Doyle, Cloke on mark

Fruit­ful Wed­nes­day at Punchestown

Wexford People - - SPORT - WEEKLY NEWS by Pe­ga­sus

WEX­FORD NA­TIONAL Hunt con­nec­tions had a very good day at Punchestown on Wed­nes­day, hav­ing the first two home in two of the races, the win­ners com­ing from the yards of Seán Thomas Doyle (Ballindaggin) and Pat Cloke (Bree).

Doyle’s Grace­mount (6/1), owned by J.J. Ka­vanagh, had a de­served suc­cess in the mares’ hand­i­cap hur­dle, just re­ward un­der Mark Walsh for her con­sis­tency, though she had to work hard to hold the per­sis­tent chal­lenge of Liz Doyle’s Neu­ral (11/2) un­der Alan Shortt.

Cloke’s Flynnsini (16/1) caused a bit of shock in the three-mile hand­i­cap chase, rid­den by J.J. Slevin from Caim and owned by Ea­monn Sin­nott. They had to bat­tle hard to hold by a short head the chal­lenge of the Paul Nolan-trained Fitzhenry (9/4f), rid­den by Barry Ger­aghty for J.P. McManus. Jonathan Moore was do­ing duty for Noel Meade and won the maiden hur­dle for him on Minella Fair (7/4f) with a strong ride.

In con­trast, Thurles on Thurs­day and Lim­er­ick on Fri­day were blank days for Wex­ford, though Paul Nolan nearly Stole The Show (25/1) at Lim­er­ick, get­ting sec­ond in the novice hur­dle with a horse of that name, be­hind Wait Here (10/3).

Nolan, who has been knock­ing on the door lately af­ter a quiet time, pulled off a 66/1 shocker in the Ir­ish Rac­ing Year Book maiden hur­dle at Fairy­house on Satur­day with Dis­co­rama, rid­den by Kevin Sex­ton, get­ting up by a nose on the line from a Gig­gin­stown hot­shot, Blow By Blow (9/10).

‘I didn’t think he’d be ready for that but he’s a fair horse… hope­fully he’ll kick on from there,’ Nolan said.

There was a big day’s rac­ing at Fairy­house on Sun­day, but the in­equal­i­ties in the Ir­ish rac­ing scene were re­ally clearly il­lus­trated. Gor­don El­liott and Gig­gin­stown won the three Grade 1 races, the first time a trainer has com­pleted this clean sweep of the Royal Bond Novice Hur­dle (Gengli Khan), the Hat­ton’s Grace hur­dle (Ap­ple’s Jade), and the Drin­more Novice Chase (Death Duty).

There were just 19 run­ners in those races and El­liott sup­plied seven of them and Wil­lie Mullins six. While the likes of Jes­sica Har­ring­ton, Henry De Brom­head and Noel Meade do chal­lenge, the small yards don’t re­ally have much of a chance in the big­ger races. The dom­i­na­tion of the few must be a cause of some con­cern.

Best Wex­ford per­for­mance was sec­ond in the bumper for Liz Doyle and Finny Maguire with Re­mas­tered (20/1), well be­hind Down­town Get­away (14/1) for Katie Walsh and Mag Mullins.

Ai­dan O’Brien is in the off-sea­son but it did not stop him send­ing one run­ner to Dun­dalk on Fri­day night to re­peat the pre­vi­ous week’s ex­er­cise, pick­ing up the week’s main prize with Clear Skies (5/2 jf) un­der son, Don­n­chadh, for J.P. McManus in the €25,000 Ir­ish­in­jured­jock­ hand­i­cap.

Wex­ford rid­ers had ten win­ners in Bri­tain last week, putting in lots of hard miles in the process.

Tom O’Brien had three and be­gan on Mon­day at Lud­low on Galac­tic Power (7/2f), for Robert Dickin. O’Brien and Daryl Ja­cob had just one spin each at Here­ford on Wed­nes­day.

O’Brien made it pay with a good win on Bur­ren­bridge Ho­tel (10/1) in the first, while Ja­cob had to be con­tent with sec­ond on Stage Sum­mit (7/2) be­hind a money-on favourite.

Ja­cob got a win­ner out of his two rides for Ben Pauling at Towces­ter on Thurs­day aboard Per­fect Pi­rate (3/1), but caught a tarter in the other when he and Li­nen­hall (5/2) were un­able to peg back the big lead of 66/1 shot Royal Magic.

Jamie Codd went over to Don­caster for a cou­ple of rides on Fri­day, and picked up a very tight bumper by a head on Ar­ca­dio (10/11) for Olly Mur­phy. Tom O’Brien was a clear win­ner on No Ceil­ing (13/8f) for Ian Wil­liams at the same venue.

Af­ter his big Grade 1 suc­cess the pre­vi­ous week, it was sur­pris­ing to see Daryl Ja­cob ply­ing his trade at lowly Ban­gor on Satur­day but at least he got a win­ner on Uno Valorosa (4/1).

J.J. Slevin went over to Carlisle for a cou­ple of rides for Steven Craw­ford on Sun­day and had a win by a head in the big one, the £25,000 mares’ hand­i­cap fi­nal, on Our Valentina (9/4f).

On the flat, Pat McDon­ald had win­ners at two meet­ings on Wed­nes­day. He scored on Is­land Brave (3/1f), the last of his four rides at Wolver­hamp­ton, be­fore hop­ping in the car and head­ing for Kemp­ton for three more. There he won on Red Ver­non (5/2) for Ed Dun­lop by half a length.

I reckon he trav­elled over 560 miles for those two win­ners - a long, hard day’s work as he left Kemp­ton just be­fore 8 p.m. for the 250+ miles trip home to Ley­burn in North York­shire.

Jimmy Quinn from New Ross picked up his 19th win­ner of the sea­son with his only spin at South­well on Fri­day, on First Ex­cel (11/4) for Steve Bowring.

Pat Dobbs, En­nis­cor­thy, had an­other 27.5/1 dou­ble at Je­bal Ali in the UAE for Doug Wat­son on Fri­day to main­tain his good strike rate in the Desert States.

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