Tag Archive for: cork

Cherry Blossom looks the part with classy Cork display

Cherry Blossom put herself in the Royal Ascot picture with a taking display in the Goffs Irish EBF Polonia Stakes at Cork.

The daughter of No Nay Never was an above-average operator as a two-year-old and although only finding the scoresheet once, finished second in the Lowther Stakes, fourth in the Group One Cheveley Park and made her way into trainer Aidan O’Brien’s Breeders’ Cup team.

Dropped to Listed company for her return to the track, she was sent off the 5-2 favourite in the hands of Wayne Lordan and barely missed a beat as she blazed a trail on the front-end.

She had too much class for Jack Davison’s likeable She’s Quality at the finish as she surged to a length and a half success, with Paddy Power trimming the Ballydoyle inmate to 25-1 from 40s for the Commonwealth Cup at the Royal meeting next month.

O’Brien was represented by Chris Armstrong, who said: “She had a high rating, had good runs at two and with today’s conditions, and the track, everything worked out.

“She is a very quick filly, wants quick ground and five (furlongs).

“It is great to get the Listed win and with the sprint programme in Ireland being tricky, she might have to travel for Group Threes for fillies.

“It’s onwards and upwards and that will be a nice confidence booster for her.”

Thunder Roll back on track with Cork Listed score

Joseph O’Brien’s Thunder Roll bagged another Listed prize when taking the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Noblesse Stakes at Cork.

The Night Of Thunder filly was last seen finishing down the field in the Group One Prix de Royallieu, but prior to that took the Listed Oyster Stakes at Galway and was Group Three-placed in the Munster Oaks.

The latter race was run over a mile and four furlongs at Cork and the chestnut returned to the same course and distance to contest the Noblesse Stakes under Dylan Browne McMonagle.

Starting as the 3-1 favourite, the four-year-old ran prominently throughout and took up the lead before the two-furlong pole to go on to a half-length victory.

“She was a nice filly last year and progressed well, but she was a bit below par in France when the ground was very fast,” said O’Brien.

“I thought she did well to win today’s tactical race, as she went to the front early and fought all the way to the line.

“It was a very good ride and hopefully she is a progressive filly for this year.

“There is no doubt she will be at her best when she has a bit of juice (in the ground) and while Dylan said we could consider 10 furlongs if we wanted to, I think she’ll stick to one mile and four furlongs.”

Thunder Roll could return again to this track, with O’Brien adding: “There is the Group Three Munster Oaks back here in June.”

Dermot Weld’s Spoken Truth caught the eye when taking the Buy Tickets At CorkRacecourse.ie Maiden, a race won by the yard’s 2016 Derby and Irish Derby hero Harzand.

Spoken Truth at Cork
Spoken Truth at Cork (Thomas Weekes/PA)

Fourth on his sole run as a two-year-old, the Frankel colt is out of the mare Joailliere, making him a full brother to Moyglare’s 2022 Irish 1,000 Guineas winner Homeless Songs.

As the 13-8 favourite, the colt, who has Derby and Irish Derby entries, ran a pleasing race to prevail by two and a quarter lengths, with Aidan O’Brien’s Psalm behind him and the third-placed horse a further four and a half lengths back.

Weld said: “I won this race with Harzand at the start of his career and this is a gorgeous, kind, big horse who would like better ground. I love the way he came home over the last furlong, as he only hit his stride.

“I’m thinking of running him in the Gallinule, as it would be a logical way to go and that is his most likely next race.

“As the season progresses, he will fill into that big body of his and it is early days in his career. We are very hopeful with him, but time will tell.”

Asterion Forlonge and Sir Gerhard untroubled at Cork

Asterion Forlonge and Sir Gerhard both made the most of having their sights lowered to provide Willie Mullins and Sean O’Keeffe with a double at Cork.

The Closutton pair finished sixth and 12th in the Stayers’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival less than three weeks ago, but each had far less on their respective plates on Easter Sunday.

Asterion Forlonge (1-4 favourite) faced a solitary rival in the Grade Three Bar One Racing Chase and after initially taking a lead from Lucid Dreams, asserted from before the home turn and ultimately won comfortably, by 14 lengths.

O’Keeffe said: “He always likes to jump right, that’s just his way of doing it, but overall he jumped well. His jumping isn’t going to change now with his age but it was a good performance.

