Thursday, January 28, 2010

Ruby Unhinges odds on favourite

Multiple former flat winner, Un Hinged (pictured above) with Ruby Walsh aboard claimed the scalp of the progressive Prince Of Fire yesterday at Navan in the 2 mile Navan Golf Club Open For Membership Hurdle. The John Coleman owned- and - trained Gelding registered his second win over hurdles and was snipped in the betting from an opening show of 6-1 into a 5-1 SP.

Ruby Walsh was a significant booking on the day, he kept Un Hinged racing prominentely and tracked the leaders in mid division throughout, he improved into 2nd before the last hurdle and stayed on well to lead inside the final furlong, beating the Charlie Swan trained Prince Of Fire by 1/2 a length and Dessie Hughes Magnanimity a further 1/2 length behind. Prince Of Fire did not appear to appreciate the bottomless ground, he started the 8-11 favourite but found little on the run in. and raced one-paced througout the final furlong. He will be more useful on better ground and this was a slightly dissapointing first race for new owner JP McManus.

Trainer Coleman had targeted the Pierce Hurdle for the 10-year-old, he finished 13th out of 30 in that race and Coleman noted that "He pulled out fresh after that and with the small field here, we decided to let him take his chance. Ruby said he hated the ground."

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Prince of Fire to light up Navan

Just five of the sixteen originally declared runners will line up for todays 2m Navan Golf Club Open For Membership Hurdle. A new acquisition for JP McManus, the Charlie Swan trained Prince of Fire should improve again from his last run at Leopardstown where he beat Grey Soldier, who was second to Rite of Passage on Sunday last.

Prince of Fire (above) beat Grey Soldier at Leopardstown on December 27th by 4 lengths last time out, he was the subject of a sustained gamble that day. He made all the running and forged 2 lengths clear at the last hurdle and will take some stopping today on heavy ground. His main rival today will be the Dessie Hughes trained Magnanimity. Davy Russell rides Magnanimity and he will likely keep him within touching distance of Prince of Fire, but the McManus charge, under the stewardship of David Casey is likely to prove too strong under these conditions.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Solwhit now 3-1 Favourite for Champion Hurdle

The betting for yesterdays Irish Champion Hurdle rightly suggested a close affair between Solwhit and Celestial Halo. The former, Charles Byrnes 6 year old gelding, beaten only once this term in the Fighting Fifth hurdle was 9/10 favourite for the 2 mile, €110,000 Grade 1 event and the English raider, Celestial Halo who was second in last years champion hurdle and won the Triumph hurdle the season before was a general 2-1 chance.

In the end, Davy Russells mount, Solwhit beat Celestial Halo by a convincing 9 lengths and thus put to the sword one of Britains top hurdlers from the most powerful yard in that country. Russell, not normally the showman, even managed to peep through his legs at daylight behind (pictured above) as he passed the winning post almost 5 lengths ahead of the grey Donnas Palm
Solwhit was ridden enterprisingly throughout by Russell, running handily in the slipstream of Donnas Palm and Sublimity. Celestial Halo led for most of the race before coming under pressure two furlongs out, Solwhit responded gamely to a shake of the reigns before the last hurdle where he out-jumped Donnas Palm and strode to his fifth Grade 1 victory.
Davy Russell made other potential Champion Hurdle contenders take note by, quipping "The hill at Cheltenham is tailor-made for him"

Friday, January 22, 2010

Fantastic for Flanagan

A crowd of over 6,000 watched 21 year old Sean Flanagan complete a 32-1 double at Gowran yesterday, parterning Carnbridge (9-2) and Whinstone Boy (12-1 into 5-1) to victory on what is the busiest days racing of the year at the Kilkenny venue. 2003 Aintree Grand National winning Trainer, Jimmy Mangan trained Whinstone Boy to success in the Thyestes chase and emulated an earlier victory in the same race in 1981. Mangan was overjoyed following the race, it could have all been so different as he had initially planned to run the Supreme Leader Gelding in the Galmoy Hurdle.

