Tag Archive for: Limerick

Teahupoo rallies to lift Limerick Hurdle

Teahupoo secured top honours in a thrilling renewal of the BoyleSports Sporting Limerick Hurdle.

Gordon Elliott’s charge was the 8-15 favourite for the Grade Two feature following a 12-length victory over the reopposing Quilixios in the Grade Three Fishery Lane Hurdle at Naas last month.

Quilixios, a former stablemate of Teahupoo who went on to win last season’s Triumph Hurdle at Cheltenham for Henry de Bromhead, was next in the betting at 11-4.

Teahupoo led the way for much of this two-mile contest under Jordan Gainford, but looked set for minor honours after Quilixios and Darragh O’Keeffe swept into a clear lead from the home turn.

However, there was an unexpected twist in the tale after the final flight, with Teahupoo rallying for pressure and getting back up to prevail by half a length.

“He was a bit idle in front and we didn’t go mad. It actually suited me when I had something to attack at over the last two. He really put his neck out for me and tries,” said Gainford.

“He winged the last two and is a smart horse to look forward to in the spring.”

Betfair cut Teahupoo to 12-1 from 16-1 for the Champion Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.

Robert Tyner saddled a treble on the card, initiated by Big Debates (11-2) in the Greenmount Equine Hospital Rated Novice Hurdle under 5lb claimer Jack Foley.

Split The Bucket (4-1) struck gold in the Connolly’s Red Mills Irish EBF Auction Maiden Hurdle in the hands of Mark Walsh, who later steered Womalko (5-4 favourite) to win the Party Time Handicap Hurdle.

Split The Bucket in the Limerick winner's enclosure
Split The Bucket in the Limerick winner’s enclosure (Alan Magee/PA)

Tyner said: “Big Debates won well. He’s been consistent and he’ll probably go back over fences again. We’ll see what’s suitable for him.

“We always liked Split The Bucket a lot but he just had a lot of little problems, nothing major. He has a nice way about him.

“The horses are in good form and it’s nice to get the three on one day.

“I think I had a treble in Clonmel before and I’ve had three winners seven times in point-to-points.”

Concertista puts in winning performance at Limerick

Concertista handled the step up in trip to win the BoyleSports Irish EBF Dawn Run Mares Novice Chase at Limerick.

A winner at the Cheltenham Festival in 2020, she was beaten in a photo finish back there in March and had her attentions switched to fences this season.

Good enough to win a Grade Two event on her chasing debut at Cork, that came over two miles and she was stepping up to two and three-quarter miles on this occasion – and in very testing ground.

There was no hanging about either, as Kitty Galore shot into an early lead, ensuring there was plenty of pace on.

Concertista’s main market rival Sayce Gold was an early faller and Sean O’Keeffe was content to give the leader plenty of rope.

It proved a good decision as along with Darrens Hope, they reeled in Kitty Galore on the run to the last and the 1-2 favourite pulled four lengths clear at the post.

“She was obviously very high class over hurdles, I was very happy with her jumping today and stepped forwards a lot jumping-wise and fitness-wise from her first run,” said O’Keeffe.

“At the top of the hill Kitty Galore had a good lead, but my mare was picking up loads and I knew turning into the straight my mare would pick her up easy. I was always confident on her and she was good and clever at the last.

“Her class shows true and Willie (Mullins, trainer) has done a very good job keeping her sweet. Hopefully she will improve again and it was a very nice performance.”

Mullins, speaking from Leopardstown, said: “I thought Sean gave her a brilliant ride because he’s only young, she was a hot shot but he didn’t panic.

“He kept her jumping and it’s very hard when you are so far out of your ground, especially one of John Ryan’s because they jump and gallop.

“It was a huge ask for a young fellow but he timed it perfectly. For a mare having her second run over fences, she jumps likes a handicapper. She was very slick and very sharp.

“She’ll go to Cheltenham and probably have another run somewhere. It could be a year too early but there’s the mares’ chase.”

Master McShee gives Paddy Corkery and Ian Power winner to remember

Master McShee provided trainer Paddy Corkery and jockey Ian Power with the biggest success of their careers when pipping Farouk D’alene in the BoyleSports Faugheen Novice Chase at Limerick.