“We went a nice gallop, didn’t hang around and it is nice to get another win with him.

“He is a high-class horse and was bang there in those top Grade One chases so the ability is there.

“He has been around a long time, he has been a right horse and they (Asterion Forlonge and Sir Gerhard) are two top horses so it is great to get the opportunity to ride them.”

Sir Gerhard was even shorter odds for the Bar One Racing Hurdle at 1-5 and the result was never really in doubt.

Dropping a full mile in distance, the Cheveley Park Stud-owned gelding stamped his class with a 12-length victory over the long-absent Sempo.

“He retains plenty ability, is a very good horse and it was a nice race for him dropping back in trip today. He made a mistake down the back straight but jumped well and has his own way of doing it,” O’Keeffe added.

“The Stayers’ Hurdle trip stretches him a bit and that two miles in that grade was no problem. I have ridden him plenty at home and he always works well enough so it is nice to get another win into him.”

Straightforward seasonal return for One Look at Cork

Paddy Twomey’s One Look maintained her unbeaten record with a workmanlike display in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Median Auction Race at Cork.

Sent off the prohibitively priced 1-20 favourite to beat four rivals, she did so with the minimum of fuss but failed to shake up the ante-post Classic markets.

Having won the Goffs Million on her racecourse debut, the daughter of Gleneagles went into the winter as a big fancy for the 1000 Guineas.

Twomey carefully selected her reappearance run and her starting price suggested the calibre of opposition she was up against, although in the heavy ground, Billy Lee had to shake her up.

While she ultimately won by three lengths, Coral left her unchanged at 9-1 for the Newmarket Classic.

“She did exactly what we were hoping she would do. We got her out, got her some exercise and education and it has gone to plan, so I’m very happy,” said Twomey.

“We had the plan in our head that we were coming (regardless of the heavy ground), she settled and quickened and it was pretty straightforward. I don’t think I’ve trained many 1-20 shots!

“That was her first piece of work for the year, so we’ll sit down and make a plan. We have a couple of more fillies to run, so we will see where we go but she is in the Irish, English, French and German Guineas.

“If she runs in Newmarket (English 1000 Guineas), she would go straight there, but if she runs in Ireland, she might run again.

“She is a lovely-actioned filly, was ready to run today and I think she’ll progress plenty.”

Wide With Delight won on her debut
Wide With Delight won on her debut (PA)

There was a mild surprise in the opening Welcome To The Racing Home For Easter Festival 2024 Fillies’ Maiden, which went the way of Johnny Murtagh’s debutante Wide With Delight (20-1).

Winning jockey Shane B Kelly said: “She is a lovely filly with a really good attitude. Her work has been good at home but we thought she might need the run. I’d say she isn’t too bad.

“We hacked early in the race and I took back to be behind Colin (Keane, on favourite National Lady), as he would bring me where I needed to be if mine was good enough – and it worked out well.

“She pricked her ears out of greenness and had a good look around but she was still going forward. She was a lovely ride, has a great attitude and is really likeable.”

Andy Slattery’s Easy lived up to her name when barely coming off the bridle in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Cork Stakes at 25-1, sparking Royal Ascot dreams for the trainer.

“If I have a Group One horse, this is it. I knew she’d improve from today but we can’t get her off the bridle and she was only half-speeding. I’d say she will improve a lot and hopefully we are heading for Royal Ascot,” said Slattery.

“I never had a horse like her to pull away from horses so easily and that’s how she initially got her name – everything was easy for her.

“I’m going to keep her to five or six furlongs, as she has so much pace and talent. Both Group One sprint races at Royal Ascot would be the plan, along with the Flying Five Stakes at the Curragh.”

He added: “She is back from injury, so hopefully we can keep her sound. I got her back last July but we had a bit of patching up to do with her. She had knee problems, so had to go for an operation. She is in training a long time before today but had no hard gallops done with her.

“She will go on any ground and she is exciting.”

Slattery and his jockey son of the same name had already won the Book Tickets Online At CorkRacecourse.ie Handicap with Independent Expert (17-2).

Da Capo strikes for Cork Glory

Padraig Butler’s Da Capo Glory struck on his seasonal debut to land the EASYFIX Handicap Hurdle at Cork.

The seven-year-old has not been seen since pulling up in the Galway Hurdle in August last year but took no time in hitting his stride this time around.