Jockey Flanagan (pictured above) held off the late charge of Hangover to win the €58,600 first prize by 1 1/2 lengths. Racing off a featherweight 9-11, Whinstone Boy made virtually all the running and led at the last. Michael O' Learys Hangover and Siegemaster finished second and third respectively.

Yesterday was also successful day for the locally trained War of Attrition who beat the very useful Powerstation and Oscar Dan Dan in the 3 mile Galmoy hurdle, Kilkenny-based Mouse Morris, trainer of the 11 year old 2006 Gold Cup winner stated that he was entered in the World Hurdle (33-1) and will be retired following the Aintree Grand National, where he currently quoted at 20-1.

As expected, Secant Star made amends for his last-hurdle exit last time out by scoring a bloodless victory in the opening maiden hurdle. The 2-5 favourite coasted to victory by 7 lengths under Ruby Walsh, the Triumph Hurdle will now be seriously considered by trainer Willie Mullins who stated "we will be stepping him up to a Graded race somewhere next month".

8-13 favourite Paul Kristian, pictured below also won easily in the boggy conditions for father-son combination of Paddy and Willie Mullins in the closing bumper

Tony McCoy (below) was luckless as he was unseated aboard Arbor Supreme in the big race.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Thyestes day preview

It is a sign of the times when the premier days racing of the year in Gowran offers €10 entry to OAP's/Students and for the first time, the Unemployed. Recessionary times are not being kind to Horse Racing Ireland, prize money is now at €47m which is 2002 levels, this represents a 12% pay cut of sorts to the pot, there has been an 11% decrease in attendances at race meets and the satchels of on-course bookmakers are lighter to the tune of 27%. Even the Tote, refuge of many casual and smaller stake punters is down 13%. The most dramatic figure however is also the largest, this is a 28% reduction in the number of new owners.

It is doubtful however that the attendance will be affected in Gowran today, on Thyestes day the figures are always strong and todays card is as strong as there has been for many years. It is currently raining in Gowran and the ground is heavy and tacky, not ideal for racing. The race preview below however will attempt to flesh out the action in each of the seven races scheduled for the Kilkenny track.

1.05 : Ballyhane Stud 4yo Maiden Hurdle (€11,500)
Secant Star, a French bred four year old will be a warm order to take the opener, he was a certain winner last time out in Leopardstown, where he was a last hurdle faller, well in control with the race wrapped up, a clear round today will see Ruby Walsh and Willie Mullins and he wil have improved for the run. The Micheal O' Leary owned Point of Light is an interesting recruit but has never ran on Heavy ground before and may be vulnerable today.

1.35 : Alo Duffin Memorial Galmoy Hurdle (€46,500)
Just four runners take the field for this Grade 2 hurdle over 3 miles. Former Gold Cup hero War of Attrition is 11 now and it is interesting to see him stick to hurdles. He is a quoted price of 6-1 for the race however and it looks a straight match between Oscar Dan Dan and Powerstation. Tony McCoy rides Powerstation today in place of the injured Andrew McNamara, he had 7lbs in hand that day and today, while he has 2lbs he should stll be capable of beating Oscar Dan Dan. The two are very close in ratings and even more so in the betting however and this is not a race to get heavily involved in.

2.05 : Kilkenny Handicap Hurdle (81-130) (€15,000)
An open 2m 1f handicap hurdle featuring the useful Marlay Park, Take it Easee and Fistoulig. Take it Easee, with Paddy Flood on board is an improving horse who quickened well last time out and may well win today. Marlay Park runs consistently well and could speak a place while the French-bred Fistoulig won in Navan last time out in heavy going and will run a strong race today under David Casey. Preference is slightly for Fistoulig who is well weighted and value at the 7-1 mark.
2.35 : Tendrleen Thyestes Handicap Chase (€90,000)
The showcase of the year at the Kilkenny track, the 3 mile Thyestes has in recent years had two grand national winners (Hedgehunter and Numbersixvalverde) compete in what is as usual, an ultra-competitive affair. In Greek mythology, Thyestes was the son of Pelops, King of Olympia. he was exiled for murdering his half-brother and he is the subject of a 2000 year old tragedy by Seneca. Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus also derives some of its plot from the myth of Thyestes. On the heavy ground today, sponsored for the first time by local horse feed sponsor, Connollys of Goresbridge attracts the maximum field of 18 runners. Ruby Walsh has never won the Thyestes and today he saddles the favourite Beroni who is looking for his 4th win in a row over fences this season. He is raised significantly in the weights however and Footy Facts who won very convincingly and his jockey claims a valuable 3lbs today. Siegemaster represents solid each-way claims whereas last years winner, Priests Leap looks to have too much weight, (11-10 today, 10-13 in 2009). Whatever the outcome, it will be a hotly contested race and one that should go the way of the punters.