Given a brilliantly patient ride by Power, Master McShee pounced on the short-priced favourite after the last to get there in the final stride.

Gordon Elliott’s Farouk D’alene was never far from the pace, which in the very testing ground was not overly rapid.

It was Joseph O’Brien’s Fire Attack who set it, with Gavin Cromwell’s Gabynako never far from away but not able to dominate or jump as well as he had in the Drinmore when a close second on much better ground.

All the while Master McShee crept closer under Power and as the front rank dropped away one by one, he moved into a menacing position.

Farouk D’alene seemingly had done enough approaching the last as Jordan Gainford held a two-length advantage and when he jumped it well that should have sealed the deal.

However, Master McShee also flew it and was closing with every stride and while it looked like his effort was going to be in vain as the pair crossed the line together, the 10-1 chance got the verdict by a short head.

The winner was having just his second start over fences, finishing third behind Bob Olinger in his chasing debut.

Corkery said: “He burst a blood vessel in a Grade One hurdle last February, but we knew he was a Grade One horse and to be honest we were confident we had a right chance.

“We took out the cotton wool, started nursing him and it didn’t work so we started training him properly this year. I built a shed outdoors and he started working well from that.

“It is a fantastic result and I’m thrilled.

“Rumour has it we turned down good money, but he wasn’t for sale – you can’t buy something that’s not for sale. This is my enjoyment and my wife and kids will tell you it is a passion. I get up in the morning and ride him out every day.

“I started hunting at the age of 40 and I’m enjoying it and that’s the most important thing.

“I bought this horse from John and Morgan Sheehan and I bought another horse from them recently and would be very disappointed if he’s not as good as this fella.”

He added: “I’m delighted to have given Ian his biggest winner – he is a nice fella, we get on well and he has been perfect on the horse. The horse is an absolute gentleman to his fingertips and is a beautiful horse to have anything to do with.

“A glass of wine is the short-term plan, and a few pints of Guinness if I can get them!”

Elliott ‘sweet’ on Farouk D’alene in Limerick feature

Rising star Jordan Gainford could steal the limelight at Limerick on Sunday when he partners Farouk D’alene in the BoyleSports Faugheen Novice Chase.

The 3lb claimer enjoyed a breakthrough success at Cheltenham in March when The Shunter won the Paddy Power Plate and now has his first ride in a Grade One, on what is also his return from injury having suffered a broken wrist in a fall last month.

Trained by Gordon Elliott, the Gigginstown House Stud-owned Farouk D’alene was a smart novice hurdler, beating Gavin Cromwell’s Vanillier in a Grade Two at this meeting 12 months ago, and made a winning chasing debut at Navan earlier this month.

Gordon Elliott talks with Jordan Gainford
Gordon Elliott talks with Jordan Gainford (Niall Carson/PA)

“I couldn’t be happier with him,” said Elliott.

“He has come out of Navan well. That was his first run since Limerick last Christmas so I would be expecting him to come forward a bit from that, but he’ll need to as he is going in at the deep end now.

“It looks a hot race and Gavin has a couple of nice horses in there, but that is what you get in these Grade One races.

“Jordan wouldn’t have ridden a horse with a chance like this in a Grade One before.

“I think he’s got a proper chance, I think he’ll love the soft ground. He has improved no end from his first run at Navan. I’m very sweet on him”

Vanillier jumped well when getting off the mark over fences at the second attempt
Vanillier jumped well when getting off the mark over fences at the second attempt (Lorraine O’Sullivan/PA)

Cromwell has declared both Gabynako and Vanillier – but should the going at Leopardstown ease Vanillier is likely to be rerouted.

Cromwell is in the enviable position of training two of the nicest novice chasing prospects in Ireland and would ideally prefer to split them up over Christmas.

Albert Bartlett winner Vanillier had been booked in for the Neville Hotels Novice Chase at Leopardstown on Wednesday, but with watering having taken place to stop the ground getting quick, Cromwell has left him in at Limerick over a trip which would be short of his best.

“Basically the thinking behind it is that my preference is for Vanillier to run at Leopardstown, hopefully they get the rain,” said Cromwell.

“We’ll know plenty more come Christmas Day or Boxing Day morning.