Under conditional rider Darragh Allen the gelding started a 9-2 chance and toughed it out to prevail by a head on testing soft to heavy ground.

“It is his first run for five months and Darragh (Allen) knows him very well having won a bumper and maiden hurdle on him,” said Butler.

“We couldn’t look past him with his 7lb claim on that ground, which is worth its weight in gold.”

He went on: “This horse was my first winner, he is still flying the flag and is a mighty horse. He isn’t big but is very well bred and jumps hurdles very well.

“He pulled up in the Galway Hurdle when they went a million (miles per hour) and we were behind and beaten after the first hurdle. He didn’t really get a race though but the thing about him is he can hit flat spots in his races.

“He ran well when finishing fourth in the Red Mills Hurdle at Gowran last year and that is an option again.”

Willie Mullins’ Largy Hill got off the mark over obstacles when winning the ITM Irish Stallion Trail 12-13 January Maiden Hurdle under Paul Townend.

The bay is a bumper winner who finished second on his hurdles debut at Navan in November, a run he improved for as he secured a two-and-three-quarter-length victory over Oscars Brother as the 1-2 favourite.

“He stayed nicely, travelled well and with the ground being testing, had to do things right which he did,” said Townend.

“He improved from a good first run (over hurdles) and we were hoping he would improve at this distance.

“He was professional in everything he did and stayed very nicely. That ground is hard work and when I got there, he sized up the last himself. I’d imagine that that is his distance, as the way he races he has no problem with three miles.”

The other maiden hurdle on the card, the Happy New Year From All At Cork Maiden Hurdle, went the way of Thomas Cooper’s D Art D Art, a three-and-a-quarter length victor under Donagh Meyler at 100-30.

The chestnut was well beaten on his hurdles debut at Naas but returned to action at Cork to claim a second career success to add to his prior bumper win last term.

“We dropped him in at Naas but he got crowded and with more light today, jumped savage and was deadly,” said Cooper.

“Ricky Doyle schooled him over hurdles before he ran at Naas and said he never saw a horse go from A to B as quick.

“Sean (Flanagan, on Will Wilde) took him on early doors today and while he was gaining on the flat, my fella was gaining over the jumps. He was low and quick.

“His form is on heavy but yielding ground shouldn’t inconvenience him. I didn’t think beyond today and it is hard to know where to go now.”

Thomas Gibney’s Flamborough won the Annual Membership Available Rated Novice Hurdle as the evens favourite under Darragh O’Keeffe.

“It was a very suitable race and was almost made for him. It’s great if you have a horse who fits into these novice rated races and he did. He didn’t travel great in the race so we are delighted to get the result,” said Gibney.

Ellmarie Holden’s Jet Setting Johnny took the Quays Bar And Bistro Fermoy And The Stables Bar Carrigaline Beginners Chase under Hugh Morgan at 100-30.

The performance was the gelding’s third start over fences and he prevailed by half a length over the two-and-a-half-mile trip.

“That was a long time coming but we got there in the end and Hugh, who is with me full-time now, knows him inside out,” Holden said.

“It looked positive coming here today from a good run the last day although we were concerned about the ground.

“The initial plan was to sell him after point-to-pointing him but that didn’t work out although he is for sale now.”

The 12-year-old R’evelyn Pleasure showed he had plenty to offer still with a half-length triumph in the EASYFIX Handicap Chase.

Partnered by Mark McDonagh, the 13-2 chance was the winner of a veterans’ race at Limerick eight days ago and clearly came out of that contest ready to go again.

“I had to run him back so quick as he came out of Limerick well. They went no gallop at Limerick, he found things so easy so I had to run him,” said O’Brien.

“He ran well in this race a few years ago and I liked him coming today as it was a small field and Mark kept it simple. He toughed it out well and is really enjoying his racing.”

In-form Kennedy bags Cork hat-trick

Search For Glory toughed out victory in the Singletons Supervalu Stayers Novice Hurdle at Cork, completing a treble on the card for jockey Jack Kennedy.

A field of five runners went to post for Grade Three contest, and all of them were still in with some sort of a chance rounding the home turn.

With the strong-travelling Mahon’s Way checking out quickly under pressure, and What Path also faltering in the latter stages of the three-mile contest, it was course and distance winner Solitary Man who threw down the biggest challenge to Gordon Elliott’s 7-4 favourite.