3.05 : Irish Stallion Farms E.B.F Novice Chase (€23,000)
Champion jockey Tony McCoy will prove a very popular man in a wet Gowran today should he win this 2m 4f novice chase on the very useful Jered. McCoys mount is vying for favouritism with Paul Nolans Sam Adams. Jereds jumping was very fractured earlier in the season but following solid jumping efforts behind Paodorama in the Grade 1 Drinmore, today represents a drop in class and good opportunity to win his second Chase of the campaign. Sam Adams was 16 lengths behind Zaarito in Leopardstown three weeks ago and was a head second to the useful Lenabane (who in turn was 4 lengths behind Pandorama and Weapons Amnesty in the Christmas meet at Leopardstown). While Sam Adams is sure to win some good races, he might well have to give way to the Champion today on the JP McManus owned and Noel Meade trained son of Presenting.

3.35 : Careys Cottage Cup Handicap Chase (0-116) (€10,500)
A field of 8 line up for this ordinary looking 2m 4f chase, the current market leaders Whosaidso, Borolee and Wright Flyer all have solid claims at this level. Denis Cullen trains Whosaidso and trys an extra 4 furlongs today following his defeat at the hands of The Dew At Night in Punchestown last time out, he looks one paced but the extra half mile may suit. Wright Flyer travels well when fresh and the combination of O'Grady and Geraghty can never be ignored at this meeting. Borolee jumped poorly last time out when beaten into third at evens but he can improve and carries a featherweight today. All three have chances to it may pay to follow the market.
4.05 : Duninga Gallops Flat Race (€11,500)
Paul Kristian should reward Willie Mullins another bumper victory at his local track. Starting at 8-15 and obliging by an easy 3 lengths in his last bumper start, this 7 year old is the oldest horse in the race and has the beatings of Tony Mullins runner, Some Slam. The latter did win a bumper very easily by 8 lengths last September but was well held (distance) behind the Willie Mullins trained Don't Turn Bach in a bumper in Leopardstown in December. He weakened very quickly that day and although he should be placed today, will have to give way to Paul Kristian who will wrap the day up for favourite backers and Willie Mullins who won this race last year with Cadspeed.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Grey day for Brady

Cast your mind back to Cheltenham 2009, the Triumph Hurdle, eventual winner and the as-yet unbeaten Zaynar battled hard up Cleeve hill against the fancied Oliver Brady-trained Ebadiyan. Ebadiyan led from the start and was travelling strongly when two hurdles out, he crashed through the rails and ran out. Who knows what have might have been.

Zaynar and Ebadiyan are both strapping grey sons of Daylami, the former is a son of the 1998 Prix de Diane (French Oaks) winner Zainta and Kahyasi who is a half-sister to the French Champion Hurdler Zaiyad. Zaynar is Aga-Khan bred, as is Ebadiyan, When sold, Zaynar changed hands for €110,000. The former John Oxx-trained Ebadiyan was sold at the Goffs "Horses in Training" yearling sales of 2008 for just €18,000. His buyer ? Bradys business partner, Rita Shah (pictured after yesterdays victory in Naas above centre, with Brady, left and jockey John Cullen).

