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Rachael Blackmore taken for assessment on leg injury

Rachael Blackmore was taken to hospital for further assessment on a leg injury after suffering a heavy fall at Killarney on Friday.

Having steered Baltinglass Hill to a nose victory in the preceding race, the Grand National-winning rider was partnering 11-10 favourite Merry Poppins in the Download The BoyleSports App Handicap Hurdle when parting company at the fifth obstacle.

The 32-year-old was attended to on track by medics before being moved into an ambulance.

Rachael Blackmore with Honeysuckle at Cheltenham
Rachael Blackmore with Honeysuckle at Cheltenham (David Davies/Jockey Club)

The Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board posted an update from Dr Richard Downey on Twitter which read: “Rachael Blackmore is being taken to Tralee Hospital for further assessment on an upper leg injury following a fall in Race 4 at Killarney. She is fully conscious.”

In March Blackmore became the first woman to ride the winner of the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham, aboard the brilliant mare Honeysuckle, and her six winners at the Festival saw her crowned leading jockey.

The following month her profile reached stratospheric levels after she became the first woman to land the world’s most famous steeplechase at Aintree aboard Minella Times.

Mehnah sparkles on Rouge return at Killarney

Mehnah looked an exciting filly as she started to make up for lost time with an eye-catching performance to win the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Cairn Rouge Stakes at Killarney.

The Kevin Prendergast-trained three-year-old overcame a wide draw on her return following a setback that prevented her from running in the Irish 1,000 Guineas and the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot.

The daughter of Frankel, who is a half-sister to 2016 Irish 2,000 Guineas victor Awtaad, showed her class in this Listed contest on what was only her third career start.

She was given a patient ride by Chris Hayes as Holly Golightly, Queen’s Speech and Thinking Of You were to the fore in the early stages.

Mehnah (2-1 favourite) improved her position steadily and came with a strong challenge on the outside in the straight to lead inside the final furlong.

Wearing the famous blue and white colours of Shadwell Estate, she won cosily by three-quarters of a length from Emaniya with Thinking Of You a length away in third place.

Hayes said: “She had an awkward, niggly injury 10 days before the Guineas and it was baby steps since making sure it didn’t come back. It is a muscle up high behind and she was very under cooked but fit enough for today’s level – we have her 75-80% fit.

“I’d imagine he’ll (Prendergast) want to go up in trip with her and maybe the Group Three over a mile and a furlong at Gowran could be a target. I think she is a Group One filly and I think she would be a good ride in the Matron or Sun Chariot.

“People don’t realise, but (from stall 16) you are basically on the road and had to cover a lot of ground. I got in as best I could but from two and a half furlongs down I’ve had to come widest of all and she has taken a blow.

“She is a very good filly.”

Mehnah ready to sparkle on Rouge return

One-time Classic hope Mehnah bids to get back on the winning trail in Wednesday’s Irish Stallion Farms EBF Cairn Rouge Stakes at Killarney.

A winner on her racecourse debut at Dundalk in the autumn, Kevin Prendergast’s filly made a most encouraging start to her three-year-old campaign when narrowly beaten in the 1,000 Guineas Trial at Leopardstown in April.

A tilt at the Irish 1,000 Guineas was firmly on the agenda before injury intervened, meaning she will make her first competitive appearance in three months in Wednesday’s Listed contest.

Angus Gold, racing manager for Mehnah’s owners Shadwell Estate, said: “She ran a very good race (at Leopardstown) and we were aiming for the (Irish) Guineas before unfortunately she pulled a muscle behind, which meant we had to ease up on her.

“She’s back in good form apparently. Obviously being drawn highest of all doesn’t necessarily make the task any easier, but other than that it’s a perfect race for her and I spoke to Kevin and he seems very happy.

“We’ll try to win a stakes race with her first. If that goes well, we can look around and have a bit of fun with her.

“The interesting thing with her will be what her trip is. She just got beaten over seven furlongs in the Guineas trial, this race is a mile and I’d always imagined she’d be a mile-and-a-quarter filly, but I don’t know that.

“Let’s try to get her back on track and see where we are.”

Mehnah features in a maximum field of 15 runners plus two reserves.

Joseph O’Brien has a trio of contenders in Neptune Rock, Sense Of Style and Thinking Of You, while father Aidan saddles recent Bellewstown scorer Friendly and Queen’s Speech.

The Ger Lyons-trained pair of Acanella and Amber Kite also feature along with Flirting Bridge from Henry de Bromhead’s yard.

Mehnah to return at Killarney

One-time Classic hope Mehnah is set to reappear in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Cairn Rouge Stakes at Killarney this week.

Trainer Kevin Prendergast has earmarked Wednesday’s Listed contest over a mile as her comeback run following a setback.

The daughter of Frankel tweaked a muscle which ruled her out of the Irish 1,000 Guineas at the Curragh and also the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot.

But the half-sister to Prendergast’s 2016 Irish 2,000 Guineas winner Awtaad has been back in work for several weeks, and is ready to return to action.

“She runs in the Listed race in Killarney on Wednesday,” said the County Kildare trainer.

