Little Big Rocky builds on Killarney win while Billy Lee makes it 60 winners for the season | Weekly Racing News

Limerick/Clare Racing News

Little Big Rocky, a winner under Conor McNamara at Killarney last month, followed up for the Rathkeale jockey and County Meath trainer Pat Downey when taking the two-mile one-furlong handicap hurdle at Cork on Bank Holiday Monday. The Lane Syndicate-owned 15/8 shot led at the third last hurdle and came home a one and a half-length winner from the Pat Flynn-trained Walnut Beach. The trainer’s left arm was in a sling and he was missing a tooth after an incident unloading his winner for the horsebox and he said:

“He knocked a tooth out of my head and busted my hand getting out of the box. There is nothing like that in him, he just got a fright.”

Little Big Rocky and Conor McNamara after winning the Fermoy Handicap Hurdle at Cork Racecourse, Mallow. Picture: David Keane/Racing Post. 01.08.2022

Doran Boy improved on a recent outing at Limerick to win the opportunity maiden hurdle for Athea trainer Eoin McCarthy and Newcastle West’s Gary Noonan. In the colours of owner David Kelly, the six-year-old led at the fourth last hurdle and battled well to see off the late challenge of the Charles Byrnes-trained Viceregent by a neck at odds of 14/1.

Brian McMahon was among the winners at Roscommon on Tuesday evening where Four Country Roads landed the three-mile handicap chase, but only just. The Sean O’Keeffe-ridden 12/1 chance led at the second last fence and just did enough to score by a head from the Shark Hanlon-trained Crobally. The winner is owned by Tony O’Donnell and McMahon said:

“Down to 69, in Roscommon and named Four Country Roads, if ever there was a day, it was today. Fair play to Sean O’Keeffe, he’s given him a lovely, patient ride and got him into a lovely rhythm. He jumped like a buck. Tony is a great fella. His bill is due in the middle of the month and he’s there at 10am by the 15th. Those type of lads are great and I’m delighted for him.”

Billy Lee brought his tally for the term to 60 winners when making all the running on the Willie McCreery-trained Queen Of Ours to land the auction series maiden at Sligo on Wednesday evening. The 8/11 shot comfortably held the late run of Noel Meade’s She’s Local to score by a length and three-parts for owner Renzo Forni. Chris Hayes was in the winners’ enclosure a little later on when taking the near six-furlong handicap on Gegenpressing, trained by Eddie and Patrick Harty. The 4/1 favourite led well inside the final furlong to win by three-parts of a length from the Donal Kinsella-trained Ducky Mallon.

Aine O’Connor and trainer Anthony McCann shared their third bumper success of the summer as Cash The Cheque landed the finale at Sligo on Thursday evening. A 7/2 chance on the back of a promising effort at Cork last month, the four-year-old hit the front before the straight and pulled away to win by five and a half-lengths from the Willie Mullins-trained 11/8 favourite Double Pink, the rider’s seventh winner of the season. In the amateur riders table, only Patrick Mullins, with 14 winners, has a better tally. 

Championship leader Billy Lee beat his main rival Colin Keane to land the finale at Leopardstown on Thursday. He partnered the Karl Thornton-trained Rich Belief to win the concluding 15-furlong handicap. The 7/4 favourite led before the straight and readily accounted for the Keane-ridden Arabian King by a length and a quarter.

Lee was in double form at Tipperary on Friday evening where he rode winners for Paddy Twomey and Ken Condon. Twomey’s Erosandpsyche scored a ready success in the five-furlong conditions’ race. Leading after halfway, the even money favourite had plenty in hand as he beat the Ken Condon-trained Moss Tucker by a length and a quarter. Lee then teamed up with Condon to take the fillies’ maiden over the extended seven furlongs on 2/1 joint-favourite Spring Feeling. She held on to win by half a length from the Ger Lyons-trained Smile Of Love, another ridden by Colin Keane. 

The winners kept coming for both Lee and Twomey at the Curragh on Saturday afternoon where Shelton impressed with a one and a half-length success in the seven-furlong fillies’ race. The 4/1 chance raced up with the pace and pulled away inside the final furlong to beat the Joseph O’Brien-trained Basil Martin.

Charles Byrnes has had a number of horses placed of late and he got among the winners as the Mark Walsh-trained Pairc Na Ngeal won the Kieran Kelly Memorial Handicap Chase at Kilbeggan on Saturday evening. A strong 9/4 favourite, the JP McManus-owned eight-year-old scored by a length and a quarter from the Iggy Madden-trained Back The West.

Upcoming Fixtures

Ballinrobe – Monday, August 8 (First Race 5.25pm)

Gowran Park – Wednesday, August 10 (First Race 4.50pm)

Leopardstown – Thursday, August 11 (First Race 5.30pm)

Tramore – Thursday, August 11 (First Race 5.20pm)

Tramore – Friday, August 12 (First Race 4.50pm)

Cork – Friday, August 12 (First Race 5pm)

Curragh – Saturday, August 13 (First Race 1.45pm)

Tramore – Saturday, August 13 (First Race 4.55pm)

Tramore – Sunday, August 14 (First Race 1.40pm)

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Corey OBrien