BILLY Lee’s hopes of lifting a first Irish Flat Jockeys’ Championship title likely rests on the outcome of an appeal against a six-day whip suspension picked up at Dundalk last month, which will be heard today (Wednesday).
Unless the Limerick man’s ban is lifted, he looks set to be ruled out of the final two days of the season at Dundalk this Friday and the season closer at Naas next Sunday.
The Ballingarry rider and Meath’s Colin Keane are level on 89 wins apiece as the Championship heads into the home straight. It was just on Monday in Galway that Keane drew level with Lee.
Title-holder Keane is the current favourite to land the championship, while Lee, who was a massive 50/1 in the betting at the outset of the season, is still very much in the reckoning. One of Lee’s recent wins came at the Curragh, courtesy of the David Geary trained Nightcliff, the only horse in training for the Clarina-based handler.
The flat action resumes today in Nass.
Meanwhile, Rathkeale father and son trainer/jockey duo Eric and Conor McNamara were winners at Galway over the weekend where an 11/1 chance Meehall took the opening division of the three-mile handicap hurdle in fine style.
One of the biggest priced-winners in a while was 66/1 shot Mi Lucky Cailin, which claimed Sunday’s concluding race at Galway. Áine O’Connor of Askeaton guided home the outsider, which was trained by Willie McLernon of Meath.
Inside the last week, there was a notable win too for Patrickswell’s Laura Hourigan, who trained her second career winner in Notforalongtime, which won a competitive handicap at Dundalk. The five-year-old was running in Hourigan’s own colours.
At the Curragh, Cheltenham Festival-winning jockey Mark McDonagh of Cratloe was in the saddle as the Joseph O’Brien-trained Global Equity won the Student Derby. McDonagh is a final year student of Accountancy and Finance at University of Limerick.