O’Brien Pushing Golden Valour For Dundalk Run

Limerick Racing News

Trainer Richard O’Brien has a €25,000 handicap in mind for Golden Valour after the four-year-old recorded an easy success on the all-weather at Dundalk on Friday night. Ridden by Donagh O’Connor, the well-backed 11/4 favourite won the 10f handicap by two and a quarter-lengths from the Michael Halford-trained Sheberghan with O’Brien commenting,

“I’m delighted with that lad. I’ve been saying all along that his work is much better than his mark. I thought he wasn’t helping Donagh at any stage but it’s hard work out there with the wind. There is nice race here at the start of April and as long as he stays under the 85 bracket, which he should, then he’ll be targeted at that.”

Richard O’Brien

Other Racing News

Mullins and Townend strike gold as Irish land Cheltenham Festival 17 winners

Al Boum Photo landed back-to-back renewals of the Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup with a gutsy display on the final day of the Cheltenham Festival that saw Irish trainers win six of the seven races and end the festival with a tally of 17 winners.

Paul Townend and Al Boum Photo win the Cheltenham Gold Cup for the second year running for Willie Mullins at the Cheltenham Festival on Friday. Photo: Patrick McCann/Racing Post

On an afternoon dominated by his trainer Willie Mullins, the Mrs Marie Donnelly-owned eight-year-old battled well under Paul Townend to see off Santini by a neck, with the Rachael Blackmore-ridden Monalee a close fourth for trainer Henry De Bromhead.

Mullins’ haul of four Friday winners saw him end the week with a total of seven, just enough to see him crowned as the leading trainer at the festival for the seventh time ahead of Gordon Elliott who also finished with seven winners but lost out on count back.

Mullins becomes the winning-most trainer at the festival with 72 winners in all. Townend’s haul of five winners was enough to see him crowned the Festival’s leading jockey for the first time.

It Came To Pass bridged a 29-year gap for Lombardstown, County Cork trainer Eugene O’Sullivan when running away with the St James’ Place Foxhunter Chase. O’Sullivan won the race in 1991 with Lovely Citizen, ridden by his brother William and owned and bred by his late father Eoin and this time his daughter Maxine was in the saddle as the 66/1 chance beat the Mullins-trained Billaway by all of ten lengths.

Elliott was also a final day winner with Chosen Mate and Davy Russell in the Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Challenge Cup Handicap Chase

An opening day brace brought Henry De Bromhead’s festival total to nine. The County Waterford trainer gained the first Irish success of the meeting with Put The Kettle On, ridden by Aidan Coleman for owners, the One For Luck Racing Syndicate.

In the more familiar colours of Kenny Alexander, the remarkable Honeysuckle gained her fourth Grade 1 win and maintained an unbeaten record that now stretches to eight races when getting better of Benie Des Dieux in a thrilling Close Brothers Mares’ Hurdle. Rachael Blackmore was once again in the saddle and it was a third Cheltenham winner for the Killenaule jockey.

Rachael Blackmore celebrates on the Henry De Bromhead-trained Honeysuckle after winning the Close Brothers Mares Hurdle at last week’s Cheltenham Festival. Photo: Patrick McCann/Racing Post

Gordon Elliott closed out the opening day when winning the National Hunt Chase with Ravenhill. Owned by the Try Ravenhill Syndicate, it was a tenth winner at the festival and a third win in the National Hunt Chase for Jamie Codd following on from Le Breuil in 2019 and Elliott’s Cause Of Causes in 2015. Elliott got the second day off to the best possible start with Envoi Allen and Davy Russell scoring a stunning success in the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle to maintain his own unbeaten record.

Mark Walsh was in the saddle as Aramax followed up for Elliott in the Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle with Willie Mullins and Paul Townend netting their first winner of the week in the Weatherbys Champion Bumper with Ferny Hollow, a tenth win in the race for the champion trainer. 

Elliott and Mullins shared five winners on Thursday, the pair dominating the opening Marsh Novices’ Chase. Elliott won with Samcro and Davy Russell edging out Mullins’ Melon and Faugheen and he also took the Pertemps Network Final Handicap Hurdle with the Barry Geraghty-ridden Sire Du Berlais before Wexford’s Rob James recorded his first Cheltenham festival winner on Milan Native in the Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Amateur Riders’ Handicap Chase to round off an Elliott day three treble.

Mullins recorded two winners on Thursday when taking the Ryanair Chase with the Paul Townend-ridden Min and the Daylesford Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle with Concertista, second in the same race last year but recording a 12-length win under Daryl Jacob this time.

Applications for Horse Racing Ireland Student Internship Programme close on Friday

The closing date for applications for the Horse Racing Ireland (HRI) summer student internship programme is this Friday, March 20. Now in its seventh year, the HRI student internship programme offers a number of paid placements, commencing in June 2020 and running for 12 weeks throughout the summer to the end of August.

The programme is open to all Third Level students in any college year of any course.  HRI Education and Training Manager, Grainne Murphy, said: “The student internship programme plays a key role in the strategic aim of HRI to attract new entrants into the thoroughbred racing and breeding industry. We hope that, for the successful applicants, this is the just first step to a fulfilling and rewarding career within this great industry.” Further details and application form are available at www.workinracing.ie/internship

Upcoming Fixtures

Down Royal – Tuesday, March 17 (First Race 1.50pm)

Wexford – Tuesday, March 17 (First Race 2.05pm)

Dundalk – Friday, March 20 (First Race 5.15pm)

Thurles – Saturday, March 21 (First Race 2.10pm)

Downpatrick – Sunday, March 22 (First Race 1.40pm)

Naas – Sunday, March 23 (First Race 2.00pm)

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Raffaele Rocca