In the first of a series of Irish point notes, David Skelly offers his thoughts on the early weeks of the season between the flags in Ireland. Plenty of horses for the Tracker contained herein...
Week 1: Autumn point-to-point season
8/10/2017: Castletown-Geoghegan (yield-soft)
The 2017/18 point-to-point season got off to a somewhat belated start this year and Wexford’s Colin Bowe, champion handler for the past three seasons, wasted no time in getting off the mark in the 4yo maiden with:
Napoleon Blue (Colin Bowe) by Beat Hollow 23- (R90)
He cost Bowe €18,000 as a 3yo in Goffs but was unsold last June following his placed efforts in two maidens earlier this year. Presumably, the decision to buy him back in has been rewarded with this victory although it is unclear as yet where his new home may be.
Pedigree: he is the eighth foal out of a 1992 unraced Le Bavard mare whose only winning sibling was Arthur Moore’s Torrent Bay, a useful hurdler and chaser over 2-2.5 miles in the early 90’s. Napoleon Blue’s standout pedigree listing is his half-brother Ninetieth Minute who won the 2009 Coral Cup (2m5f) at Cheltenham for Tom Taaffe. Two other half-brothers have scored.
His sire is very interesting and could easily be missed as a potential star. Beat Hollow stood in Ireland for the first time in 2012 so these four-year-olds represent his first true National Hunt crop. A relative disappointment when standing in Banstead Manor as a flat stallion his appeal as a NH sire is clear from a 2009 foal who grew up to be Wicklow Brave. From just six runners in Irish point-to-points from his 2013 crop he has had 3 winners and two placed runners so, obviously, his entries in this sphere command the greatest respect. His flag bearers prior to Napoleon Blue have been Some Man (ran twice for Paul Nicholls) and Stay Humble who has yet to reappear.
To date the collateral form of the three races Napoleon Blue has contested does not set the pulse racing and winners of this particular maiden in the past – typified by the likes of Jack Steel - have tended to be future winners in modest handicaps, so perhaps one should not have too many ambitious hopes for Napoleon Blue. I think my personal lesson from this research is the potential of future Beat Hollow recruits to pointing. Pat Doyle’s Southern Nights, recently second in a Dromohane maiden, may be one such nominee. It is very early days for the sire’s track runners from his first crop so I shall be watching with interest.
In recent seasons the older maiden has been more fruitful in terms of track winners with Baku Bay, Gowanauthat, Shanroe Street and De Dollar Man (looks a promising handicap chaser) all going on the win under Rules since 2013 – a 100% record in four years.
Flash The Steel (Jonathan Fogarty) by Craigsteel 4- (R88)
was the 2017 winner and he has already joined Dan Skelton (who bought him privately. Craigsteel is a reliable enough sire but expect Flash The Steel to be a capable handicapper at best. He ran a fine race to finish second in a bumper on his first start before Christmas.
Week 2: Autumn point-to-point season
14/10/2015 Loughanmore (soft)
4yo maiden: “A hell of a horse”
You can set your watch about Colin McKeever having an early one ready for a 4yo maiden and he duly obliged with his first runner at a northern meeting.
Blue Flight (C McKeever) by Blue Bresil 25- (R92)
McKeever and his patron Wilson Dennison produce a steady stream of very capable winners and this gelding looks no different. Already with Nigel Twiston-Davies, who acquired him privately, he finished second in a Chepstow bumper on his first start.
By a French Group 2-placed stallion who now stands in Britain Blue Flight’s attraction to Dennison was obviously a family with lots of winning relations including Paul Nicholl’s Ibis Du Rheu (by Blue Bresil) who won the Martin Pipe handicap at Cheltenham in 2016 off a mark of 139. Nicholls also has charge of his sire’s highest-rated runner, Le Prezien, who has won 5 times for JP McManus. Twiston-Davies trained this horse prior to his sale to McManus so he is very familiar with the sire.