But in truth, Search For Glory was already winning the argument on the approach to the final flight and he asserted on the run-in to score by three lengths.

“He stays well, jumped and travelled great and is a progressive horse. He is a staying horse and hopefully he keeps going the right way now,” said Kennedy.

The in-form rider, fresh from a double at Navan on Saturday, had earlier won the first two races aboard Joseph O’Brien’s Harsh and the Elliott-trained No Time To Wait respectively.

Harsh and Jack Kennedy (right) won the opening race at Cork
Harsh and Jack Kennedy (right) won the opening race at Cork (Niall Carson/PA)

Having finished third on his jumping debut at Punchestown a fortnight ago, Harsh justified cramped odds of 2-5 with an eight-length success in the Bar One Racing ‘Bet 10 Euros Get 50 Euros Sign Up Offer’ 3-Y-O Maiden Hurdle.

No Time To Wait was a 3-1 winner of the Bar One Racing ‘Guaranteed Multiples All Shops’ Maiden Hurdle, with 4-6 shot Western Diego disappointing in fifth.

Of Harsh, Kennedy said: “His last jump was his best and it took him a while to warm into it. Some horses don’t really take to those rubber hurdles but he is a nice horse.

“He is learning away the whole time and it was probably a good race he finished third in at Punchestown. It was nice to get today done.”

Jack Kennedy at Cork on Sunday
Jack Kennedy at Cork on Sunday (Niall Carson/PA)

Cafe Con Leche was a 40-1 winner of the Bar One Racing “Guaranteed Overnight Prices” Handicap Hurdle for trainer Charles Byrnes and owner-rider Anthony Bustin.

Byrnes said: “I’m delighted for Anthony who works for me and he claimed the horse.

“I recommended him for €10,000 as he was looking for a horse to ride and I thought this fella would give him plenty of fun.”

The concluding Greenvalley Transport Novice Handicap Hurdle went the way of the John McConnell-trained West Away (10-1), ridden by Ben Harvey.

Ascot plan, as El Fabiolo enjoys comfortable Hilly Way success

El Fabiolo kicked off the new campaign as he finished the last with a predictably dominant display in the Bar One Racing Hilly Way Chase at Cork.

The Willie Mullins-trained six-year-old was flawless as a novice over fences last season, winning each of his four starts, including a brilliant triumph over Jonbon in the Arkle at Cheltenham.

With Jonbon having advertised his Queen Mother Champion Chase claims with victory in the Tingle Creek at Sandown on Saturday, it was over to El Fabiolo 24 hours later and he did not disappoint.

Mullins had saddled nine of the last 10 winners of the Hilly Way, with Un De Sceaux, Chacun Pour Soi and the currently sidelined dual Champion Chase hero Energumene among those on the roll of honour.

El Fabiolo and Paul Townend on their way to winning the Hilly Way Chase
El Fabiolo and Paul Townend on their way to winning the Hilly Way Chase (Niall Carson/PA)

El Fabiolo was a 1-5 shot to add his name to the list and after travelling well on the heels of the pacesetters for much of the extended two-mile contest, Paul Townend allowed him to take over before four fences from the finish and he quickly took control.

Fil Dor did his best to keep tabs on the leader in the home straight, but despite a peck on landing after jumping the final obstacle, El Fabiolo never looked like coming to grief and was driven out on the run-in to prevail by four and three-quarter lengths.

Betfair and Paddy Power left the winner unchanged at 10-11 for the Champion Chase at Cheltenham in March, with old rival Jonbon rated his biggest threat at 5-2.

Mullins said: “I was a little worried as I had five other runners today and none of them shone so I was thinking this could be one of those days, but he got the job done.

“He was workmanlike and was very free with Paul over the first three fences. He didn’t get too high (in jumping) and Paul was trying to not let his head go and didn’t want him running too free.

“He relaxed at the second fence down the back straight and was able to do things properly. If he needed a race, Jack Kennedy (on runner-up Fil Dor) was there to test him and he did.”

There is a possibility of a pre-Festival clash between El Fabiolo and Jonbon, with Mullins suggesting a trip across the Irish Sea could be next on the agenda for his charge.

He added: “Jonbon did his job nicely, we got the job done today and we all have to get to Cheltenham.

“I don’t where we’ll go now – we’ll look at Christmas as well, but he will probably go to Ascot for the Clarence House (in January).”

