Tag Archive for: Padraig Roche

Pied Piper expected to call the tune at Aintree

Aintree’s flat contours are expected to bring out the best in Pied Piper in Thursday’s Jewson Anniversary 4-Y-O Juvenile Hurdle.

A multiple winner on the Flat in the colours of the Queen, the son of New Approach was bought out of John and Thady Gosden’s yard for 225,000 guineas to pursue a jumping career with Gordon Elliott.

He made a smart beginning when beating Vauban at Punchestown and a subsequent demolition job on Cheltenham Trials Day meant he lined up as one of two leading contenders for owners Andrew and Gemma Brown in last month’s Triumph Hurdle, along with stablemate Fil Dor.

There was only a neck between the pair at the Festival, with Fil Dor second and Pied Piper third behind Vauban, and connections believe Pied Piper could be seen in an even better light on Merseyside.

Joey Logan, racing manager for the owners, said: “We think the ground is going to suit him and the track is going to suit him – I think we’ll see the best of Pied Piper on Thursday.

“He’s in good form – he came out of Cheltenham very well. Davy (Russell) is going to ride him and we’d be expecting him to run a big race.

“This was the target more than the Triumph Hurdle because of the track, but we had to run both horses in the Triumph.

“Fil Dor is a big chaser in the making and will go to Punchestown. Hopefully Pied Piper might go for one of the big staying Flat races at Royal Ascot or somewhere after Thursday.”

Brazil and Mark Walsh on their way to Cheltenham Festival glory
Brazil and Mark Walsh on their way to Cheltenham Festival glory (Nigel French/PA)

The biggest danger to Pied Piper appears to be Brazil, who provided trainer Padraig Roche with a first Cheltenham success in the Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle.

Roche is looking forward to testing the JP McManus-owned gelding at Grade One level for the first time.

Roche said: “He seems healthy and well and he gave us an unbelievable day in Cheltenham, in fairness. We’re looking forward to running him again.

“He came out of Cheltenham great and in good form and the ground should be lovely.”

Petit Tonnerre is a second interesting runner for McManus, having added to his two wins in France when making a successful debut for Jonjo O’Neill at Market Rasen in February.

The Venetia Williams-trained Fautinette, the only filly in the field, won each of her three starts across the Channel and is thrown in at the deep end on first start in Britain.

“She is a gorgeous little mare,” said co-owner Andy Edwards.

“She is not a novice, and fillies’ handicaps are slightly few and far between at this time of year. We thought about a fillies’ juvenile handicap at Cheltenham, on April 14, but she is working so nicely.

“She is a very good filly and deserves to take her chance in this. First time out in a Grade One is a very big ask, no question. But we are really looking forward to seeing her run.

“Her fitness levels are unknown, but the track is ideal and the ground is ideal.”

Knight Salute (right) has enjoyed a fine season
Knight Salute (right) has enjoyed a fine season (David Davies/PA)

Knight Salute won his first five races over hurdles for Milton Harris but could finish only ninth in the Triumph Hurdle three weeks ago, with his trainer blaming underfoot conditions.

“That was down to the ground. Paddy (Brennan) looked after him and at home he seems right as rain,” said Harris.

“We took the hood off and he had been running with earplugs in and we have chucked those out. I think I would expect to see a different horse, the old horse back firing.

“It is a competitive race but he is 14-1 and that is a crazy price, just crazy.”

Gary Moore’s dual winner In The Air, the Dan Skelton-trained Too Friendly, Nicky Henderson’s Impulsive One and Inca Prince from Ruth Jefferson’s yard complete the field.

Slip Of The Tongue stars in Punchestown treble for Walsh and McManus

Slip Of The Tongue played a starring role in a Punchestown treble for jockey Mark Walsh and owner JP McManus with a dramatic victory in the INH Stallion Owners EBF Novice Hurdle.

A winner on his hurdling debut at Tipperary last spring, the five-year-old had since had to make do with minor honours at Gowran Park and Limerick respectively.

But having finished third behind two potential Champion Hurdle contenders in Teahupoo and Quilixios over Christmas, Padraig Roche’s inmate was a 5-2 joint-favourite to claim Listed honours in Kildare.