After his victory here, McKeever said “He will be a hell of a horse in time”.
Winners Of Two:
I don’t often recommend a 6yo from the pointing circuit but I think an exception should be made for Captain Cj especially since this three-time winner in 2017 has run third for Dermot Anthony O’Loughlin in what looks a decent Fairyhouse bumper in early December.
Captain Cj (D McLoughlin) by Westerner 23/11- (R97)
Every time this horse won the statements afterwards were very positive and my guess is that there is a LOT of future hope invested in his track career. His bumper run was eye-catching and connections will probably be dreaming of having a useful horse that they probably acquired reasonably with just placed maiden form as a 6yo. Having reviewed his bumper run it was clear he was staying on again after two miles and he will be best over a trip in excess of this. Another great run at Leopardstown over Christmas (third at 7/1 in a bumper) would tempt you to save up for this horse when his sights are lowered or if he goes jumping.
15/10/2015 Loughrea (soft/heavy)
A second 4yo winner within a week for Colin Bowe this time with:
Rath An Iuir (C Bowe) by Flemensfirth 33- (R91)
who scored on the line in a last gasp effort against a Pat Doyle-trained opponent. First impressions are not hugely positive as the calibre of opponent in his first two late-Spring maidens looks weak but horses can improve massively over the summer and, indeed, the impressive Blue Flight (see above) finished well in arrears of Rath An Iuir on his debut last April. He fetched £100,000 at the November Sale and has since joined Rose Dobbin in Northumbria.
On account of an attractive pedigree (half-brother to 6 winners) he was an expensive store purchase at €62,000 and connections took him home from the 2017 Tattersalls Ireland June Sale mirroring the experience of Napoleon Blue covered in Week 1 i.e. they felt they weren’t getting the value deserved. His win here secured a decent profit and Colin Bowe will be on very good terms with himself so early in the season.
Foxrock won this race in 2012 followed by winners Uppertown Cave (career cut short) and Fact Of The Matter (5 wins for Jamie Snowden) although the last two winners have yet to score under Rules. Something of a curate’s egg! This looks a big buy for Dobbin – the only previous pointer purchase I can find cost her £20,000 – so there will be a lot invested in him.
Canyouringmeback (Thomond O’Mara/Con McSweeney) by Robin Des Pres 3- (R89)
Third to Minella Encore – winner of a recent Fairyhouse bumper for Willie Mullins - last January on his only start Canyouringmeback was an odds-on fancy to collect here and duly obliged under Jamie Codd. That January maiden looks very strong with fourth-placed Cowboy Des Long placed third in two maiden hurdles for Jimmy Mangan whilst the fifth-placed White Moon is already a dual hurdle winner for Colin Tizzard. What’s less encouraging is that the second in this Loughrea maiden, Well Tom, has been beaten out of sight in a recent maiden hurdle. However, you can only beat what’s put in front of you and I suspect Well Tom’s campaigning has been a little unplanned. Incidentally, this maiden was won by Cheltenham winner Brindisi Breeze in 2011.
Canyouringmeback has joined Nick Gifford for £52,000 and is the fourth foal and by far the best progeny, so far, of a dual bumper winner who saw plenty of action during her racing career. Can this sometimes have a negative effect on a mare’s offspring? McSweeney will have been thrilled with this result as he paid just €7,000 for the 3yo store.
Predictions on Canyouringmeback’s UK career are straightforward based on the trends of history: Of 8 previous maiden point winners (4 & 5yo maidens) by Robin Des Pres, who died in January 2017, 7 subsequently moved to the UK and all except one won under Rules. They achieved success at a modest level and usually needed a number of runs to get their eye in. My glance at past results suggests they tend to be reliable performers when they are fancied in the market. The only horse to remain in training in Ireland is Oliver McKiernan’s All For Joy and following his point win last April was recently a decent second in a Thurles bumper in November on his only subsequent start. It was a taking performance – he had a Mullins’ hotpot in third – and he could be worth noting.
