Tag Archive for: Gowran

Haydock on alert for the weekend with weather warning in place

Haydock’s clerk of the course Dan Cooper has admitted the decision to water on Tuesday ahead of racing on Friday and Saturday now looks “questionable” with rain having hit the Merseyside track on Wednesday morning – with more on the way.

The going was good to firm, good in places and five millimetres of water was applied to the track, with some rain forecast.

However, the weather outlook changed for the worse and an amber weather warning is now place, ahead of a card that is due to see the return of the unbeaten Vandeek plus a high-class cast for the Temple Stakes.

“We’re currently in the midst of a large weather event. There’s a mixture of yellow and amber weather warnings and the forecast really deteriorated for us yesterday in the late morning and afternoon,” said Cooper, speaking on a Zoom call at lunchtime.

“We’ve essentially got a position where they’ve declared this morning (for Friday) on good to firm, good in places, I’ll go on another afternoon walk and then an evening walk.

“We’ll more than likely be changing the ground to good very shortly and I should imagine by the morning it will be good, potentially good to soft in places. Then we have a dry Thursday and Friday by the looks of things – I’m assuming that the ground will probably stay at the slower side of good.

“We had a difficult decision to make on Tuesday with irrigation. The decision was made in light of the forecast and we were confident in that being the right decision, but that same forecast has since deteriorated which makes the decision look questionable. I understand and I have to say it was made with the detail that was at hand at the time.”

Warwick called off Wednesday’s jumps fixture after 42.5mm of rain left the track waterlogged in places, while heavy rain also accounted for Gowran’s Flat card.

King Of The Bronx produces 200-1 shock at Gowran Park

There was a rare 200-1 triumph on Thursday, as Nigel Slevin’s King Of The Bronx struck in the Golf At Gowran Park Claiming Race.

In a field of 12 the three-year-old was afforded little chance by bookmakers when all but ruled out at his massive price, with the closest in the market a handful of 50-1 chances.

Ridden by Robbie Colgan, King Of The Bronx at one stage looked worthy of his price when of the bridle, but he then began to progress three furlongs from home and picked off tiring rivals to claim a three-quarter-length success from Dynamite Defense.

“That was a surprise anyway!” said Slevin of the victory.

“I was hoping he’d be one for handicaps. Robbie said the race fell apart in front of him and in fairness to him he stuck at it.

“We were off the bridle going up the hill on the far side, but he stayed on past a few and got a bit of confidence with that. He got there in the end.

“He has schooled over hurdles already so we’ll see what we can do with him.”

But whether King Of The Bronx goes over hurdles will be down to new trainer Gavin Cromwell, after he was claimed for €20,000.

Whiskeywealth secures Listed honours for O’Brien

Whiskeywealth took a successful step up to Listed level to land the Holden Plant Rentals Shamrock Handicap Chase at Gowran.

The eight-year-old, who was fourth behind Jonbon on his final point-to-point start, won a two-mile Naas handicap last time out.

That run was a return to form after he disappointed in the Grade Three Dan & Joan Moore Memorial Handicap Chase the time before, finishing eighth in a field of 11.

This time he was the 5-2 favourite under 7lb claimer John Shinnick and ran his race towards the front of the field, sticking to the task resolutely on the run in to claim a length-and-three-quarters victory.

“He was very disappointing in the Dan Moore. I thought I’d got it wrong and he wasn’t good enough but I’d say he hit a flat spot on the day,” O’Brien said.

“Today was a bit lower class but he did it well. He was in great form coming here and I was hoping he’d run a good race.

“He’s been very consistent, and we’re delighted to get a good pot. He was due to run in this race last year, but he scoped wrong a couple of days beforehand.

“He’s still improving and that was a career best over fences.”

Port Joulain made the perfect start to his career under rules when cantering home in the “Doc’s Bumper” INH Flat Race.

The five-year-old is trained by Willie Mullins and was purchased for £300,000 for Rich Ricci after a six-length pointing win.