“It would be a shame for them to have to take each other on at this stage, more so because we know three miles is more Vanillier’s trip while two and a half is perfect for Gabynako.”

Gabynako looked sure to record a Grade One win of his own in the Drinmore at Fairyhouse only to make mistakes at the final two fences and be caught by Beacon Edge.

“He made a couple of mistakes and that cost him. We gave him a school on Tuesday and he jumped very well.

“In his beginners’ chase around Fairyhouse he was exceptionally good. He jumped well. He jumped well in the whole in the Drinmore but down over the last two he just made mistakes at the vital time that probably cost him the race.

“Vanillier would appreciate three miles more, he’s a real galloper and a good jumper.”

Joseph O’Brien runs two, Fire Attack and Global Equity.

“Fire Attack is a horse that has always had a lot of talent, but hasn’t helped himself by racing too freely. We decided to try something different for his chasing debut in October and Shane Fitzgerald made all the running on him,” O’Brien told Betfair.

“He settled much better there and produced a good winning performance. This is a much stronger race, but I wouldn’t like to rule him out.

“Global Equity got off the mark over fences at Galway in October. She took her chance in Grade One company at Fairyhouse last time and didn’t run too badly.”

Jessica Harrington’s Lifetime Ambition, Noel Meade’s Lieutenant Command and Paddy Corkery’s Master McShee complete the field.

Rothwell planning to appeal against Limerick penalty

Philip Rothwell is to appeal over the decision of the Limerick stewards to fine him €2,000, suspend jockey Adam Short for 10 days and ban Duffys Hodey for 60 days following a running and riding inquiry.

The penalties were handed out following the first division of the Fexco Asset Finance Handicap Hurdle in which Duffys Hodey, a 28-1 chance, stayed on in the closing stages to finish sixth of 14 behind Lake Chad.

Duffys Hodey was found to have lost a shoe during the two-mile race and was being ridden by Short for the first time.

“I am part of a syndicate that owns this horse and I will definitely appeal it – 100 per cent appeal it. It will be my third appeal in the last number of months and I don’t want to be in this position,” the County Wicklow trainer told Racing TV.

“I am mesmerised. I can’t believe it. Halfway down the back it was questionable whether he should stay going.

“I saw he stayed on and when I went in (to the stewards’ room) I watched it on TV and didn’t know why I was there at all.

“The horse has never jumped or hung left before. I could see he was feely and missing a shoe.”

Rothwell, who enjoyed his first winner at Cheltenham for 15 years with Mc Alpine on Friday, went on: “Thankfully we got the minimum fines and penalties, but Adam had never been in a running and riding inquiry in 1,500 rides and I’ve never been found guilty before in three or four thousand runners.

“He was ridden prominently last time and didn’t quite get home, so we dropped him in and stayed on which is the right way to ride him going forward. However, he hung very badly to the left and jumped to the left.”

The stewards also wanted to examine the performance of favourite Strong Roots, who finished ninth, but his rider Gavin Brouder suffered a fall in the following race and could not attend the inquiry, so the matter will be sent to the Referrals Committee for hearing.

Chatham Street Lad all set for Munster National

Mick Winters is confident stable star Chatham Street Lad is ready to put up a bold bid under top-weight in the JT McNamara Ladbrokes Munster National at Limerick.

The Beneficial gelding was rated just 118 this time 12 months ago, but makes his return from a summer break on Sunday from a lofty perch of 151 after four victories last season.

Chatham Street Lad enjoyed big-race success at Cheltenham in December when landing the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup – and finished a creditable fourth in the Marsh Novices’ Chase on his return to the Cotswolds for the Festival in March.

The nine-year-old was last seen dominating his rivals in a Grade Three novice chase over the Munster National course and distance at the end of the March, and is reported in good shape for his reappearance.

Winters said: “He seems in good form and looks well in himself. The only little worry is that the two horses we ran at Tipperary the other day ran a bit average – that’s the only question.

“He’s done plenty of work, and his coat looks good. A bit of rain to keep the ground loose would be a help.

“I hope he’ll run a good race. It’s a great race to be taking part in, after the way the weather has been in the last week.

“I don’t think he’ll want anything for fitness, and he looks a picture.”

John Ryan could saddle as many as three runners, with the well-fancied Fairyhill Run and her stablemate Waitnsee potentially going to be joined by Dromore Lad, who was first reserve following the declaration stage.