Week 3: Autumn point-to-point season
22/10/2017 Rathcannon (soft/heavy)
It seems a long time ago and it is – 2007/08 in fact – since Eric McNamara trained 25 winners in a National Hunt season. Many lean years follow but last season (2016/17) showed an upswing in his fortunes when 9 winners were trained so it’s good to see him back again.
There’s not a lot to be gleaned in studying McNamara’s previous point maiden winners although I do recall following his 2008 scorer, Flemensford, over the proverbial cliff when he was in training: he subsequently won three races on the track.
The win here for
I Can’t Explain (E McNamara) by Getaway Unraced (R91)
simply looks like a point-to-point investment for one of his stable employees coming through. Bought for €15,000 as a 3yo he is now in Seven Barrows with Nicky Henderson and if he is in that august stable that is good enough for me. He is by far the best of five foals out of a mare who is a half-sister to 2003 Hennessy winner Strong Flow so that will, presumably, also have appealed to Henderson. I often feel it’s significant when these horses are sold privately pointing to relationships based on reliable information especially as avoiding the strong auction rings for these horses is a risk in itself.
I have had a soft spot for this maiden ever since it was won by Run With The Wind in 2010 and has consistently produced some useful sorts.
22/10/2015 Tinahely (yield-soft)
Whisperinthebreeze (T E Hyde) by Kayf Tara Unraced (R92)
Tim Hyde operates in the higher echelons of the flat breeding game but has always retained a love of the jumps game – his father rode Prince Regent to Gold Cup success in the forties – and usually produces something of interest in the 4yo maiden sphere between the flags. Robin Roe and Walking In The Air have been two of his last four winners in points in recent times that have tasted success in the UK whilst Brewin’upastorm has yet to race for Olly Murphy - he is a £250,000 purchase after winning for Hyde last April.
It appears Whisperinthebreeze is now housed in Jessica Harrington’s stables in Co. Kildare and if the Twitter-sphere is correct he is a horse to follow. Up to 2015 every winner since 2008 had gone on to track success in the UK. Last year’s winner has only had three outings under Rules, so far.
Shantaluze (R Black) by Shantou 5- (R89)
Richard Black from Bunclody, Co. Wexford. Who?
He trained his third consecutive winner here and 6 weeks later (December 3rd) Mount Rushmore made it four-in-a-row over an 18-month period. Clearly, a young man who knows what he’s doing. The reason the sequence wasn’t broken with the above’s first run (finished 5th) is that Black only took charge of the horse thereafter.
His two previous winners were Thomas Do – yet to win in three starts for Donald McCain (cost £70,000) - and the mega-expensive Maire Banrigh who is with Dan Skelton and cost an eye-watering £320,000. When I relate that this is for a winning point-to-point mare I have to say I’m staggered.She was 8th of 12 in a maiden hurdle on her debut. Ouch.
In any event Shantaluze has also joined Donald McCain (this time for £40,000) so that looks a vote of confidence in both Thomas Do and Shantaluze in my view. £40,000 is not expensive in today’s market and it will be interesting to observe the progress of this “nice, genuine horse”.
My review of Mount Rushmore will follow shortly (Week #9).
Week 4: Autumn point-to-point season
28/10/2017 Lisronagh (soft/heavy)
4yo mares maiden:
Ratings of 81 and 82 has not been a particularly strong recommendation in the past for winning 4yo mares compared to the ratings for geldings which have inflated by between 5% and 10% over the past 10 years reflecting higher sales prices predominantly. Make of that what you will!
Division I: Daylight Katie (Aidan Fitzgerald) by Bonbon Rose F- (R81)
My records on 4yo mares’ maidens extending back to 2009 suggest that winning mares from these maidens should be treated with caution despite the market for mares being very frothy at the moment. By a relatively unknown French sire and from a winning family, the £110,000 paid for Daylight Katie at the recent Cheltenham Sale looks pricey in my book.