Under Patrick Mullins he was the 11-8 favourite to score at the first time of asking for new connections and he duly did so, finding the contest light work when triumphing by two and quarter lengths from Henry de Bromhead’s Good N’ Kind with the rest of the field strung out behind them.

“He was on my Cheltenham Bumper team but I couldn’t get him ready in time, so I put him by for this race and I’m very pleased with him,” said the winning trainer.

“We’ll probably have a look at a winners bumper at the big festivals.”

Mullins had earlier been on the mark with Aime Desjy (2-7 favourite) in the Holden Fleet Management Beginners Chase and Annamix (9-2) in the INHSC Supporting Point-To-Points Tetratema Cup Hunters Chase, demonstrating the yard’s fine form heading into the Cheltenham Festival.

Mullins added: “The first load of horses have left for Cheltenham and the last ones were on the gallop this morning. All the work is done now and we’ll see how the ball bounces now for the rest of the week.”

Saint Sam honours Maureen Mullins with Gowran triumph

Saint Sam was a poignant winner of the Red Mills Chase at Gowran Park for Willie Mullins.

Maureen Mullins died at the age of 94 earlier this week and the wife of legendary trainer Paddy and mother of perennial champion Willie was a former director at the track.

Saint Sam, having his first run of the campaign, never saw another rival in the hands of Paul Townend as the 10-11 favourite beat Riviere D’etel by eight and a half lengths.

“Granny would have enjoyed that and it’s a pity that she’s not here to be in the (winning) picture,” said Patrick Mullins, who is assistant to his father.

Saint Sam and jockey Paul Townend return victorious
Saint Sam and jockey Paul Townend return victorious (Niall Carson/PA)

“It was a great performance and great to have the owners Ed and Mary Ware here.

“The Red Mills Chase was one of the races we pinpointed at the start of the year.

“Small fields suit him – he likes to get on with things and wears the hood. He’s hot and we were a bit worried that he’d be a bit fresh on his first run and do too much on the heavy ground.

“Paul got a few breathers into him.

“Those Grade Twos or Grade Threes are where he’s most comfortable and he could go to Fairyhouse.

“He is a better chaser than he was a hurdler and loves jumping.”

Lantry Lady and Rachel Blackmore clear the last
Lantry Lady and Rachel Blackmore clear the last (Niall Carson/PA)

Lantry Lady (13-8) looks a smart mare for the future as she maintained her unbeaten record in the Red Mills Trial Hurdle.

Gone are the days the race is seen as a Champion Hurdle Trial won by the likes of Hardy Eustace, Macs Joy and Danoli but for a mare the Grade Three black type will prove very valuable indeed.

Trained by Henry de Bromhead and ridden by Rachael Blackmore, she had won her only previous race, also at Gowran, by a wide-margin in testing ground.

Lantry Lady clears the last
Lantry Lady clears the last (Niall Carson/PA)

Doyen Ta Win tried to make all but was beaten three out which left just Gordon Elliott’s What’s Up Darling as the only rival left but he found the receipt of a stone too much and there was almost 10 lengths between them at the line.

“She’s obviously a really nice mare and I’m delighted for the Marigas (owners) who are great supporters of ours,” said De Bromhead.

“She was impressive here last year in her maiden hurdle and then we put her away as she was a bit immature.

“She’s just had a couple of niggles so it’s taken us a while to get her going again. I was concerned about fitness and it was only her second run.

“She’s confirmed what she did in her maiden hurdle and stepped forward again. She’s a lovely mare to go breeding with in years to come.”

As for future plans he said: “She’s entered in the Mares’ Hurdle at Cheltenham and we’d love to go. It’s a step up in trip, but she would strike us at home as all she does is stay.

“I’d say she definitely wants a good ease in the ground so we would be cautious of that.

“The guys would love to go to Cheltenham and I think she is entitled to.”

Angels Dawn aiming to realise Thyestes plan

Kim Muir winner Angels Dawn is aiming to give her connections another famous victory before she is covered in the spring when she lines up in the Goffs Thyestes Handicap Chase on Thursday.