The champion trainer also provided an update on Energumene’s well-being, saying: “He is in great shape considering and while he is out for the season, hopefully will be out at some stage.”

Silent Approach causes big upset at Cork

Silent Approach provided her trainer, owner and breeder Con O’Keeffe with the biggest success of his career as she registered a shock victory in the O’Flynn Group Irish EBF Mares Novice Chase at Cork.

Although a winner on her chasing debut at Galway last month, the five-year-old faced a huge rise in class for this Grade Two contest and was priced up accordingly at 33-1.

For much of the extended two-mile contest, things appeared to be going to script, with 6-5 favourite Harmonya Maker setting out to make all the running and provide jockey Jack Kennedy with a fourth successive victory on the card.

However, she hung left approaching the first fence on the second circuit and halfway down the back straight Silent Approach was given her head and allowed to stride on in front by Danny Mullins.

Silent Approach with connections at Cork
Silent Approach with connections at Cork (Thomas Weekes/PA)

To her credit, Harmonya Maker managed to stay in the fight until the approach to the final fence, after which Silent Approach stamped her authority and pulled three and a quarter lengths clear.

“It is a great win and I must dedicate it to my wife Claire, who lost her mother Peggy last week. She was always the first one to ring me after we won a race, so this is great for Claire and my family,” said O’Keeffe.

“We have been jumping hurdles all year, but the lads have been saying to jump fences and she is a fantastic jumper who is improving all the time. We were hopeful, as she was in great form and Danny gave her a fantastic ride.

“We have had the family for three generations and you could write what I know about training horses on a postage stamp, as breeding is our game. I’m delighted for Tadhg (O’Sullivan, co-owner), who has been with me with our horses from the beginning.”

Huntingdon finally succumbs to heavy rain

Today’s meeting at Huntingdon has been abandoned following flooding of the course last night.

The Peterborough Chase card survived inspections on Thursday and Friday but the Cambridgeshire track could not cope with further rain.

This afternoon’s fixture at Kelso was called off yesterday due to excess rainfall and areas of false ground.

That leaves Britain without a Sunday National Hunt meeting, although there will be Flat racing on Wolverhampton’s all-weather circuit.

Over in Ireland, Cork will stage a high-class jumps card featuring three Graded races, including the reappearance of El Fabiolo in the Bar One Racing Hilly Way Chase.

El Fabiolo bids to maintain Mullins’ Hilly Way domination

El Fabiolo begins on a well-trodden path to the Queen Mother Champion Chase when kicking off his season in the Bar One Racing Hilly Way Chase at Cork on Sunday.

His trainer Willie Mullins has won the race a record 14 times, with Douvan, Un De Sceaux, Chacun Pour Soi and Energumene amongst the Closutton alumni to claim this prize en route to the Cheltenham Festival.

Energumene used this as his starting point in both of his Champion Chase-winning seasons, but with his injury setback putting respective hat-trick bids on hold, the door has been opened for El Fabiolo to fill the void.

Unbeaten as a chaser, the six-year-old registered a brilliant Grade One treble last season, winning at the Dublin, Cheltenham and Punchestown Festivals in supreme fashion – and he is already dominating the ante-post betting for the Champion Chase in March.

“He was unbeaten over fences last season and this looks a nice starting point for the new campaign,” said Anthony Bromley, racing manager to El Fabiolo’s owners Simon Munir and Isaac Souede.

“It’s been Willie’s plan from quite a long way out really, to go for this race, and we’re excited to see him back out.

“It’s really good prize-money for a Grade Two. He has got the entry in the Grade One at Christmas and we’ll get the Hilly Way out of the way first, but it could be coming a bit close.

“We’ll just see how he comes out of the race, but it’s all systems go for Sunday. It’s a tried and tested route for Willie – he tries to run his best two-miler in it, and hopefully El Fabiolo might be that now with Energumene on the sidelines.”

El Fabiolo after winning the Arkle at the Cheltenham Festival
El Fabiolo after winning the Arkle at the Cheltenham Festival (Andrew Matthews/PA)

El Fabiolo’s opposition includes a former Closutton stablemate in Jungle Boogie, who is one of two in the race for new handler Henry de Bromhead, alongside convincing Grand Annual victor Maskada.

Barberstown Castle Chase runner-up Fil Dor represents the flying Gordon Elliott team, with Gavin Cromwell’s Grand National runner-up Vanillier and Patrick Foley’s Rebel Gold also taking part.