Div II: Lust For Glory (Denis Murphy) by Getaway Unraced (R82)
There’s a lot more hype about this mare although, ironically, the time of this division was marginally slower than Division I. She changed hands for a whopping £240,000 at the same Cheltenham Sale and I would also be very concerned about this valuation. She cost just €4,500 as a 2yo store and that tells me its own story.
This is how the sale was reported in the Racing Post:
"Lust For Glory is just drop dead gorgeous," Anthony Bromley (Highflyer Bloodstock) added of the daughter of Getaway who landed a four-year-old mares maiden at Lisronagh in late October. "She was coveted by everyone here. Harold Kirk was underbidder to me and he's a good judge!"
These mares do occasionally win under Rules but they are not the most reliable conveyances for your cash. I will produce a summary of all Autumn 4yo mares’ maidens since 2008/09 over the coming weeks.
Division I: Getaway Trump (Vincent Halley) by Getaway 34- (R92)
The sire, with his first 5yo’s in 2017, is doing okay but has yet to produce a star. So far, he has just three horses rated in the 130’s with Henderson’s Verdana Blue, a triple hurdle winner, being the best of them. This winner of Division I of the 4yo maiden - run slower than even the two mares’ divisions – has joined Paul Nicholls for £90,000. Paco Jack, a Soviet Star half-brother to the dam, won 7 races for Joe Crowley. The dam was 4th in a bumper on one of her only two outings. There is no record of her first two foals.
Run at Lisronagh, within hailing distance of Ballydoyle, one might expect this maiden to throw up very good horses but the record since 2010 has been patchy enough with the best winners being Dreaper’s Goonyella in 2011 and Willie Mullins’ Minella Beau in 2015.
A review of handler Vincent Halley’s point record is very much a case of peaks and troughs. He hit the big time in 2012/13 and 2013/14 training a total of 21 winners but runners and winners have fallen dramatically since with just a single winner recorded in each of the three seasons prior to 2017/18. This fall off arose from a concentration on racecourse runners where he has had an average of 4 winners in each of the last 4 seasons. Interesting to note that of his three single winners mentioned above, two were 4yo’s and they both were sold to the UK with Tanarpino winning 3 races for Jennie Candlish and Abbotswood winning for Charlie Longsdon.
As Getaway Trump has also been sold to the UK, the hint should be taken.
Division II: Danny Kirwan (Pat Doyle) by Scorpion Unraced (R96)
This is the talking horse of the early season. A son of Scorpion out of a mare placed in all three bumper starts, from a nice, if unspectacular, French family, Danny Kirwan is a half-brother to a dual hurdle winner whose highest winning mark was 109.
Great things were expected of Scorpion who retired to stud in 2008 at Coolmore National Hunt but he was pensioned off to England in 2016 following some disappointing results. As often happens, his best runner has come since his departure with Might Bite winning the 2017 RSA but at least it proves Scorpion can sire a very good horse.
Doyle paid €60,000 for Danny Kirwan’s store half-brother earlier this year based on the homework of his 4yo and I understand Danny Kirwan has since joined Paul Nicholls. The hype surrounding this horse and the stable he has joined are likely to guarantee his initial outings will have him prohibitively priced in the ring. Nonetheless, it will be interesting to see if he can further redeem Scorpion’s reputation causing, perhaps (see below), further regrets in Grange Stud.
Postscript: I felt my work here wasn’t done until I examined the record of previous winning 4yo pointers by Scorpion and what a sorry tale it reveals. There have been 8 previous winners since 2013 and only the Willie Mullins/Gordon Elliott Tell Us More has achieved anything of note by collecting a Grade 3 chase in November 2016. With a purchase price of £290,000 this is a relative disappointment as he has collected less than €60,000 in earnings. All five other winners to race have failed to score under Rules (!) and two winners from spring 2017 – Sending Love with W Mullins and Another Barney (J Harrington) have yet to race. All in all, a very poor record and surely one to temper any exuberance over Danny Kirwan. I wonder what he made in the private sale?