Trained by Sam Curling, the nine-year-old mare beat Gavin Cromwell’s Stumptown, a winner at Cheltenham on New Year’s Day, by a neck at the Festival last March.

She went on to finish sixth in the Irish National after that and has had just two runs over hurdles this season in order to protect her handicap mark for this valuable pot.

“This has been the plan for a good while,” said Curling.

“She’s had a couple of spins over hurdles and she’s come on for those, the ground should suit hopefully and she has a nice weight, so she has plenty in her favour.

“The testing ground helps, I don’t think she has to have it but she seems to handle it better than most. It will be very soft there.

“I think the Irish National was just a step too far for her, she’d had a long enough year, she probably just ran a bit flat but she still ran with plenty of credit. It was just a step too far in the end.”

Whatever happens at Gowran, this looks sure to be her last season racing, with a stallion date booked in.

“This is the aim this year and we’ll see how she gets on and then make a plan after that,” said Curling.

“She’ll be covered this spring either way, whatever happens. We’ll just see what happens after that, we won’t over race her anyway.

“She’s been a star for us and owes no one anything.”

Barry Connell’s Espanito Bello has a curious record that has seen him win five times in 19 races, all at Naas.

The owner-trainer admits he has no real idea what sort of performance to expect but hopes the fitting of a first-time visor will have the desired effect.

Espanito Bello is a bit
Espanito Bello is a bit “quirky” according to Barry Connell (Niall Carson/PA)

“If we could put a sign up that said ‘Naas’ I think that might help, all his wins have come there!” said Connell.

“He’s a bit quirky. We ran him in Navan the last day and he didn’t perform, I don’t know why, there’s no particular reason.

“All I can say is he’s well. We’ve put a visor on him so we’re hoping that might have the desired effect.

“He did run well in the race last year (fifth) off a long break. He has the ability, he’s well capable of winning a race like the Thyestes off the mark he’s on but he does come with a health warning. I’m going there hopeful, but I couldn’t be convinced how he’d run.

“At the end of the day, he’s won nearly every year we’ve raced him, he’s won over €100,000, so if every horse you had was capable of doing that it would be great.

“If the visor works he’s well capable. I will go through the programme at Naas after this and see what there is there for him.”

Longhouse Poet (red hat) has run in the last two Grand Nationals at Aintree
Longhouse Poet (red hat) has run in the last two Grand Nationals at Aintree (PA Wire)

Martin Brassil runs Longhouse Poet, just 1lb below the top-weight Bronn. He has been well fancied for the Grand National at Aintree the last twice.

“I thought it wasn’t a standout Thyestes,” said Brassil.

“There’s a couple of horses well-in and he has loads of weight, so if he runs well and gets a bit of prize-money we’d be happy.

“He’s been an unlucky horse at Aintree. He did too much in his first outing there, he went too fast (when sixth), then he only got to the Canal Turn last year when it got a bit tight and J J (Slevin) was unseated.

“It’s a race that is made for him (Aintree), but there’s lots of horses like him with the same profile and you just need so much luck in that race.”

Gordon Elliot runs six but the red-hot Jack Kennedy has sided with Dunboyne, beaten a short head in the race 12 months ago.

“The weights went up which was good so I get to ride Dunboyne. He was just touched off in the race last year so he likes it around there,” said Kennedy.

“I won on him around there earlier in the year last year as well, so hopefully he’ll run well.”

Willie Mullins’ Monkfish is due to make his anticipated return to action in the Grade Two John Mulhern Galmoy Hurdle.

He was declared to run at Tramore on New Year’s Day but was a non-runner due to a temperature.

Jackie Oh strikes Gowran gold

Jackie Oh gained a first Pattern race success as she stayed on for Group Three glory in the Darley Rathbride Stakes at Gowran Park.

Hailing from a family that includes Breeders’ Cup winner Line Of Duty, Jackie Oh won a Naas maiden on her racecourse bow in March but had been out of luck since, hitting the bar in Listed company before being beaten just under six lengths when fifth in the Irish 1,000 Guineas.

