September 16, 2013 § Leave a comment
Wexford Racecourse last Friday night staged an all flat race evening which clashed with an all jumps card at Kilbeggan in Co Westmeath. With the Management at Bettyville having to honour a commitment to the racing authorities to stage a minimum number of flat races in a calendar year, the decision to move away from a mixed card offering seems to have paid dividends, with all the major yard’s sending teams of horses to contest races, in addition to many of the best jockeys being in action and irrespective of the code of racing most meetings have been well attended throughout the summer. Last Friday evening’s meeting was the final one of the year with winter kicking into action for the remainder of the year with three afternoon fixtures due in October and November.
Aidan O’Brien was in attendance being highly visible throughout the evening as he oversaw the runners from his county Tipperary based yard. With his son Joseph and two daughter’s Ana and Sarah riding on the evening O’Brien was on hand to welcome back, Marchese Marconi, to the winners enclosure after the conclusion of the 2 mile Gorey (Q.R.) Race. Ridden by his daughter Sarah, the 4 year old Galileo colt , running in his fifth race since the middle of June got to the front a little early but the 5/2 shot stayed on well to rally past the odds on hot pot, Pique Sous and win by a head. Having run prominently in the Ascot Stakes at Royal Ascot in June this horse stays well and “having been ridden wrong in the past” these hold up tactics paid off. O’Brien continued “We will keep him to these type of races , but it’s a great win and gives Sarah her second track winner” On a real family occasion Aidan O’Briens mother, Estella and proud grandmother of the winning jockey was in the winners enclosure to share in the celebrations and just to cap it all the winning horse races in the colours of Aidan’s wife Ann Marie O’Brien who also bred the three time winner.
Jessica Harrington , another one of our top trainers , made the trip from Co Kildare a worthwhile one when , Magical Steps , took the opening Irish Stallion Farms EBF Fillies Maiden. Ridden by top flat jockey, Fran Berry, the 3 year daughter of Giant’s Causeway , ran a patchy race but she did manage to get past the 16/1 outsider and longtime leader, Surreal and win by half a length. Keeping this one in the family also, Harringtons son in law, Richie Galway, who is married to her daughter Emma is an owner of this filly and all were pleased that she had finally opened her winning account having previously been in the first four in five of her six race career to date. Galway, the current Punchestown manager is a native of the parish of Adamstown, no doubt happy to have had a winner at his local home track.
This winner was the first leg of a double for Fran Berry who teamed up with Co Kildare trainer Martin Brassil to win the 2 mile Rosslare Handicap on Celestial Prospect. This Australian bred son of Galileo is fast becoming a course specialist as the 7/1 winner was taking his third win at the track. With rain earlier in the day causing concern to the connections, the good to firm ground expected may have been a little softer than required but Brassil added “I’m delighted for the owners, they made the round trip from Co Tyrone and I only ran the horse because they were on their way down, so it worked out” Despite an injury scare just before the start of the race his jockey was happy that to load the horse and compete who will now go back over hurdles as Brassil feels “he is competitive over 2 ½ miles”.
Dermot Weld provided the evening with the most impressive winner, when Pat Smullen partnered the Brian Gleeson owned and bred, Hikari, to open her account in the 1 mile 4 furlong maiden. The 11/8 on favourite , a 3 year old daughter of Galileo sluiced in by 15 lengths to confirm the obvious promise that she showed on her debut at Cork in March. Weld was absent on the evening but RTE and racing personality Brian Gleeson did take the time to state “It’s exciting times, it was good to win here for her future broodmare value. We have a full brother with Dermot named , Deor, and the dam is back in foal to Sea The Stars. Pat said she didn’t travel all that well during the race but she picked up well”
The two most valuable races on the card the www.wexfordraces.ie Handicap and the Enniscorthy Mares INH Flat Race went to Sheila’s Wish and Pink Hat respectively. With fillies winning five of the seven races on offer, Sheila’s Wish , now a four time winning 5 year old Hawk Wing mare , trained by John McConnell in Co Meath got to the front close home to win at 4/1 under Colin Keane. McConnell stated “She is very, very genuine, she is going the right way, we might try something a little better” Pink Hat won her bumper cosily for Willie and Patrick Mullins at 6/4 on, with the Jackie Mullins owned 5 year old Presenting mare winning according to her jockey “Better than the bare result”.
On a real family day, the Coakley family, mother, father and grandfather all shared in young jockey, Ross Coakleys success in the Wexford Apprentice Handicap over 1 mile 4 furlongs. Trained by Denis Cullen Co Kildare, the 7 year old Refuse To Bend mare, Table Forty Six, a reserve on the day won at 13/2 in the colours of the winning jockeys, father Denis and grandfather, Arthur Connick.