The Templemore handler admitted to being frustrated after both Fairyhill Run and Waitnsee missed the cut for last month’s Kerry National at Listowel and is hoping compensation awaits for one or the other this weekend.

“The two mares are in cracking order, and there’s not a lot between them,” said Ryan.

“Fairyhill Run has won her last three and is a really exciting novice, while Waitnsee won a Grade Three in Cork earlier in the year, and I think she’s back to her best.

“It’s obviously not ideal having prepped them for Listowel, because we had to let them down and build them back up again, but I’m very sweet on the two of them.

“Hopefully Dromore Lad gets in as well. He won the Cork National last year and he could run really well if the ground is soft.”

Henry de Bromhead’s progressive novice Cavalry Master bids to make it four from four this season, while Pat Fahy’s Mister Fogpatches can be expected to improve from his comeback run at Listowel a couple of weeks ago.

Willie Mullins and Gordon Elliott are set to saddle two runners each.

The former has declared Ontheropes and Sapphire Lady, and Elliott is represented by Aramax and The Big Lense.

Mrs Milner ready for Limerick comeback

Cheltenham Festival heroine Mrs Milner is set to return to action on the Munster National undercard at Limerick on Sunday.

The Flemensfirth mare provided trainer Paul Nolan with his first winner for a decade at the showpiece meeting at Prestbury Park when charging home to land the Pertemps Final in March.

Mrs Milner subsequently sidestepped an engagement at the Punchestown Festival, but is reported to be ready to make her seasonal debut in this weekend’s Irish Stallion Farms EBF Cailin Alainn Mares Hurdle.

“The plan at the moment is to run. She seems in good form, and we’d like to get her going again,” said Nolan.

“Hopefully the ground will be safe and will stay on the safer side of good – that’s what we’re hoping for.

“You just have to be careful at this time of year, because the ground can change, and the last thing we want to do is jar her up on the first run of the season.

“We’ll start off over hurdles and see where we are. We can always change our mind as the season goes on.”

Chatham Street Lad straight back to winning ways after Cheltenham

Chatham Street Lad had no trouble stepping up to three miles to easily win the Hugh McMahon Memorial Novice Chase at Limerick.

A creditable fourth to Chantry House in the Marsh Novices’ Chase at Cheltenham just 10 days previously, the nine-year-old showed no ill-effects from that run.

Trainer Mick Winters thought this Grade Three heat was a good opportunity to try the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup winner beyond an extended two and a half miles, and so it proved when he outclassed his four rivals.

Chatham Street Lad travelled beautifully throughout, just off the pace set by Defi Bleu and Full Time Score, until Darragh O’Keeffe made his move after the third-last fence.

The even-money favourite cruised into the lead and sealed victory with a superb jump at the last, to come home 11 lengths clear of Defi Bleu. Full Time Score was 48 lengths back in third place.

“He thrived on the conditions and had more time to fiddle his jumps and I never saw Darragh so happy,” said Winters.

“He travelled over to Cheltenham fiercely well, but the ground had dried that little extra fraction for him and I was half-thinking of pulling the plug and not running him.

“I did feel he came home out of Cheltenham very well in himself and he loved these conditions today. I know you put your head on the plate a bit, but you can’t hide.

“The way he jumped there, you wouldn’t mind running him in a National on heavy ground, but I’ll leave that up to the owners.

“There is great prize-money now, like the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup over in Cheltenham, and great sponsorship and the money today was outstanding.”

Chatham steps up in trip for quick reappearance at Limerick

Chatham Street Lad makes a swift return to action in the Hugh McMahon Memorial Novice Chase at Limerick on Sunday.

The Mick Winters-trained nine-year-old was not disgraced in the Marsh Novices’ Chase at Cheltenham last week, beaten less than 10 lengths by Chantry House.

He had earlier caused something of a surprise when a 15-length winner of the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup at Cheltenham in December.

Chatham Street Lad faces just four rivals, but they include Henry de Bromhead’s Full Time Score, who lifted a maiden hurdle in February and was sent straight over fences the following month when winning at Gowran.

“He seems to be fine after Cheltenham,” said Winters.