Danny Kirwan appeared in the pre-Christmas edition of The Irish Field “Future Stars feature”.
Duhallow Tornado (Louis Archdeacon) by Golden Tornado P52- (R88)
Golden Tornado is a workaday stallion who gets a few winners from limited chances and his best horse has been surprise 2010 Albert Bartlett winner Berties Dream for Paul Gilligan. His only other notable runner, rated over 140, from double-digit crops is Michael Hourigan’s three-time scorer from 2010-2013 Dancing Tornado so one can expect Duhallow Tornado to be of modest pretensions. He seems to have changed hands for £25,000 to pursue a career in the UK and this is the best place for him.
From eight previous foals the dam of Duhallow Tornado has produced a single track winner in Clashnabrook who won 5 low-grade handicaps over hurdles and fences for Eoghan O’Grady which looks a nice bit of training.
Since 2008 Archdeacon has handled just six previous 5yo maiden winners and all bar one – Captain Ocano was retained to win one very modest chase from numerous outings for Archdeacon – went across the water to be trained. Only Forgotten Gold proved to be useful winning six for Tom George and the remaining 4 remained maidens or won at a low grade so, based on recent history, one could not be too confident about the chances of Duhallow Tornado at this early juncture.
That said, it is also worth noting that Archdeacon trained recent Listed Mares’ Bumper winner, Duhallow Gesture, to win her maiden point, albeit in a 5yo & 6yo maiden. That mare is part-owned by Mr Geegeez, Matt Bisogno!
28/10/2015 Portrush (soft/heavy)
Weakfield (G Cromwell) by Court Cave Unraced (R91)
WEAKFIELD battled to an impressive success on his debut here. The four-year-old made smooth headway into contention before the second last and was produced to challenge at the last. The Court Cave gelding looks a promising sort and is nicely bred from the same family as Dancing Tornado. He looks to possess the speed to be competitive in a bumper and win races on the track. (According to P2p.ie)
It’s coincidental I have just mentioned Dancing Tornado in the context of the last winner and this 4yo winner is from the same family. He’s a half-brother to Sretaw who won thrice in one-mile handicaps for Cromwell but he only ran once without success over hurdles. His dam is related to Farmer Brown, a three-time handicap chase winner (R100) for Tony Martin.
Court Cave is a useful sire and is capable of getting good winners. He has an impressive record with his pointing 4 & 5yo maidens and prior to Weakfield had sired 15 individual 4yo maiden winners. His subsequent record on the track is puzzling in that his first batch of winners – horses such as Joseph Mercer, Hellorboston and Court Dismissed were all good winners - but up to recently the trend had taken a turn for the worse with many failing to live up to expectations. 2017 has seen something of a revival with The Holy One running second on his only start in a bumper for Jessica Harrington while Invincible Cave won his bumper for Gordon Elliott. It is possible that the trend reflects a higher quality mare in recent years as Court Cave started to prove him since from 2010 onwards.
Weakfield has changed hands for £90,000 – bought by pointer-lover Phil Martin in the UK – and I like the post race comment that “Gavin thinks a lot of this horse and he is the nicest 4yo we have in training” so he could be profitable to follow closely. It may be worth noting also that Cromwell’s only other 4yo maiden winner was Kilronan Castle who joined Donald McCain for £27,000 and subsequently won three handicaps at a modest level.
This Portrush autumn fixture was run for the first time in 2016 and no less a horse than Finian’s Oscar (R93) was successful for Denis Murphy so, no pressure then!
Shumaker (Karen McNeilly) by Whitmore’s Conn 7-0 Rules; FF- (R90)
An emphatic victory for the Karen McNeilly-trained Shumaker who was unlucky not to have won at the same venue last year when falling at the last. He cruised into the lead at the second last and won very easily. He looks as though he could quickly pick up a winners’ event if not returning to the track.