She failed to sparkle in a competitive handicap at Royal Ascot – but partnered by Colin Keane, the Aidan O’Brien-trained filly certainly made her presence felt in this nine-furlong contest.

Jackie Oh stayed on to excellent effect in the final furlong, eventually accounting for Village Voice by a cosy three lengths as a 3-1 shot.

While she still holds an entry in next week’s Nassau Stakes at Goodwood, stable representative Chris Armstrong felt a swift return would be unlikely, with Irish Champions Weekend in September a possible target.

He said: “She’s a filly that has had a few good runs already. Colin gave her a lovely ride.

“The ground, at this stage, is probably important to her. That’s a very important bracket to get with her pedigree.

“A mile-and-one or a mile-and-two is probably her trip. Aidan left her in the Nassau at the confirmation stage the other day just as a back-up and it will probably come too soon.

“We’ll probably give her a bit of time and maybe bring her back on Irish Champions Weekend for something like the Blandford Stakes.

“She could go to France as well, she has plenty of options. She’s a lovely filly and it’s nice to get the win for Triermore Stud as well.”

Maxux makes sparkling debut for Odriozola

A bit of La Liga glitz and glamour hit Gowran Park on Sunday when Maxux made an impressive debut in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Fillies & Mares Maiden.

The Joseph O’Brien-trained three-year-old is owned by Real Madrid player Álvaro Odriozola who recently tasted Copa del Rey glory with the Spanish giants but takes a keen interest in both racing and breeding in his spare time.

The daughter of Frankel is a sister to Cunco, the Group Three winner who was the first of the sire’s progeny to make the racecourse – and she went someway to justifying the 200,000 guineas she commanded at the sales, making good headway to work her way into the contest before pulling clear in the closing stages to register four-and-three-quarter-length victory at 12-1.

Assistant trainer Brendan Powell said: “She is very relaxed and chilled out at home. She is a typical Frankel. She has got an engine, will stay further and Mikey (Sheehy) said he thinks she could be pretty smart.

“She loved the ground and will stay up to a mile-and-a-half no problem. We will try and get a bit of black type with her and she will be a nice broodmare prospect for her owner down the line. His big passion is breeding so hopefully this is a smart one for him.”

Knight charges home on Gowran debut

Dermot Weld appears to have a smart prospect on his hands after the well-bred Knight To King made an eyecatching winning debut at Gowran.

By Kingman out of Nightime, a Galileo mare who won the Irish 1,000 Guineas for Weld, the newcomer could not have been any more impressive in the Kings Of Ossory (C&G) Maiden.

Sent into an early advantage by Chris Hayes, once into the final two furlongs, he just pulled further and further clear.

The 10-11 favourite ended up coming home seven and a half lengths clear of the Ger Lyons-trained My King, also owned by Newtown Anner Stud Farm Ltd.

“He’s a really nice colt, he had been working exceptionally well. All the family take a little bit of time and we’re in no hurry with him,” said Weld.

“He’s come forward in the last few weeks. He’s a very good actioned horse, so I didn’t bother with him in the spring on heavy ground. Please God, we’ve lots to look forward to.

“It’s a great family for us and he’s always shown us talent. He was very immature, mentally and physically but he’s coming forward nicely.

“I’ll have a chat with Maurice Regan and we’ll decide where we go with him. I won’t make any decision until I see how he comes home and comes out of the race.

“Obviously we’ll go into stakes level with him now, there are many ideas in my mind.

“He’s very straightforward and I said if there was no pace to make the running on him. The one thing we didn’t want was a messy race with no pace.

“He was out there in front, he has a lot to learn. I think he jumped the road and Chris said he looked at everything. He’ll learn a lot today and he’s a really good colt in the making.

“He quickened up the Old Vic (gallop) the other day like a horse that would be very effective, even, over six furlongs.”