“The ground is soft which he’ll like, but it’s his first time over three miles – I think he’ll stay it.

“It might be his last run this season, we’ll see. He’s eating up though and hasn’t told me I shouldn’t be running him.

“I’m just keen to see if he stays three miles and with the ground as it is, I wanted to run.

“The jockey (Darragh O’Keeffe) just said at Cheltenham he made a mistake at the wrong time and met a bit of trouble. He didn’t look out of place, though.

“I was happy enough with his run, he could have maybe finished a bit closer without interference.

“There’s only five runners, so hopefully he can win. He’s come a long way this season.”

Dove takes flight for Limerick prize

Scarlet And Dove overcame one bad mistake to land short odds with an all-the-way win in the Grade Two Charleville Cheese Irish EBF Mares Novice Chase at Limerick.

Joseph O’Brien’s seven-year-old had to concede 3lb all round, up in trip following her Flyingbolt win at Navan this month, but was sent off a well-backed 8-11 favourite to do so.

She relished the heavy ground, in the feature race on a card which had to pass an early-morning inspection, seeing off eventual fourth Avellino by the second-last en route to an impressive seven-length success from the staying-on Minx Tiara.

There was, however, one very worrying moment early in the back straight for jockey Donagh Meyler – when Gigginstown House Stud’s mare did well to stay upright after hitting the fence hard and then pitching on landing.

After Scarlet And Dove nonetheless sealed her third course victory, Meyler said: “She has been good to me – she picked up a Grade Three last week and a Grade Two today. The race cut up, but we reaped the rewards.

“She jumped the next few fences well after making her mistake, and is learning the whole time.

“She was matching strides with (Cheltenham Festival contender) Colreevy the whole way at Thurles – and I didn’t think I was out of it when she fell.

“Her jumping wasn’t brilliant that day, but is coming on with every run. Hopefully she’ll progress again and meet (Colreevy) again in the future.”

Darrens Hope had earlier returned to winning form, and improved on her third-placed effort 12 months ago, with a valuable success in the Grade Three Kerry Group Irish EBF Shannon Spray Mares Novice Hurdle.

Kevin Brouder had owner-trainer Robert Murphy’s seven-year-old off the pace set by Sayce Gold, but always within striking distance.

Sayce Gold was still in front in the straight and appeared to have her opponents on the stretch.

But 13-2 shot Darrens Hope challenged between the last two flights for a comfortable two-and-three-quarter-length win from Ballyshannon Rose, with Sayce Gold having to settle for third.

Murphy said: “I’m over the moon.

“She is a fine mare, and I knew there was a good one in her. We were hoping the ground would suit her today – she was lame a week before her second-last race, but she was perfect today and was at home on that ground.

“We’ll go over fences next season, and we’ll look to Fairyhouse or Punchestown next.”

Limerick double for De Bromhead and Blackmore

Henry de Bromhead and Rachael Blackmore combined to claim two winners on the belated final day of the Christmas Racing Festival at Limerick.

The six-race card was saved and swiftly re-scheduled to a midweek slot, following Sunday’s abandonment because of a waterlogged track.

Proceedings got under way with the ‘David Fitzgerald – Take It Easee’ Maiden Hurdle, which saw French import Kalkas open his Irish account at the second attempt.

Third on his only start in his homeland a year ago, Kalkas subsequently changed hands for £210,000, but was comprehensively beaten on his debut for De Bromhead at Navan earlier this month.

However, dropping back in distance, the 2-1 shot raised his game in the hands of Blackmore – ploughing through the mud to beat 11-10 favourite Rajsalad by two and a half lengths.

“He is a beautiful horse to ride. Derek O’Connor rode him the last day, and it was his idea to maybe step him back to two miles – he was spot on,” said Blackmore.

“It was tough going out there, but he did it nicely.”

De Bromhead and Blackmore doubled up with Atlantic Fairy, who was even more impressive in the Roches Feeds Mares Maiden Hurdle.

Placed at Clonmel and Cork on her first couple of appearances over hurdles, the daughter of Jeremy was the 6-4 favourite to make it third time lucky – and came home 20 lengths clear of Nelly’s Money.

Blackmore added: “She was second in a point-to-point for Michael Byrne and she is owned by my sponsor Mark Phelan (of PCI Insurance), so it is great to ride a winner in his colours.