Shumaker’s 3yo Doyen half-brother sold for €33,000 last summer – Shumaker was unsold as a foal – and he is a brother to a 125-rated maiden hurdle winner for Tom Symonds (he found it hard to win for Michel Hourigan in Ireland – placed 6 times) with his unraced Fruits Of Love dam a half-sister to a dual Group 3 winner. McNeilly was delighted with this performance and thinks the gelding may return to the track where he needs another hurdle run to get a mark. He has modest pretensions but might be interesting in a handicap hailing from a relatively unknown yard.
29/10/2015 Dowth Hall (yield-soft)
Good Man Jim (Michael Goff) by Martaline 5- (R94)
A strongly run four-year-old maiden from flag fall which produced a very decent performance from the race winner.
GOOD MAN JIM (FR) looks an above average sort, even by the current high four-year-old standards. Making all, the Martaline gelding eased home despite making what could have been a race ending mistake five-out. Within strides of that error, the grey gelding was back on an even keel and travelling very strongly. Such was the pace he set, few of his rivals ever got in a challenging blow as he dominated from the front. The result was clear from a long way out and this is a horse with plenty of pace, that speed being used to good effect by Shane Fitzgerald. A bumper winner in waiting, he could prove to be high class indeed, likely over middle distances.
Well bought for just €14,000 as a yearling he fetched a whopping £360,000 at the recent Cheltenham Sale when bought by Roger Brookhouse, who has bought from this source before including bumper winner Clondaw Cracker.
Goff is an excellent trainer and seems to make this pointing game pay handsomely. The sire of Good Man Jim, Martaline, is French-based and is an excellent producer of good horses such as Dynaste and Disko to name but two. Good Man Jim will have a high-profile trainer and is rated to carry high expectations.
Good Man Jim featured in the pre-Christmas edition of The Irish Field “Future Stars feature”.
Double You Be (J.P. Dempsey) by Yeats 2P4S- (R88)
A small field was assembled for this five-year-old maiden which appeared to be lacking notably in depth.
DOUBLE YOU BE (IRE) is a horse who had shown real promise on his debut at Punchestown last February, before his form tailed off over a number of his subsequent starts last term. Making his seasonal re-appearance, the son of Yeats was sent to the front in a decisive move along the back straight and soon had his rivals under pressure with the change in tempo. It is difficult to judge how far he has progressed given the quality of this race, but he is certainly entitled to hold claims on the track.
Three of the last four winners of this maiden have scored in England with successes for Otago Trail (120), Tomngerry (135) and last year’s dual scorer Bordeaux Bill. Ordinarily a runner with four previous runs is a dubious selection but his form tailed off after an excellent second to Gallaghers Cross last February, a recent winner of a Galway bumper.
Dempsey trained the 4yo maiden winner at this fixture in 2010 and The Baler stayed with him and won twice over fences. Dempsey is not as prolific in the pointing field as he once was due to a burgeoning career under Rules and has produced just two 5yo maiden winners since 2014 in Subtle Grey and Derrinross. The former is rated 135 and has won 4 races for Donald McCain whilst Derrinross has stayed with Dempsey and although a maiden under Rules has some very decent form from just four runs and looks sure to win at some point. I think both these horses offer encouragement in determining what enthusiasm to offer for the future chances of Double You Be.
Yeats is in his third season of National Hunt runners since converting from the flat and whereas he has yet to produce a star he gets plenty of winners under Rules and between the flags with a decent strike-rate.
In addition to the above I have compiled a list of horses-worth-noting who caught my eye for various reasons: ran well in defeat, unlucky, fancied in the market, great pedigree and a few other angles of interest. Here they are, from the first weeks of the season:
THE DARK HORSES
Week 1: Autumn point-to-point season
8/10/2017: Castletown-Geoghegan (yield-soft)
This race provided some other horses of interest:
Hitdroadjack (by Wareed) trained by Dan Lordan, who finished second to Napoleon Blue seemed to improve markedly from three runs last spring. He has since joined Henry De Bromhead but was pulled up in his only start in a Clonmel maiden hurdle. It may be significant that De Bromhead won the race and that this was a mere “sighter” for Hitdroadjack. Handicapping will be his forte if he is any good and he has a long way to go. Probably close observance of his next races will be instructive.