Larger-than-life Bradys trademark Monaghan jersey was absent from a bitterly chilly Naas yesterday, his pre-race parade antics were on show however and warmed a cold crowd and he was visibly elated and suitably rewarded soon after following Ebadiyans short-head victory over the 4-7 favourite Muirhead. At 9-1, Ebadiyan put in a much-improved performance under John Cullen, he bowled along in front and was never headed. Matched at 128-1 on Betfair, it looked like he would be collared jumping the last by a patient ride under a motionless Paul Carberry on Muirhead (who was subsequently matched at odds of 1-33). Carberry quipped that the ground was "almost unracebale".

Following the race, Brady left his options open for Cheltenham, the Champion hurdle (where his current odds are 66-1), the World Hurdle and Coral Cup are all to be considered. Brady also stated "He's had a few below par runs, but I knew he was right coming here today"

Although this was Ebidayans first race victory in a year, Cheltenham awaits and if he keeps improving, the stands at Prestbury will be lifted by an Irish roar, the loudest of which will be the only trainer wearing a Monaghan jersey.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

See U Bob slams Kempes at Thurles

In Thurles yesterday, with Heavy ground conditions underfoot, See U Bob, racing in the distinctive colours of the Ivan Yates-led Celtic Bookmakers, defied the Willie Mullins-trained Kempes (red & white, pictured above) and claimed the €8,638 first prize in the Irish Stallion Farms E.B.F Beginners Chase.

See U Bob, ridden by Alain "Squeaky" Cawley travelled well throughout, he settled nicely along the home straight where Cawley briefly ruffled the reigns two fences out, See U Bob responded gamely and out-jumped Kempes at the last fence before scoring by a comfortable 2 1/2 lengths.

The Paul Nolan trained Gelding finished at 4-1, drifting slightly from an opening show of 7-2. There was solid support throughout for Ruby Walsh's Kempes who hardened at one point in the betting into 3-10 from morning prices of 4-9. Kempes travelled strongly throughout but a mistake in the home straight resulted in him being niggled along before going down a beaten second, still however there was left 11 lengths of daylight to the third placed horse, Becolark.

Nolan said afterward of See U Bob "Hopefully he can now step up a grade" and was adamant that the 7 year old gelding was performing better over fences than hurdles. In what was his first start over the larger obstacles for the son of Bob Back.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Cousin Vinny again fails to land novice chase

The Willie Mullins trained and former Champion Bumper winner and Supreme Novice Hurdle favourite (pictured left), Cousin Vinny, failed to open his chasing account at the second time of asking in the €11,747 Irish Stallion Farms E.B.F Beginners Chase in Fairyhouse yesterday.

Ruby Walsh adopted front running tactics in the soft underfoot conditions, but the 7 year old Gelding lost ground at several fences, giving the obstacles lots of air at times and finding little in the to the useful An Cathaoir Mor.

Cousin Vinny was eventually beaten by 4 1/2 lengths after being headed 3 out, Nicanor and An Cathaoir Mor appeared at first to have dead-heated, they passed the post together deadlocked but An Cathaoir Mor, under a supremely timed ride by David Casey held out by a short head.

Cousin Vinny opened at odds of 4-9 and drifted to 4-7, he is entered in a Novice Chase on Thyestes day in Gowran on Thursday and is sure to improve for the run. The opposition on the day might have proved slightly under rated as An Cathaoir Mor has earned a handicap mark of 133 following his victory and fine placed efforts behind River Liane and Captain Cee Bee.

Henry de Bromhead, trainer of An Cathaoir Mor has hinted at a possible tilt towards the Irish Arkle on Sunday, with Sizing Europe now bypassing that race and is heading straight to Cheltenham, de Bromheads charge must be fancied even in what will be a competitive field, with Mikael D'Haguenet, Zaarito, Osana and the Paul Nicholls trained Take The Breeze all declared.

Cousin Vinny will surely pick up a novice chase in due course and reward his followers, it may be a case of third time lucky but he is sure to improve and in better conditions, he may even be closer to even money the next day out, reversing a trend of starting odds on.

He is better than yesterdays race and should not be discounted.

Onefortheroadtom a solid each way option

Onefortheroadtom a solid each way option By Stephen Dwyer Onefortheroadtom, pictured above after being sold last year at ...