“Obviously her run the last day behind Master McShee got a form boost in Leopardstown, and she is nice – so hopefully there will be a lot more fun to be had with her.”

The Johnny Levins-trained Wishmoor was an 11-4 winner of the Goggin Buckley Veterans Handicap Chase under Ricky Doyle.

Levins, who is better known as a Flat trainer, said: “I thoroughly enjoy training this fellow. I was keen to get a few jumpers, and the plan is to get a few more so we can be busy during the winter as well.

“To be honest I didn’t watch one jump, I was looking at the ground – I get very nervous with the Flat, never mind the jumps!

“I’m delighted.”

Staker Wallace rewarded odds-on backers in the Earl Of Harrington Memorial Maiden Hunters Chase.

Fourth in the Foxhunter Chase at last season’s Cheltenham Festival, Enda Bolger’s charge had since been beaten in successive point-to-points this winter.

But ridden by leading amateur Barry O’Neill, the JP McManus-owned gelding made no mistake back under Rules as he eased to a near two-length verdict over Super Citizen.

“We’ll follow the hunter chases around with him, but they are very hot and if I have to stay away from the better horses – at the back of my head, I think he could win a Ladies Cup at Punchestown,” said Bolger.

Moonlight Glory (5-2) won the Convermax Handicap Hurdle for trainer Eoin McCarthy and 7lb claimer Gearoid Brouder, before father and son Charles and Philip Byrnes teamed up to land the bumper with 7-2 chance Blazing Khal.

Grand Roi rules at Limerick

Grand Roi registered a Grade Two success for Gordon Elliott on just his second start for the yard in the Grant Thornton Hurdle at Limerick.

After Grand Roi won three times for Nicky Henderson in the UK, Noel and Valerie Moran paid £400,000 for him at the Goffs Summer Sale.

He was a fair third of four on debut for his new yard at Galway behind the smart Beacon Edge – and Elliott found the perfect race for him on this occasion, back in against last season’s juveniles.

To the fore throughout under Denis O’Regan, Grand Roi powered away in the closing stages to beat Wolf Prince by eight lengths at 6-1.

“His jumping was superb on that ground. He travelled beautifully and has the makings of a very nice horse for a four-year-old,” said O’Regan.

“I reckoned he ran better than the form suggested in Galway over two-five – and coming back to two miles here, we could pop him out and use his jumping.

“He’s obviously taken a little time to get accustomed to Gordon Elliott’s stable, and he seems a nice horse.”

Inspection at Newbury – and ‘concerning’ forecast for Cheltenham

The prospect of continued wintry weather is giving officials a headache at Newbury and Cheltenham – where high-profile meetings are due to take place on Tuesday and New Year’s Day.

The card at Newbury, set to feature the Grade One MansionBet Challow Novices’ Hurdle, is subject to a precautionary inspection on Tuesday morning because of the threat of frost.

The Dornan Engineering Relkeel Hurdle is Friday’s feature at Cheltenham – where the going is currently heavy, waterlogged in places, with colder weather bringing sleet and snow expected this week.

While Newbury clerk of the course Keith Ottesen reports the Berkshire track to be perfectly raceable at present, the threat of an overnight frost and possible wintry showers has prompted him to call an 8.30am check.

He said: “We have covered the racing lines on both the hurdles and chase tracks. It might drop to 0C or -1C, with daytime temperatures of 2C or 3C – so pretty similar to today really, with the possibility of some wintry showers.

“We are perfectly raceable today – and the inspection is purely precautionary – but there is no point in being complacent, so we will have a look in the morning.”

The going is currently described as soft at the Berkshire venue.

At Cheltenham, clerk of the course Simon Claisse, described the forecast as “concerning”.

The track has been hit with 110 millimetres of rain since the last meeting there on December 12. The further worry for officials is that sleet and snow is forecast, with overnight frosts and daytime temperatures of 3C.

“It’s a concerning forecast in that we wouldn’t take much more rain and sleet or snow,” said Claisse.

“We’re not in a position to cover, given our track is waterlogged at the moment.

“There’s snow in the forecast. It’s fingers crossed really we dodge the worst of the cold and any further rain.

