three starts for the yard and was completing a double for her trainer and jockey who earlier took the novice hurdle with Measureofmydreams. Prince De Beauchene was a third winner for the champion trainer when he won the hunters’ chase in the hands of Patrick Mullins. Jonathan Burke and Adrian Maguire combined to win the 2m maiden hurdle with Knockraha Pylon while Golden Plan took the 2m4f handicap hurdle for trainer Mark Fahey and Shane Butler. Kilcrea, wearing blinkers for the first time, ran out a narrow winner of the handicap chase for Jimmy Mangan and Davy Russell.
Irish Racing Shows Growth In Key Areas In 2014
2014 was another successful year for the Irish bloodstock industry, with sales of €147.4 million representing double-digit growth for the fourth year in a row, according to Horse Racing Ireland’s (HRI) annual statistics. Tote Ireland posted increases for the fourth consecutive year while racecourse attendances grew by 4% for the second year in succession.
Commercial sponsorship, a key marker of business confidence in racing, grew by over 6% and on-course betting recovered marginally, delivering the first improvement since 2007. While these were the highlights of the year-end industry figures, significant challenges remain, as seen in the decline in horses-in-training, race entries and ownership, although recruitment of new owners improved slightly.
HRI Chief Executive Brian Kavanagh said: “This is the fourth consecutive year of dynamic growth in bloodstock sales at public auction in Ireland which is a testament to the enduring appeal of Irish thoroughbreds, based on their racing success at home and overseas. We are now seeing the full effect of the dramatic declines in foal crops in 2009 and 2010 and ownership is an area that needs continued focus. While the overall number of owners has fallen again, the increase in new owners is welcome and our field sizes bear favourable comparison with other racing jurisdictions.”
Attendance growth of 4% was recorded for both total attendances and average attendance per meeting for the second consecutive year. The racing festivals were particularly strong, with the inaugural Irish Champions Weekend significantly increasing numbers at Leopardstown and the Curragh.
Brian Kavanagh commented: “We are confident that racing has retained its popularity with the sporting public and is in a strong position to benefit from the improving economy. Irish Champions Weekend showed that innovation and a team approach can deliver long-lasting benefits for everyone in the sport.’’
Weights Set To Rise In Thursday’s Goffs Thyestes Handicap Chase
With dual winner On His Own withdrawn from the €100,000 Goffs Thyestes Handicap Chase the weights for Thursday’s Gowran Park feature look set to rise. Sunday’s big Leopardstown winner Foxrock is currently the highest rated horse in the race but he will not turn out again so quickly and the Willie Mullins-trained Djakadam looks set to be left to carry top-weight. The champion trainer has whittled his entry down to just two and along with Djakadam, he also has Dogora. Mullins has won the Goffs Thyestes on five occasions in total and prior to the victories of On His Own, he scored with Micko’s Dream in 2000, Hedgehunter (2004) and Homer Wells (2007).
Eddie Scally, General Manager, Gowran Park Racecourse said: “Looking at the entries, the 2015 Goffs Thyestes Chase could be one of the most exciting to date with the cream of racing involved and the potential for history to be made if our local trainer Willie Mullins notches up a sixth win in the race. Complementing the Goffs Thyestes Chase will be the John Mulhern Galmoy Hurdle, a €40,000 race which has been won in recent years by Zaidpour and Gold Cup hero War of Attrition.
Flogas Ireland Announced as Sponsor of the Grade 1 Flogas Novice Chase
Flogas Ireland Limited announced their sponsorship of the Grade 1 Flogas Novice Chase, previously known as the Dr P.J. Moriarity Novice Chase, which will be run on Sunday 8th February 2015 on Hennessy Gold Cup Day. The Flogas Novice Chase is run over a distance of about 2 miles and 5 furlongs and is one of four Grade 1 races on Hennessy Gold Cup Day. Previous winners of the race include Florida Pearl, Boston’s Angel and Cooldine who have all gone on to victory in the RSA Chase at Cheltenham. The race was won last year by Ballycasey and it is a measure of its quality that the second and third places horses , Don Cossack and Carlingford Lough went on to win Grade 1 races afterwards at Leopardstown.
Commenting on the announcement, Pat Keogh CEO of Leopardstown, said: “We are delighted to welcome Flogas to Leopardstown as a Grade 1 sponsor on Hennessy Gold Cup Day. We have an excellent group of sponsors at Leopardstown and Flogas are a great addition. We are proud to host the 25th Running of the Hennessy Gold cup, which features four Grade 1’s in one day.”
Fairyhouse – Wednesday 21st January (First Race 1.10)
Gowran Park – Thursday 22nd January (First Race 1.15)
Dundalk – Friday 23rd January (First Race 6.05)
Navan – Saturday 24th January (First Race 12.45)
Leopardstown – Sunday 25th January (First Race 1.10)