Deploy The Getaway looked the most likely winner when scooting into a clear advantage leaving the back straight, but Slip Of The Tongue reeled him in on the run to the final flight.

Just when it looked like he was getting on top, the Flemensfirth gelding blundered badly, with Walsh doing well to keep the partnership intact.

Slip Of The Tongue regathered his momentum to get back on top by three-quarters of a length – and while the stewards held an inquiry due to the interference suffered by the runner-up, the placings remained unaltered.

Roche said: “That was great, he’s a lovely horse and it’ll keep the father (former rider and trainer Christy Roche) happy as he’s a home-bred. He’s a horse that we’ve liked all the time and he’s learning all the time.

“At Limerick the last day we didn’t learn much. I’d say he stays well and loves that bit of soft ground. Knowing the family, they get better with time and hopefully he will. He’s a fine, big horse.

“I haven’t discussed plans yet but I’d say we’ll keep him at home.”

Midnight Maestro (right) and Shady Operator fight out the finish
Midnight Maestro (right) and Shady Operator fight out the finish (Brian Lawless/PA)

The Walsh-McManus treble was initiated by Midnight Maestro (9-2), who edged out stablemate Shady Operator in the Hollywoodbets Bet 10 Get 30 PP Hogan Memorial Cross Country Chase.

Enda Bolger’s pair drew clear of the chasing pack from the home turn and it was Walsh’s mount who got the better of a thrilling duel by a neck.

“We’ll give them both an entry for the Cheltenham race now. Whether they’ll be good enough, we’ll see what else is going to turn up,” said Bolger.

“They just swapped it around from the last meeting here. Shady got a cut here the last day and was laid up for a while. He had a run at Navan but the other horse finished better that day.

“Maybe the little bit of fitness at the end probably caught Shady out. I thought for a minute he was coming back at him again.

“They were fine and professional about it and their jumping was good.”

Ciel De Neige clears the final fence
Ciel De Neige clears the final fence (Brian Lawless/PA)

Walsh and McManus doubled up with the Willie Mullins-trained Ciel De Niege (5-4 favourite), who comfortably made it three from three over fences in the Hollywoodbets Cheltenham Festival Preview March 3rd Rated Novice Chase.

Mullins said: “He did that nicely, coming back to two miles. It was just a pity about the two mistakes he made.

“I’m very happy he did that, he enjoys things more over fences.

“He’ll be entered in a couple of races (at Cheltenham) and maybe in a handicap as well. We’ll have a look at options after this and chat to connections to see where he fits in.”

James’s Gate impressed the closing contest
James’s Gate impressed the closing contest (Brian Lawless/PA)

Mullins made it a double on the day with James’s Gate (2-5 favourite) in the Hollywoodbets Money Back 2nd To SP Favourite (Pro/Am) INH Flat Race.

The five-year-old was making his racecourse bow in the hands of the trainer’s son Patrick, but he made short work of his rivals to run out an eight-length winner and set up a possible date in the Champion Bumper at next month’s Cheltenham Festival.

“He’s a tremendous addition to (owner) Sean and Bernardine Mulryan’s group of horses,” said Mullins.

“He was bought from Pat Doyle, on his recommendation, and I’m very pleased for him as well. He looks as good as Pat thinks he is.

“I’d imagine he’ll go for the Cheltenham bumper and we’ll look forward to coming back here as well for the Festival bumper.”

Grandero Bello was a Punchestown winner
Grandero Bello was a Punchestown winner (Brian Lawless/PA)

Young Dev (12-1) landed the David Trundley Artist At Punchestown Handicap Hurdle while Grandero Bello was a surprise 16-1 victor in the Hollywoodbets Now Streaming UK & Irish Racing Maiden Hurdle.

Saddle Her Up, who finished ninth at odds of 66-1 in the latter event, was the subject of a post-race inquiry, with the stewards finding she had not obtained the best possible placing.

The horse was banned from running for 42 days, with jockey Kieran Callaghan suspended for 10 days and trainer Barry Fitzgerald fined €2,000.