If there is a “dark horse” in this race it could be the pulled-up beaten favourite, Two Sams (by Dubai Destination), who was trained by Michael “Trixie” Barry. It’s obviously a shot in the dark but having studied Barry’s handling of winners Cols Corner, Sraid Padraig and Sweet As A Nut over the years they rarely won without some confidence behind them. This may well be a long term project but is of interest nonetheless.
Finally, for those who follow pointing closely, I am always on the lookout for mares that run well against their male counterparts in maidens and Tashunka (Ashleigh Murphy) was in third when falling at the last. A subsequent disappointment in a mares’ maiden she could be of limited ability but is just the type to surprise against her own sex having shown up well here. She goes in to my point tracker.
My “also ran” from this race was the beaten even-money favourite, Robin De Broome, who was disappointing following a couple of placed efforts but who has since joined Brian Barr in Dorset. He is the kind of horse I like to follow in an unassuming yard and it will instructive to see what Mr Barr can wrest from him.
15/10/2015 Loughrea (soft/heavy)
As I mentioned above Brindisi Breeze is a former winner of this race and it has produced track runners in Moyross (Enda Bolger-2016), Leg Lock Luke (C Tizzard-2015) and Just A Par (P Nicholls-2012). For this reason I am nominating the 2014 winner Teds Island as one to follow: he remains a maiden on the track although he has only run under Rules five times. He has won three points (trained by John Walsh) but is under the care of Wexford’s Michael John Murphy for his track career. The 5 runs I mentioned have yielded three second-place finishes at Wexford (twice) and Clonmel over the past 18 months and he is due a turn. Murphy has not trained a winner in 50 attempts since 2006 and these three seconds have been the closest he has come. I may be a masochist but, if he could only be dropped a few pounds – run him on winter ground that he dislikes! – then he is likely to go very close. He hasn’t run since last June so Teds Island will go into my tracker for now.
22/10/2017 Rathcannon (soft/heavy)
I think the unlucky last-fence faller, Chateau Marmont, from this race should also be followed. Trained by Pat Doyle, he is a Flemensfirth gelding out of a Milan mare who won her only start in a Limerick bumper in 2011 trained by John Queally. Costing a reasonable-looking €22,000 as a store he has been bought by Phil Martin for £100,000 and will continue his career in the UK.
28/10/2017 Lisronagh (soft/heavy)
Perhaps a horse to note from this maiden is Ballyegan Warrior, trained by Derek O’Connor’s brother Paurick who looked to be going best when falling at the last (R89). Mind you, he has since been beaten in a four-runner maiden so enthusiasm is tempered. If he could come right again he would be of interest back on the track where he has a bargain basement rating of just 85 from when he was trained by Robert Tyner.
28/10/2015 Portrush (soft/heavy)
If the winner is rated 91 then the runner-up, Brace Yourself, at 90 is also entitled to some attention. A Mahler gelding trained by Warren Ewing, he almost made double that of Weakfield at £165,000 and has joined Noel Meade. Possessing a superior pedigree his half-brother won a handicap hurdle off 114 for Ben Pauling whilst the flat-bred dam was a bottom-drawer stayer but also a half-sister to five winners the best of whom won a 3m handicap chase off 120 for Paul Webber. Mahler’s first crop are now 7yo’s and his best representative to date has been Elliott’s Sutton Place, winner of two Grade 2 hurdles and rated 160.
David Skelly is a chartered accountant by profession based in County Tipperary and his views on various aspects of the industry can be found on www.theturfaccountant.com. Enquiries and comments are welcome at email@example.com