Seán’s lucky es­cape

Tagh­mon rider’s nasty fall in Bet­tyville

Wexford People - - SPORT -

THE FI­NAL meet­ing of the year at Bet­tyville on Bank Hol­i­day Mon­day il­lus­trated the ups and downs of rac­ing for young Tagh­mon rider, Seán O’Ke­effe.

He had his first win­ner as a pro­fes­sional at Tramore in mid-Au­gust for Liz Doyle be­fore suf­fer­ing a col­lar bone in­jury that kept him out for nearly two months.

Liz again pro­vided him with his sec­ond win­ner at Wex­ford on Mon­day af­ter he had gone close with a cou­ple of Paul Nolan-trained sec­onds the pre­vi­ous day.

He had a facile 16-length suc­cess on Cairn­hill (11/4f) in the Ke­hoe Farm­ing Hand­i­cap Hur­dle, the only Wex­ford win­ner over the two days.

In the very next race, the Wex­ford Volk­swa­gen Com­mer­cial Ve­hi­cles maiden hur­dle won by Church­town Glen (3/1) for Mick Win­ters from Cork, Seán was up near the front of a pack­ing field when he and Cap­tain Leo fell, bring­ing down two oth­ers in a nasty-look­ing in­ci­dent.

He was on the ground for a while be­fore be­ing led to the am­bu­lance and off to the nearby hos­pi­tal to be checked out.

He ex­plained to me on Fri­day: ‘I was out for about a minute and I was pretty dazed. I was sore all over the next day but I’m al­right – I was stood down for con­cus­sion and I ex­pect to be back in the com­ing week. I was un­lucky to fall, but very lucky to es­cape as well as I did.’

Other races hon­oured leg­endary Wex­ford hurler Nick O’Don­nell and Jim Whitty, founder of Whit­ford House Ho­tel, and spon­sors in­cluded IRIS rac­ing footage providers, the Wex­ford Vint­ners, and the listed €28,000 MW Hickey Memo­rial Chase won in fine style by Pere­grine Run (5/4f).

Jockey Seán Flana­gan had only recorded one tre­ble up to last Sun­day week; re­mark­ably he racked up two more in what was surely one of the best seven days of his ca­reer.

He rode three at Gal­way last Sun­day week (as I re­ported in the last is­sue), but he had an even bet­ter hat-trick at Down Royal on Satur­day for boss, Noel Meade.

High­light was the run­away win by 16 lengths of Road to Re­spect (6/4), in the JN Wines Grade 1 Chase. Road to Re­spect was far too good for a top-class field and he could be a live con­tender for all the top races again this sea­son.

Flana­gan fol­lowed up im­me­di­ately in the 50k Grade 2 Chase on board an old ally, Snow Fal­con (11/4), in an­other very good run, and both trainer and rider felt this one was now ready to be moved up to top flight.

The day had be­gun well for the pair with a one length win for Brace Your­self (6/4) in a maiden hur­dle. Vet­eran trainer Meade could not con­tain his de­light and he was full of praise for his jockey – ‘Seán is rid­ing out of his skin’ was his suc­cinct sum­ma­tion.

The pair had won the open­ing maiden hur­dle up there on Fri­day with favourite, First Ap­proach.

At Clon­mel on Thurs­day, J.J. Slevin won for Joseph O’Brien on hot-shot Jack Dillinger, and point-to-point champ, Barry O’Neill, won the bumper on Water­ford trainer Vin­cent Hal­ley’s Tin­town Robin (9/2).

Ai­dan O’ Brien sent a big team of 16 to Ken­tucky for the Amer­i­can Breed­ers Cup fes­ti­val but came home with­out a win­ner. Best ef­fort was by Mag­i­cal in the €4m. turf race over twelve fur­longs, go­ing down un­der Ryan Moore af­ter a huge bat­tle with Frankie Det­tori on John Gos­den’s En­able.

In the con­clud­ing €6m Breed­ers Cup Clas­sic, high­light of the fes­ti­val, Ryan Moore rushed Men­delssohn up to the lead and stuck it out un­til the clos­ing fur­long when he was swal­lowed up by the fast fin­ish­ers.

This was dis­ap­point­ing as the horse had been cam­paigned in Amer­ica through the sum­mer with this race in mind.

In the more mun­dane sur­round­ings of Naas on Sun­day, O’Brien won two of the three races he con­tested, Turn­berry Isle (9/10) un­der Seamie Heffernan and An­tilles (10/1) un­der Michael Hussey.

The O’Brien car­a­van moved on to Aus­tralia from the U.S., where the Mel­bourne Cup was con­tested early this Tues­day morn­ing. He was pipped in it last year by his son, Joseph’s, Rekin­dling.

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