“We were delighted with Fil Dor at Naas and he’s in good form ahead of Sunday,” said Elliott.

“Naas was his first run of the season and his first run back over fences, so there was a lot of positives but obviously we are taking on a very good horse in El Fabiolo.

“Our lad is in good form, has a run under his belt and there is no point in shying away from one horse. Hopefully he’ll run well.”

Elsewhere on the card, there could be success for Mullins when Grade One-winning hurdler Zenta makes her chasing bow in the Grade Two O’Flynn Group Irish EBF Mares Novice Chase.

The four-year-old hardly put a foot wrong last term, winning at Fairyhouse on her stable debut before finishing third to Lossiemouth in the Triumph Hurdle and then achieving her own big-race victory at Aintree.

Zenta (left) winning at Aintree in the spring
Zenta (left) winning at Aintree in the spring (Tim Goode/PA).

“It’s a nice race to start off with and Willie is happy with her, so let’s hope she jumps a good round and goes well,” said owner JP McManus’ racing manager Frank Berry.

“She’s been very consistent and it was great to get the Grade One with her in the spring. We’re hoping for a good round and for her to run well.”

Zenta faces stern opposition from within her own stable, with Paul Townend partnering wide-margin Killarney winner Hauturiere and the Kenny Alexander-owned Heia also engaged.

Harmonya Maker made a blistering start to her chasing career at Gowran Park and represents Elliott, with Con O’Keeffe’s Silent Approach completing the line-up.

“We couldn’t have asked for more from Harmonya Maker at Gowran and she’s in good form,” Elliott said. “This was the next obvious race for her and we’ll see where we go from here for the rest of the season with her.”

In the Grade Three Singletons Supervalu Stayers Novice Hurdle, big-money buy Mahon’s Way will look to build on an impressive debut over timber at Naas for De Bromhead.

Halka Du Tabert highlights Cork double for Elliott

Gordon Elliott continued his fine run of form at Cork thanks to a double with Halka Du Tabert and Tactical Affair.

Halka Du Tabert justified odds of 4-7 in fine style when hacking up by 20 lengths in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Mares Beginners Chase on her first start over fences.

Third in the Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham last term, the Kenny Alexander-owned six-year-old was cut from 25-1 to 12-1 for the Mares’ Chase at this season’s Festival by Betfair.

Winning jockey Jordan Gainford said: “She was a smart mare over hurdles and was very good today.

“We got down to the start and she wanted to get on with the job and is entitled to come on from the run, as she was gassy and fresh.

“She will be better in a better race with a stronger gallop and will come on a lot from today. She is fine and scopey, her jumping was very good and she had a run in a point-to-point for James Doyle so had plenty of schooling done.

“This is a lovely starting point and hopefully she can improve.”

Tactical Affair showed plenty of spirit to edge out Picture Of You by a short head in the Racing TV Black Friday Offer – Join For Just 12 Euros PM For An Entire Year Maiden Hurdle at 5-2.

Gainford said: “He is a lovely horse and hopefully will come on a lot from that.

“He had to lead, so maybe he didn’t learn as much as we wanted to and he had a good look at the last. It was great for him to get his head in front, though.

“His bumper form was good but he is a fine, big horse who is only a baby and is only coming into himself.”

There was also a double for Willie Mullins, as Readin Tommy Wrong and Meetingofthewaters both justified favouritism.

Readin Tommy Wrong was pushed all the way by stablemate Lisnagar Fortune but held on to prevail by a short head in the I.N.H Stallion Owners EBF Maiden Hurdle.

Owned by Simon Munir and Isaac Souede, the 8-15 chance claimed a bumper double in May with comfortable victories at Ballinrobe and Tipperary and is expected to come on for this debut over timber.

“Some of ours are taking a run at the moment and I think he can build on that,” said jockey Danny Mullins.

“Often, Willie’s biggest problem is he has other horses in the race which can beat them but this was a nice starting point and there is plenty to build on.

“He jumped big over the last two and it was nice to hear his number being called – I was hoping I wasn’t beaten and, in fairness, the other horse has probably improved. Lisnagar Fortune was dropping back in trip, which probably suited.”

Meetingofthewaters survived some sketchy jumps down the home straight to land a gamble in the I.N.H Stallion Owners EBF Beginners Chase, scoring as the evens favourite under Brian Hayes.