“She couldn’t be better. We look forward to running her there, and hopefully she’ll put up a good show.”

Mehnah has had just the two career starts, both over seven furlongs.

She made a winning debut at Dundalk in September, and just failed to catch Keeper Of Time in the Group Three 1,000 Guineas Trial at Leopardstown in April.

Samcro back in business with Killarney victory

Samcro returned to winning form with a tenacious success in the Grade Three An Riocht Chase at Killarney.

Dual Cheltenham Festival hero Samcro has been out of sorts in just three starts since his thrilling 2020 Marsh Novices’ Chase victory.

But Gigginstown House Stud’s nine-year-old – pulled up in his last two races, both at Grade One level – was back to somewhere near his best as he pounced on the front-running Cilaos Emery after the final fence to win by a neck under Jack Kennedy for trainer Denise Foster.

Samcro was conceding weight all round and drifted out to a starting price of 6-1.

But he showed his well-being as he stuck close to the pace set by Cilaos Emery throughout, and then would not be denied in a stirring finish – while Peregrine Run, bidding to win this race for a third successive time, had to settle for third, seven lengths further adrift after a mistake at the last.

Kennedy, who also won the Grade One Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle at the 2018 Festival on Samcro, was full of praise for his rejuvenated partner.

“He battled very well, was very tough – and we haven’t seen that since he won the Marsh Chase in Cheltenham,” he said.

“It is great to see it.

“He came off the bridle early in the straight but he stuck at it very well.

“The ground is nearly yielding on the chase course, and I think better ground could suit him better again.”

Samcro may therefore remain busy in the coming months – including a possible bid for the Galway Plate.

Kennedy added: “I think he could have a nice summer campaign on good ground – that’s the ground he wants.

“He beat a good horse today, and it is great to see him back.

“The Galway Plate could be an option – but we’ll take it from here and see how we get on.”

Blackmore in fine form with Killarney treble

Rachael Blackmore enjoyed a hat-trick of winners during a successful day on the opening card of Killarney’s three-day May meeting.

Mr Tambourine Man triumphed on his second run over hurdles when taking the Follow Killarney Races On Instagram Maiden Hurdle to give the Grand National-winning jockey the first leg of her treble when riding for trainer John Halley.

The four-year-old was previously campaigned on the Flat by Aidan O’Brien and joined Halley’s yard in April to embark on his jumping career.

The Galileo gelding was fourth on his hurdling debut at Kilbeggan, a run he built on to come home eight lengths ahead of San Pedro.

“He had a lovely run the last day in Kilbeggan so (he was) stepping up on that,” Blackmore said of the 4-1 scorer. “It was great he could do that today.

“John does loads of schooling with them, but the penny is still only dropping with him on the jumping side of it.”

Blackmore sealed a double after steering Henry de Bromhead’s Cavalry Master to a four-and-a-half-length victory in the Jim Ryan Racecourse Services Novice Chase.

A seven-year-old by Milan, the grey Cavalry Master (2-1) was an impressive winner at Kilbeggan and handled another furlong on this occasion with aplomb.

“He stepped up again from the last day and is taking to chasing very well,” Blackmore said.

“In the past he won a two-mile bumper at Kilbeggan, so we weren’t sure if he’d stay, but the last day he stayed really well.

“He was up in trip a little further again today and stayed on well again.”

Gin On Lime (15-8) then became Blackmore’s third winner when she prevailed in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Mares Beginners Chase for De Bromhead, easily beating stablemate and 7-4 favourite Tune The Chello by 42 lengths, having been left clear two out.

“She is a very good mare on her day and really enjoyed it there,” Blackmore said.

“She had a little break and seems to have come back from it really well.

“The ground is on the better side of yielding, she jumped and travelled brilliantly and could go through the summer.”

Noel Meade’s Jesse Evans could head for the Galway Hurdle after victory in the Kelly Farm Modernisation Ltd Handicap Hurdle.

The 9-2 winner was a competitive third at Punchestown and improved on that run to succeed by half a length under Sean Flanagan.

“He is obviously a smart horse and his run at Punchestown was his first in a competitive handicap and it has sharpened him up,” the jockey said.

“He might need a trip in time or exactly what we have had today, a really strong gallop – the Galway Hurdle could be a possibility.”

Getaway Gorgeous became a Listed winner when taking the Tourist Attraction Mares Hurdle for Brian Hayes and Willie Mullins.

Running for the first time since finishing last of 23 runners in the County Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival, the mare was this time triumphant as she defeated Western Victory by a length and a half.

The seven-year-old was kept towards the rear of the field for much of the race, but began to pick her rivals off in the final furlongs and overcame a messy jump at the last to prevail at 11-2.

“She landed there at the back of the second-last and I had to keep going then and she jinked at the last when she got a bit of light and was wandering around a bit,” Hayes said.

“She was due to run without a hood in Punchestown, but slipped up on the way to the start and was withdrawn, so today was only her second run without a hood and having no hood today maybe lit the fire again and she won well.

“She ran OK when finishing 10th in the Paddy Mullins Hurdle (in February) which worked out to be a great race and I was delighted with her today.”