Tag Archive for: Dundalk

Bowen breaks duck at Dundalk

Sean Bowen rode his first ever winner at Dundalk on just his fifth attempt when Ajax Tavern won the Irishinjuredjockeys.com Claiming Race in fine style.

Just like his namesake who plies his trade over jumps in the UK, Bowen hails from a famous racing family as his uncle, John Nallen, trains point-to-pointers and bred both this year’s Gold Cup and Grand National winners in Minella Indo and Minella Times.

The 16-year-old rider’s mother, Liz, manages the famous Hotel Minella in County Tipperary.

“I just got my licence at the end of September and that’s my fifth ride so far,” Bowen said after partnering Denis Hogan’s 14-1 shot to victory.

“He was lazy enough after jumping off but then started travelling and turning in he lit up. It’s a great feeling.

“I’m riding out for Denis two days a week and the rest of the week with my uncle John Nallen. I’m still in school but doing a transition year at the moment, which has given me a chance to focus on it.

“I did pony racing for a few years and had 10 winners. It was a great help riding finishes and starting – a great benefit.”

Prolific Colin Keane equals Irish record

Colin Keane equalled Joseph O’Brien’s record of 126 winners in a season in Ireland when steering Torn to victory at Dundalk.

The 27-year-old, already guaranteed a third Irish jockeys’ title this season, got the well-backed 13-8 favourite home in the opening Irish EBF Median Sires Series Fillies Maiden.

It was a fitting success because Keane is stable jockey to Torn’s trainer Ger Lyons – although the filly got into the race only as a reserve before making the most of her opportunity to get off the mark at the third attempt.

Torn was held up in second-last place in the early stages and kept hidden until the straight, where Keane produced her on the outside to challenge eventual runner-up Queens Command. Hitting the front in the final furlong, Torn won by a cosy three-quarters of a length.

Keane was champion for the first time in 2017 and regained the title last year, while O’Brien notched up his biggest tally when claiming it for the second year running back in 2013.

Keane has had this year’s title race sewn up for some time, and victory on Torn took him 50 clear of his closest pursuer Shane Foley – who was in action at Newmarket.

Among Keane’s notable successes of 2021 are Group Ones on Helvic Dream in the Tattersalls Gold Cup and, further afield, Broome in the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud.

In 2020, he enjoyed his first Classic victories on Siskin in the Irish 2,000 Guineas and Even So in the Irish Oaks – as well as the Breeders’ Cup Turf on Tarnawa.

After equalling the record, Keane said: “It’s brilliant to get it. I’m in a very lucky position, because I ride for a lot of great people.

“I have great people around me, have a very good agent – and I’m riding nice horses.

“All those things together make this happen. It’s been an unbelievable season – the way it has gone from strength to strength, and we’ve had some nice winners in between.

“To get to this number is just unbelievable to be honest.”

Assistant trainer Shane Lyons added: “It’s a massive thrill for us for him to get the record in Sean Jones’ colours, because he’s been our main stalwart.

“Sean will get a kick out of it, and we’ll get an even bigger kick.”

Dundalk next for Breeders’ Cup hopeful Quick Suzy

Quick Suzy is set to to warm up for a trip to the Breeders’ Cup in a Listed event at Dundalk rather than Newmarket’s Cheveley Park Stakes.

Winner of the Queen Mary Stakes at Royal Ascot in June, Gavin Cromwell’s filly has since struggled when encountering more testing conditions in the Prix Morny at Deauville – albeit only beaten little more than four lengths.

With the Breeders’ Cup top of the agenda for Quick Suzy’s American owners Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners, the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Legacy Stakes on October 1 is viewed as a more suitable stepping stone to Del Mar than the Group One Cheveley Park on September 25.

Joseph Burke, spokesperson for her owners, said: “Quick Suzy’s main objective this year is the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint. That has always been her main target – that’s what she was purchased to do.

