Tag Archive for: Jonathan Sweeney

Churchstonewarrior has bright future after fine Naas run

Jonathan Sweeney is hopeful there is more to come from Churchstonewarrior after his promising placed performance in the Lawlor’s Of Naas Novice Hurdle.

The seven-year-old was a 25-1 chance for last weekend’s Grade One feature, with eventual winner Ginto at the head of affairs as the 5-4 favourite.

Ginto – who cost a princely €470,000 at the sales – justified his odds with an impressive victory to cement his Cheltenham credentials, but Sweeney’s gelding ran pleasingly in fourth having travelled and jumped well throughout under Mark Walsh.

The race was the horse’s first foray into top-level action, having previously finished second in a Grade Three at Cork in early December.

Prior to that he was successful in both a maiden and a novice hurdle and has bumper form from last season with a Thurles success under his belt.

“I was delighted with him, you’d have to be wouldn’t you?” Sweeney said.

“It was a high-quality race, it was definitely was, and I thought he ran very well.

“It was a big step and I suppose it’d be the best run he’s had yet.”

Sweeney has no confirmed plans as of yet, but a graduation to chasing is the long-term goal with a novice campaign over fences the expected target next season.

“We’ve got to put a bit of a plan together to see where we’ll go next, but he’s fine and he’s come out if it really well. We’re very happy with him,” he said.

“He’s a lovely horse who seems to be taking everything in his stride.

“Please God he’ll be something to look forward to not just this year, but also next year over a fence.”

Sweeney considering Naas assignment for Churchstonewarrior

Jonathan Sweeney is thinking of taking on the big guns with Churchstonewarrior in the Lawlor’s Of Naas Novice Hurdle at the County Kildare track on Sunday.

The Cork trainer admits it would be a dream come true to win a Grade One race, although he has yet to decide whether to throw the seven-year-old in at the deep end.

Potential rivals include Gordon Elliott’s duo of Ginto and Hollow Games, Henry de Bromhead’s Grand Jury and the Willie Mullins-trained Whatdeawant.

“It would be a dream to have a Grade One winner, it is for everyone in racing, but you have to keep tipping away in the meantime and to have a horse that might be good enough to run in it is great,” said Sweeney.

“You never know, the prize money is very good and if you’re not in, you can’t win any of it but we’ll wait until closer to the time to decide whether or not he will definitely run. It is a classy race, as you’d expect of a Grade One, and Gordon Elliott’s two horses set the standard.”

Churchstonewarrior won his first two races this season at Sligo and Thurles but was a beaten favourite at Grade Three level when runner-up to Nell’s Well at Cork.

“He hasn’t done a whole lot wrong and it’s been a good year for him, winning his bumper at Thurles last January before finishing second back there over hurdles,” said Sweeney.

“Then he won a maiden hurdle at Sligo and was better again at Thurles. He was second in a Grade Three at the beginning of the month and the first reaction might have been a little bit of disappointment as we thought he had improved again going into that race but Denis O’Regan, who rode him, said he actually ran very well and had definitely improved.

“It was just that Sean O’Brien’s horse Nell’s Well ran better and she has run well again since then, so it obviously wasn’t a bad run.”

Churchstonewarrior continues progression at Thurles

Churchstonewarrior is likely to be stepped up in class over the festive period following a battling victory at Thurles on Thursday.

A runaway winner of a bumper at the County Tipperary circuit in January, Jonathan Sweeney’s charge made a successful start to the current campaign over hurdles at Sligo last month.

The six-year-old had more on his plate in the I.N.H. Stallion Owners EBF Novice Hurdle, with recent winner Idas Boy among his four rivals.

But after travelling strongly for much of the way under Denis O’Regan, Churchstonewarrior knuckled down to get the better of Noel Meade’s charge by half a length.

“It was a good performance and Denis was good on him – he rode him with fierce confidence, that’s the way he rides and he was very good,” said Sweeney.

“He is a lovely, improving horse and is coming forward the whole time. I still think it’ll be another year before he is a proper horse.

“Today’s race was a grand race to progress in and we’ll see what’s coming up. We might wait for the Dorans Pride Novice Hurdle at Limerick over Christmas.”

The opening BetVictor Irish EBF Beginners Chase looked a strong race on paper, with Gordon Elliott’s The Bosses Oscar and the Willie Mullins-trained Stratum the market principals after Meade’s likely favourite Beacon Edge was withdrawn.

But victory went to Paul O’Flynn’s 9-1 shot West Cork Wildway, who passed the post with a length and a half in hand under Darragh O’Keeffe.

“He was very good. He did today what we hoped he’d do the last day in Killarney when he was just unlucky and made a mistake first time over fences,” said O’Flynn.

“He learned from it and is a nice horse going forwards.

“I don’t know how far he’ll go, but I’ll take him as far as he can.”

No hurry to decide on Festival outing for Roseys Hollow

Connections are in no rush to decide whether to send Roseys Hollow to next month’s Cheltenham Festival following her impressive victory at Fairyhouse on Monday.

Bought by leading owner JP McManus after winning a Cork bumper on her racecourse debut last spring, the Jonathan Sweeney-trained seven-year-old was subsequently beaten on her first two starts over hurdles before making it third time lucky at Fairyhouse last month.

Roseys Hollow faced a step up in class for the Grade Three Solerina Mares Novice Hurdle, but proved too strong for hot favourite Royal Kahala, leading to several bookmakers promoting the winner to ante-post favouritism for the Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle in the Cotswolds.

Sweeney said: “She seems fine since the race – I’m very happy with her.

“She’s the first mare I’ve trained for JP. I recommended her to Frank (Berry, owner’s racing manager) prior to her winning in Cork as we always liked her.”

Asked whether Cheltenham would be next on the agenda, the trainer added: “No decision has been made and no plans have been made yet.

“I had a runner in the Champion Bumper last year (Mahler Allstar). He was my first runner at the Festival.

“We’ll take it one day at a time with this mare and talk to the lads and put a plan together.”

Roseys blossoms with Solerina success

Roseys Hollow stepped up on her course-and-distance success of last month to take the Grade Three spoils in the Race Displays Solerina Mares’ Novice Hurdle at Fairyhouse.

The Jonathan Sweeney-trained seven-year-old, owned by JP McManus, ran out a ready winner in what was a strong renewal of this two-and-a-quarter-mile contest.

Henry De Bromhead’s pair of Kapard and Brave Way made the running with Delvino close by until the nine-strong field became tightly-packed after the third-last flight.

Mark Walsh brought Roseys Hollow (17-2) to lead after jumping the second last and she kept Royal Kahala, the 11-10 favourite at bay, to score by two lengths.

“She did that nicely, so it’s great to step up again today. I couldn’t be happier,” said Sweeney.

“It looked to be a very strong field. Today was the plan and we’ll take one day at a time. I’ll have a chat with Frank (Berry, owner’s racing manager) and see what they put together.

“You’d be always hoping to have one like that. That’s my third Grade Three win with a mare and my third runner in a Grade Three.

“Minutestomidnight won the mares’ bumper at Punchestown and Barnahash Rose won the Shannon Spray Hurdle in Limerick.”

Roseys Hollow was slashed to 6-1 from 20-1 for the Grade Two Daylesford Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival with Betfair.