Nightime was a Classic winner for Dermot Weld
Nightime was a Classic winner for Dermot Weld (Kim Houghton/PA)

Four-time Group One winner Ghaiyyath and Man o’ War Stakes winner Zhukova feature among his half-siblings and Weld feels Knight To King compares favourably.

He said: “I think he’s pretty similar to them. They all progress and get better with age, they are all very good. Hopefully he’ll follow in their footsteps.

“He showed so much pace the other morning that I was surprised, in some ways, but he’s bred to get a mile and a half.

“The reason that I came here today with this colt is because it’s beautiful ground here in Gowran.”

Ghaiyyath is a half-brother to Knight To King
Ghaiyyath is a half-brother to Knight To King (Bill Selwyn/PA)

While Knight To King is a son of Kingman, Ghaiyyath is by Dubawi and Weld revealed he has a two-year-old full-brother to the latter horse in training.

He added: “We have a very nice full-brother to Ghaiyyath called Duraji that we like a lot.”

Fil Dor fends off Sharjah in Gowran Trial

Gordon Elliott’s Fil Dor made a winning switch to timber when landing the Red Mills Trial Hurdle at Gowran Park.

Ridden by Jordan Gainford, the grey had previously enjoyed a highly successful hurdling career as a four-year-old – finishing second in Grade One juvenile contests at Cheltenham and Punchestown.

A graduation to fences has not been unsuccessful, with the five-year-old a winner on debut and then third in the Racing Post Novice Chase, but he was well beaten by El Fabiolo in the Irish Arkle when last seen.

On his return to hurdles, Fil Dor was a 4-1 shot in a field of six and was in the company of stablemate Doctor Bravo and 4-7 favourite Sharjah turning for home.

The former horse faded after the final flight, leaving Fil Dor to put his head down and hold off Sharjah for a half-length success.

“He is a smart horse who had a little blip the last day over fences and it is great to see him come back and enjoy it,” said Gainford.

“You could scratch his last run as it wasn’t himself and he got into a lovely rhythm out there today.

“He jumped very well and when it came down to the battle, he saved plenty for it.”

Ian Amond, Elliott’s assistant, added: “He didn’t look like he was in love with the fences the last day, so Gordon and Andy (Brown, of owners Caldwell Construction Ltd) decided to come back over hurdles to get confidence back into him.

“He’ll probably stay down the hurdles route now after today and we’ll see what Gordon says about running at Cheltenham.

“There is plenty of time to go back over fences later on but after winning there, you’d be surprised if he goes back over fences this season.”

Janidil landed the Red Mills Chase
Janidil landed the Red Mills Chase (PA)

Willie Mullins’ Janidil was the winner of the Grade Two Red Mills Chase at 7-2 under Rachael Blackmore.

All eyes were on fellow Mullins inmate and 4-6 favourite Haut En Coleurs, with Capodanno also running for the Closutton team.

However, after taking a wide line amongst a field of four, Janidil returned from a significant absence and put two non-completions at the end of last term behind him to prevail by a length and a quarter from the market leader.

Speaking before Shishkin’s impressive Ascot victory, Mullins said: “It was a nice comeback for Janidil and he was straighter than I thought he was. It puts him right in the Ryanair picture I think and he is a little further advanced that I thought he was on his homework. It was a nice surprise.

“It is always nice to win this Red Mills race and we feed nothing else!”

He added “I thought it was a slow enough pace early on and Rachael got a good tune out of him over the last three fences.

“I am happy enough with Haut En Couleurs as well and whether or not he goes to the Ryanair, I don’t know but we’d have to supplement him for it. That is a possible target but we’ll see.

“The trip was too short for Capodanno and I could have waited until next week for the Bobbyjo Chase, but I wanted to get a run out out of the way quicker. He is in the Gold Cup and is also in Aintree (Grand National) so we’ll have a chat with connections and think about it.”

After watching Shishkin’s Ascot Chase demolition, Mullins told Racing TV: “Looking at Shishkin on the TV, that’s got to put him in as (Ryanair) favourite, that was a huge performance.”