The winning rider said: “Patrick (Mullins) owns this fella and told me he really fancied him, so I checked with Philip (Fenton, trainer of unplaced Japers Jack) and he said it was OK to swap.

“Paddy thought he’d win, he had been working well and was confident coming back to a 0-116 beginners, which was a big drop in class. He was confident enough he’d do the business.

“I think he is entered in the (Paddy Power Chase, at Christmas) but this was a 0-116 at the end of the day.”

Union Park has been a progressive chaser this year, prevailing three times over fences in 2023, but connections took advantage of a lenient mark over smaller obstacles in the Cork Welcomes Racing TV Members Handicap Hurdle.

The seven-year-old was rated fully 21lb lower in this sphere and travelled smoothly throughout before finishing strongly to beat Big Debates by half a length at 12-1.

“There wasn’t a suitable chase for him until Christmas but it was always the plan to go back over hurdles,” said trainer Philip Rothwell.

“The horse has built on promise and we let him improve away over fences. That has given him confidence and we are using his hurdle mark at the right time.

“We might even look at going across the water with him at some stage, as I think English racing, where they go a gallop in front, will suit him.”

Henry de Bromhead’s Percy Warner galloped on strongly to oblige at 15-2 in the richest race on the card, the Kevin McManus Bookmaker Handicap Chase.

Sir Bob swoops late for Cork National glory

Sir Bob snatched success in the final strides of the Paddy Power Cork Grand National Handicap Chase.

The Robert Tyner-trained gelding was a 9-1 chance under Simon Torrens for the Listed staying event over three miles and four furlongs.

The 11-year-old had not won since December 2022 and narrowly missed out on a valuable prize when just beaten in the Colm Quinn BMW Handicap Chase at the Punchestown Festival in April.

Success was not assured at Cork until the closing seconds of the race, when Sir Bob edged past Barry Connell’s Call The Tune, the 5-2 favourite, to prevail by a short head.

“That was grand and great that it worked out as his jumping kept him in it,” said Tyner.

“He is inclined to be lazy through his races but once he was there turning in, I thought he had a great chance.

“Staying is his job and he was unlucky in Punchestown when only beaten in a photo finish having been jumped across at the last fence. This is well deserved and he is tough.

“We were happy with his first run back over hurdles but disappointed with his second run, although today’s extra distance helped.

“This is my first time winning this race, it is a good pot and he is an 11-year-old, so it is great to get it. He is getting near the edge in handicaps now but we’ll look to the Porterstown Chase and to longer-distance hurdles now.”

Letsbeclearaboutit continued to make strides in his chasing career with a decisive success in the Paddy Power Feel Like A Favourite Irish EBF Novice Chase.

Gavin Cromwell’s eight-year-old made a winning debut over fences at Gowran in late September, with the form subsequently franked when the second-placed horse, Largy Debut, was runner up in the Munster National.

Letsbeclearaboutit lined up as the 5-4 favourite at Cork and duly delivered when scoring by 10 lengths after a prominent passage through the race and a neat round of jumping under Sean Flanagan.

“He was very good and looks an out-and-out chaser,” Cromwell said.

“You’d have to be excited by him and it was very straightforward for Sean, 11st 2lb is Keith’s (Donoghue) minimum weight so he missed the ride.

“We’ll probably give him a Drinmore entry, it’s four weeks away and that’s what’s on my mind at the moment.

“I don’t think he needs to go three miles, as he has plenty of gears and he loves jumping.”

Enda Bolger enjoyed a Listed victory on the same card when Solitary Man scored by two and a half lengths in the Paddy Power “I Still Call It Twitter” Irish EBF Novice Hurdle.

Darragh O’Keeffe did the steering and rode the five-year-old to a smooth success.

“Darragh said he’s manning up all the time and his jumping is excellent,” Bolger said.

“After the last day here, I was saying that he had been busy enough and would we leave him alone, but I just saw the entries and said we’d have a shot at it. It was a good call and good prize money to get.

“I don’t know what I’ll do now – he definitely likes nice ground and I’d prefer to put him away. He’s only five and if they’re good, they’re worth minding, so we mightn’t see him now until the spring.

“Fences will be his real thing, so maybe we could eventually look at a beginners’ chase at Killarney.”

Foniska an easy Navigation Stakes winner at Cork

Foniska made every yard of the running to take home Listed honours in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Navigation Stakes at Cork.