“We’ll take stock tomorrow, then it’s declarations on Wednesday and racing on Friday.”

Conditions are also on the easy side at Doncaster and Kelso – with an inspection scheduled at the Scottish track for 7.30am “in case temperatures are lower than forecast overnight”.

Southwell will be racing on the all-weather.

Wednesday’s meeting at Haydock has already been called off because of snow.

The Merseyside venue was due to stage a seven-race card, but four inches of snow fell at the track overnight, forcing the cancellation of the meeting.

The course tweeted: “Unfortunately due to four inches of snow overnight and substantial rain on Boxing Day, racing has been abandoned on Wednesday 30th December.”

Racing is still set to go ahead at Market Rasen and Taunton over jumps, with an all-weather card at Wolverhampton.

The scheduled jumps card at Uttoxeter has been abandoned because of waterlogging, however, on Thursday – when an additional all-weather meeting will take place at Newcastle.

Frosty Newbury calls inspection

Tuesday’s meeting at Newbury, which is due to feature the Grade One MansionBet Challow Novices’ Hurdle, is subject to a precautionary inspection because of the threat of frost.

While clerk of the course Keith Ottesen reports the track to be perfectly raceable at present, the prospect of an overnight frost and possible wintry showers has prompted him to call an 8.30am check.

He said: “We have covered the racing lines on both the hurdles and chase tracks. It might drop to 0C or -1C, with daytime temperatures of 2C or 3C – so pretty similar to today really, with the possibility of some wintry showers.

“We are perfectly raceable today – and the inspection is purely precautionary – but there is no point in being complacent, so we will have a look in the morning.”

The going is currently described as soft at the Berkshire venue.

Conditions also on the easy side at Doncaster and Kelso – with an inspection scheduled at the Scottish track for 7.30am “in case temperatures are lower than forecast overnight”.

Southwell will be racing on the all-weather.

Wednesday’s meeting at Haydock has already been called off because of snow.

The Merseyside venue was due to stage a seven-race card, but four inches of snow fell at the track overnight, forcing the cancellation of the meeting.

The course tweeted: “Unfortunately due to four inches of snow overnight and substantial rain on Boxing Day, racing has been abandoned on Wednesday 30th December.”

Racing is still scheduled for Market Rasen and Taunton over jumps, with an all-weather card at Wolverhampton.

The scheduled jumps card at Uttoxeter has been abandoned because of waterlogging, however, on Thursday – when an additional all-weather meeting will take place at Newcastle.

Farouk D’alene digs deep to take Limerick honours

Farouk D’alene just held off the late thrust of Vanillier in a war of attrition for the Lyons Of Limerick Jaguar Land Rover Novice Hurdle at Limerick.

The race was transferred from Sunday’s card – which was abandoned because of waterlogging – and while the going was still extremely deep, it was at least raceable.

It nonetheless made the two-mile-seven-furlong trip an extreme test for a field of novices who did not have that much experience to call upon.

Gordon Elliott’s Farouk D’alene took over from Costalotmore with a mile to run and appeared to have everything in hand under Jody McGarvey.

But turning into the straight, Darrens Hope looked a big threat before her stamina ran out between the last two.

It was left to Vanillier, who had been ridden patiently by Conor Maxwell, to keep the 2-1 favourite up to his work after the last – having lost a bit of momentum with a slow jump – but he was able to hold on by three-quarters of a length.

The winner was left unchanged at 33-1 by Betfair for the Albert Bartlett at Cheltenham in March.

McGarvey said: “It is very tough work out there and it takes a lot of getting.

“It was my first time riding him – and he was super tough, jumped and travelled beautifully. He dug deep up the straight when I needed him and ground it out well to the line.

“I was confident he’d stay, but we went a nice enough gallop for the ground and it was going to be hard work – (so) thankfully I was able to save enough before the turn-in to get me home.”

McGarvey had earlier teamed up with Willie Mullins to win the Future Ticketing Maiden Hurdle on Ciel De Neige, runner-up in the Betfair Hurdle last season at Newbury.

After the favourite’s two-and-a-quarter-length success, at the prohibitive odds of 1-8, Mullins said: “He eventually got his head in front. He did what he was asked to do.

“He’s just a horse that makes life hard on himself. Hopefully he can go on now and progress from that.”