“With that in mind, Gavin suggested we have changed her prep race and she’s going to go for a five-furlong Listed race at Dundalk on October 1.

“She’s had her three runs in Ireland, then she travelled to England for a run and then she travelled to France.

“Travel is a little bit more difficult than it used to be. If we were to go for the Cheveley Park, she’d go across on the boat and then it’s six hours in a box down to Newmarket, run in a Group One and then six hours back to the boat again before being put on a flight to America a few weeks later. We also don’t know what ground we’ll encounter there, whereas at Dundalk it’s a given.

“We all agreed that on balance, it is the right move with a view to having her peak at Del Mar.”

Gavin Cromwell (right) with Quick Suzy at Royal Ascot
Gavin Cromwell (right) with Quick Suzy at Royal Ascot (David Davies/PA)

Burke added: “She’s in really good form and has improved physically over the summer and strengthened up.

“While we fully believe she’s capable of winning a Cheveley Park, we don’t want to lose sight of the bigger picture – and if it came down to a choice of winning at Newmarket or winning at the Breeders’ Cup, with all due respect, there’s only one winner for her owners. It’s on their home turf, with the offices of Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners being close to the track.

“Gavin and his team will aim to get her to Del Mar in as good a shape as possible – and running at Dundalk, which is just down the road from Gavin’s base, makes a lot of sense.

“It’s a measure of the trainer that Gavin is that he is placing the filly and her owners first by sacrificing his chance to win his first European Group One on the Flat – something that he will do very soon, having already won a Group Two on Arc weekend.

“Instead, he is completely focused on the Breeders’ Cup, and he and his team are doing a fantastic job with her, so we’re very excited about what lies ahead.”

Amhran Na Bhfiann makes victorious Dundalk return

Amhran Na Bhfiann made an impressive return to action with a wide-margin win at Dundalk on Wednesday evening.

The four-year-old was a shock 66-1 third behind fellow Aidan O’Brien-trained runner Serpentine in last year’s Derby at Epsom, when he was having just his third career start.

Amhran Na Bhfiann was subsequently beaten at short odds in a Naas maiden in August and had been off the track until lining up in the Crowne Plaza Hotel Dundalk Maiden.

Partnered by Seamie Heffernan, the Galileo colt could be called the winner a long way from home and eventually passed the post 13 lengths in front of second-placed Boola Boola.

Heffernan said: “He’s a sound, strong horse and I’d say he has a future.

“The instructions were ‘he stays’. Sometimes jockeys use their brains and it’s totally the wrong thing to do!

“He has a high rating and he’s a very genuine, strong galloper.”

Four extra meetings added to Dundalk schedule

Dundalk is to hold four extra meetings early in 2021 in a bid to alleviate the recent high level of entries.

Horse Racing Ireland has responded to the significant number of horses being balloted out of races at each of the last three fixtures.

The additional meetings at the County Louth track are scheduled for January 11 and 20, February 1 and 17.

These are all scheduled for the afternoon, with the exception of January 20 which is an evening card.

HRI director of racing Jason Morris said: “We have had representations from the Irish Racehorse Trainers Association, the Restricted Trainers Association and the Association of Irish Racehorse Owners, all of whom have expressed serious concern.

“We are therefore pleased to be able to provide these additional opportunities during January and February to augment the existing programme.
 
“We envisage scheduling four or five races at each of these new meetings to allow for potential divides of multiple races to create eight-race cards at the additional fixtures. This approach has worked well in the past.”

Romanised settles for third as Saltonstall sparkles at Dundalk

Saltonstall continued his rapid progression as he proved too strong for hot favourite Romanised at Dundalk.

Ken Condon had been planning to use the Test Your Tipping Talents At PUNTERS.HOLLYWOODBETS.COM Every Dundalk Meeting Race as a prep for a trip to Hong Kong with his 2018 Irish 2,000 Guineas winner Romanised.

However, the odds-on favourite was very slowly away under Billy Lee, conceding up to six lengths on leaving the stalls.