Trained by Jessica Harrington and ridden by Shane Foley, Foniska was sent off a 12-1 for the mile prize having last been seen when beating only one horse home in the Sandringham Stakes at Royal Ascot in June.

That run came on quick ground, but conditions were much more testing at Cork, with Foniska relishing the challenge to come home three lengths clear of Snapraeterea and Clever And Cool beaten a further two and a quarter lengths in third.

Foley felt a combination of front-running tactics and soft to heavy ground had played to the Galileo filly’s strengths.

He said: “She has enjoyed making the running in the past. She had a good run in the Salsabil in Navan on deep ground and I think the key to her is ground.

“She went to Ascot when the ground was very firm and came back sore, but Mrs Harrington and (daughter and assistant) Kate have done a good job to get her back.

“Her work has really come on in the last couple of weeks and we were quietly confident coming down today, with the ground the way it was. I liked the way she picked up between the three (furlong pole) and the two and even down to the one again. She kept quickening and gave me a feel.”

Foniska sports the colours of the Niarchos family’s Flaxman Stables and Foley added: “I think she is improving and I don’t know if she’s in the (owner’s) dispersal sale or not, but if she stays in training, she will definitely compete in those better races next year on soft ground.

“Jessie will be delighted as the Niarchos family are massive supporters of our yard and it is a good time to be having good winners with the sales on.”

Moracana makes most of Cork opportunity

Moracana came with a withering run to mow down Irish Lullaby and take the feature Irish Stallion Farms EBF Noblesse Stakes at Cork.

The five-year-old had plundered a valuable mile-and-five-furlong handicap at Leopardstown on Irish Champions Weekend, but had been well held in two Listed races thereafter.

Sheila Lavery’s daughter of Elzaam was consequently sent off an unconsidered 22-1 chance in the mile-and-a-half Listed race, where the money was for the former David Menuisier-trained Ottilien, who was bought by American celebrity chef Bobby Flay after she finished third in the Prix de Royallieu at Longchamp in October.

Now in the hands of Joseph O’Brien, the evens favourite set out to make the pace as usual under Dylan Browne McMonagle, but she tired in the soft ground with a furlong to run.

The sectionals suited those who found cover and Robbie Colgan timed his run to perfection to score by half a length, with Annerville staying on for third.

Lavery could not hide der delight and said: “After she won a big handicap on Champions Weekend in Leopardstown, we thought she wanted soft ground, so were really looking forward to two late runs in Naas. But how wrong did I get that? She hated it.

“Robbie just said that she was so relaxed and knew, when he pulled her out, she would get there. That was a class ride.”

She added: “I had the grandmother, her mother and bred her, so and it is great for a filly to get black type – it is what you want. I sold her to Sue (Chadwick) after her run in Navan.

“She will stick to good ground now and quite often I jump up too quickly, so baby steps. She is so relaxed she could stay further and I’ll sit down and have a proper look at her upcoming races now.”

Bachasson extends winning run with Cork glory

The prolific Bachasson led his rivals a merry dance to secure a 17th career victory in the Bar One Racing Chase at Cork.

The Willie Mullins-trained grey is in the twilight of his career at the age of 12, but proved the fire still burns bright when making a successful return from over two years off the track at Clonmel last month – his sixth win in succession.

Despite facing a six-time Grade One-winning stablemate in Chacun Pour Soi, who was testing the water over three miles for the first time in a bid to turn around his form, Bachasson was the 6-4 favourite to add to his tally and made every yard of the running in the hands of Sean Flanagan.

Chacun Pour Soi loomed up looking a threat on the run to the final fence, with Feronily also bang in the mix, but Bachasson found plenty once challenged to prevail by three and a quarter lengths, with Feronily narrowly beating Chacun Pour Soi to the runner-up spot.

Flanagan said: “I actually texted David Casey yesterday morning when I saw nobody down to ride him. That’s my third ride for Willie and my second winner, so I’ll try to keep up the strike-rate!

“Bachasson was attacking his fences and was very quick through the air. Obviously he liked the bit of nicer ground today and did it well. He is very very clever and still has loads of enthusiasm.

“He is a classy horse and every time he straightened up and saw a fence, he priced his ears and was attacking all the time – I was taking him back on the flat.

“He doesn’t feel like he’s a 12-year-old.”