HRI Weekly: Patrickswell’s Hourigan lands Cork Grand National

Limerick Racing News 

Patrickswell trainer Michael Hourigan landed a second success in the Cork Grand National on Sunday when The Gatechecker ran out a very easy winner under Darragh O’Keeffe.

An 18/1 chance, the nine-year-old came from well off the pace to win by seven and a half lengths from the front-running Glorious Galway. Hourigan had previously won the race with A New Story in 2005 and this was also a significant success for O’Keeffe who rode out his claim on the winner. 

Mark Enright got among the winners on a day dominated by Gordon Elliott at Down Royal on Friday. He teamed up with another County Meath trainer, Francis Casey, to win the 2m handicap chase on Ar Eagla Na Heagla.

Owned by the One Plus Two Partnership, the five-year-old scored a 23-length success when left clear by the final fence fall of the Gavin Cromwell-trained Callthebarman. 

The final day of the Flat season at Naas on Sunday began with a winner for Chris Hayes who took the 6f maiden on Elusive King. Hayes got the Ken Condon-trained 7/1 chance up in the final strides to pip the Dermot Weld-trained Soul Seeker by a nose and went on to complete a double on the Michael Mulvany-trained In From The Cold in the 7f nursery handicap. In another tight finish, the 3/1 chance scored by a half a length from 2/1 favourite Love Locket to give Hayes his 55th winner of the season. 

Other Racing News

Iridessa winning the Filly & Mare Turf at Santa Anita. Credit: HRI

O’Brien becomes youngest ever winning trainer at Breeders’ Cup 

Eight years after he became the youngest jockey to win a Breeders’ Cup race, Joseph O’Brien rewrote the record books once again when he became the youngest trainer to enjoy success at the annual Breeders’ Cup extravaganza when Iridessa won the Filly & Mare Turf at Santa Anita on Saturday. She was the only European-based winner at the meeting, recording her fourth top-level win and giving a first Breeders’ Cup victory to jockey Wayne Lordan. O’Brien became only the second person, after Freddy Head, to ride and train a Breeders’ Cup winner. 

2019 Flat Champions crowned at Naas 

The apprentice championship went down to the very last race of the Flat racing season at Naas on Sunday and success on the Dermot Weld-trained Maria Christina saw Oisin Orr, who rode two winners on the day, draw level with Andrew Slattery to share the spoils with 43 winners each. It was a second apprentice crown for the County Donegal rider and a first for 18-year-old Slattery who hails from Killenaule.

Both jockeys rode their first Group race winners this season and they finish clear in the table from last season’s champion Shane Crosse and Ben Coen, a cousin of Slattery’s. In 2010, the apprentice title was shared by Joseph O’Brien, Gary Carroll and Ben Curtis. 

In a season that saw two jockeys record a three-figure tally for the first time, Donnacha O’Brien is once again the Irish champion jockey. The 21-year-old retains his title in a year when he added to his Classic haul in the QIPCO 2,000 Guineas on the Aidan O’Brien-trained Magna Grecia. At home, Donnacha won the Group 2 Beresford Stakes on his father’s Innisfree and the Group 2 Kilboy Estates Stakes on Red Tea, trained by his brother, Joseph. 

For the 22nd time in his remarkable career, Aidan O’Brien was crowned champion trainer. The Ballydoyle maestro, who turned 50 last month, won the Tattersalls Irish 1,000 Guineas with Hermosa and the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby with Sovereign and enjoyed further success with Magical whose Group 1 haul included the Tattersalls Gold Cup and the QIPCO Irish Champion Stakes. Fairyland and Love, winners of the Derrinstown Stud Flying Five Stakes and the Moyglare Stud Stakes respectively, were other domestic Group 1 winners for the Ballydoyle trainer. 

Upcoming Fixtures  Fairyhouse – Tuesday, November 5 (First Race 12.55pm) Dundalk – Wednesday, November 6 (First Race 2.15pm) Thurles – Thursday, November 7 (First Race 12.50pm) Dundalk – Friday, November 8 (First Race 5.45pm) Naas – Saturday, November 9 (First Race 12.00pm) Navan – Sunday, November 10 (First Race 12.05pm)

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Ronan Coughlan