He quickly made the ground up though, and went by Saltonstall heading down the back straight as Lee looked confident turning for home.

Romanised hit the front still on the bridle over a furlong out, but when Lee asked him to quicken, there was little response and Saltonstall (9-4), who had won his last two for Ado McGuinness, stayed on strongly under 7lb apprentice Sam Ewing.

Harpocrates stuck on gamely to pass Romanised for second, three-quarters of a length behind Saltonstall.

“I can’t fight with the handicapper anymore anyway, that’s for sure,” said McGuinness.

“We put him in this race by chance as he was going so well. People probably thought I was mad running him here after running in the mud, but he’d been here a couple of times and he just floats on the surface.

“Sam was very good on him and it’s great for everyone involved. That’s his fourth win of the year and he’d just a superstar of a horse to have. I’m just thrilled to have him.

“He’ll get a break now, he won’t go travelling. Lingfield could be a possibility for him, but I think we’ll target stakes races on soft ground at the start of next season.

“I don’t know about the Galway Mile next year – I’d want a 20lb claimer on him! It’s a great problem to have with a horse.

“I’m praying to God that I can keep his form the way it is. He’s just turned inside out with age and I’m delighted to have him.”

Mercury Stakes to be run in memory of Pat Smullen

Pat Smullen will be remembered at Dundalk on October 16, with the feature Mercury Stakes run in his honour.

The nine-times champion and multiple Classic winner was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in March 2018 and died last month at the age of 43.

While Smullen accomplished an impressive amount in the saddle, he also undertook some notable charity work following his retirement in May 2019 on medical advice.

Smullen raised €2.5million for Cancer Trials Ireland, with a legends charity race at the Curragh on Irish Champions Weekend drawing support from the likes of Sir Anthony McCoy, Ruby Walsh, Kieren Fallon and others.

Malih Al Basti was a long-standing friend of Smullen and hopes the Group Three Al Basti Equiworld, Dubai Pat Smullen Mercury Stakes will prove a fitting memorial.

He said: “Pat was a terrific horseman and a great friend.

“I hope this race will provide all those who knew him or admired his achievements from afar with an opportunity to reflect on a true racing legend.”

The track’s chief executive Jim Martin added: “We are delighted that Al Basti Equiworld, Dubai has chosen to honour Pat with a race at Dundalk, where he rode his first winner, Vicosa, for trainer Tom Lacy in June 1993 and his last aboard Anthony McCann’s Togoville in March 2018.

“We have enjoyed some great moments with Pat in between and look forward to celebrating his outstanding career with this prestigious event later this month.”

Bowerman sparkles with Diamond success at Dundalk

Bowerman gave trainer Adrian McGuinness a first Pattern success with victory in the Al Basti Equiworld, Dubai Diamond Stakes at Dundalk on Friday.

Sent off a 10-1 shot, Bowerman stepped up from his defeat in the Desmond Stakes last time to run out a half-length winner of this Group Three affair under Colin Keane.

While McGuinness had sent out Beau Michel to win in Graded company over obstacles, the handler was striking at Group level for the first time on the Flat.

He said: “He’s an unbelievable horse. Colin said he’s so relaxed.

“We worked him up here during the week and he was very good. He’s a dream horse to have and I’m delighted for the lads, the Total Recall Racing Club.

“They’re very loyal owners and have been very, very lucky.

“That’s the first Group race I’ve ever won, so I’ll remember it.

“He’s probably going to be finished for a while, but if some of the Middle East races open up later on the year, he’ll head out to one of those places – Dubai or he could go to Bahrain or Doha if we can get an invitation.

“I’m thrilled to bits. I’m lucky to have two or three very nice horses and that’s what it’s all about. When you get those type of horses, you can go an awful lot more places.

“I know what it’s like coming down here with 47-65 horses. I’m 18 years at it now and we’ve been lucky to get good owners in.”