This Week’s Limerick Racing News.
Ballyoisin landed the biggest pot at Listowel on Thursday for owner JP McManus, Bruree trainer Enda Bolger and young Darragh O’Keeffe when readily taking the Ladbrokes Ireland Listowel Handicap Hurdle. A well-backed 9/2 chance, the seven-year-old led approaching the final flight and had a length to spare over the Willie Mullins-trained 5/2 favourite Shanning at the line.
Patrickwell’s Michael Hourigan was on the mark with The Gatechecker which landed the amateur riders’ handicap chase at Listowel on Saturday. The 8/1 chance was ridden by Harley Dunne.
Longines Irish Champions Weekend
Roaring Lion stole the show on day one Longines Irish Champions Weekend as he once again accounted for his old rival Saxon Warrior in a gripping QIPCO Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown on Saturday.
Saxon Warrior had stolen a march on his rival early in the straight but Roaring Lion produced a tremendous change of gear to move upsides in the last furlong and he edged ahead in the closing strides to score by a neck.
This victory was a first Group 1 on Irish soil for Kerry-born jockey Oisin Murphy who only rode his first Irish winner earlier on the card. In victory Roaring Lion was recording his third Group 1 of the season while he was giving trainer John Gosden a third win in this race since 2013. It has yet to be decided where Roaring Lion will run next but indications were the Champion Stakes at Ascot would be next for the Qatar Racing Limited-owned colt.
There was further joy for the English raiders earlier on the card as Laurens shocked the odds-on Alpha Centauri in the Group 1 Matron Stakes. The Jessica Harrington-trained Alpha Centauri was chasing a Group 1 five timer but after holding every chance inside the last furlong she was beaten three parts of a length by the Daniel Tudhope-ridden front runner. The winning trainer Karl Burke indicated that his filly may now stay at a mile.
Aidan O’Brien, who won the English St Leger earlier in the day, had to settle for a minor role in the day’s Group 1 contests but he did strike twice on the card. The Ballydoyle trainer’s I Can Fly and Ryan Moore came from way off the pace to land the Group 2 Clipper Logistics Boomerang Stakes. Earlier Rostropovich and the trainer’s son, Donnacha, justified evens favouritism in the Paddy’s Rewards Club Stakes.
The ageless Curragh trainer Kevin Prendergast looks to have a live classic prospect on his hands in Madhmoon who made it two wins from as many starts in the Group 2 KPMG Champions Juvenile Stakes. The Dawn Approach colt was much too strong for his rivals over the last furlong and a half and is 33/1 for next year’s Epsom Derby.
After striking on Madhmoon Chris Hayes also landed the concluding Irish Stallion Farms EBF Sovereign Path Handicap as Zap arrived on the scene late to deny Silverkode. The Richard Fahey inmate was completing a tremendous day for the English raiders.
Willie Mullins has some big staying handicaps in mind for his former Cheltenham Festival winner Limini after she defeated stablemate Law Girl in the Petingo Handicap. Oisin Murphy’s mount could now be aimed at the English Cesarewitch while next year’s Ebor Handicap and Melbourne Cup could figure on her agenda.
Although she was out of luck in the Matron Jessica Harrington did land the opening Ballylinch Stud Irish EBF Ingabelle Stakes with Sparkle‘n’joy which was ridden by Shane Foley. The filly carries the distinctive lime green silks of the 30-strong Its All About The Girls Syndicate.
Aidan O’Brien registered his first Irish classic success of the 2018 season as Flag Of Honour made all the running to land the Comer Group International Irish St Leger at the Curragh on Sunday.
Fresh from Group 2 and Group 3 wins at this track in the last two months Flag Of Honour turned in an excellent effort from the front under Ryan Moore to see off the Irish Derby winner Latrobe. The winner does hold an entry in the Melbourne Cup but O’Brien was unsure as to whether he would run again this season.
One of the biggest stories of the entire season came in the Group 1 Moyglare Stud Stakes where Skitter Scatter provided Curragh trainer Patrick Prendergast and locally-born jockey Ronan Whelan with their first success at the highest level. The relentless improver dug deep over the last furlong and a half to see of Sheila Lavery’s Lady Kaya and she will now be aimed at next year’s 1000 Guineas.
In the Goffs Vincent O’Brien National Stakes the Godolphin-owned colt Quorto emulated his father Dubawi by winning the premier two-year-old colt’s race in Ireland. Charlie Appleby’s charge, who was ridden by William Buick, was just too strong for the chief Ballydoyle hope Anthony Van Dyck.
A tremendous weekend for Karl Burke got even better as Havana Grey bagged Group 1 glory in the Derrinstown Stud Flying Five Stakes. The Richard Kingscote-ridden grey made most of the running to hold the outsider Son Of Rest and he could now be aimed at the Breeders Cup.
There was further joy for the English raiders as the Mick Channon-trained and John Egan-ridden Barbill claimed the €300,000 Tattersalls Ireland Super Auction Sale Stakes to show an excellent return on the €30,000 he cost as a yearling.
Dermot Weld has big race targets in Canada and America in mind for Eziyra following her success in the Group 2 Moyglare Jewels Blandford Stakes. Declan McDonogh’s mount could now head to Canada for the E P Taylor Stakes before heading to the Breeders Cup.
Earlier Eddie Lynam sent out his biggest winner of the season as the 20/1 chance Soffia credited young apprentice Danny Sheehy with the biggest success of his career in the Bold Lad Sprint Handicap. Soffia led the far side group throughout this six-furlong dash and she kept on bravely in the closing stages to hold Smash Williams by three parts of a length.
Champions Weekend drew to a close with euphoric scenes in the parade ring as the 20 strong Stable Friends Syndicate watched their Hamley pounce late to land the €150,000 Irish Stallion Farms EBF Northfields Handicap.
The season’s leading apprentice Ben Coen was on board the improving Peter Fahey-trained five-year-old who has given her connections some great days since being picked up for €4,500 at the sales.
Galway – Monday, September 17 (First Race 4.15)
Galway – Tuesday, September 18 (First Race 4.15)
Naas – Wednesday, September 19 (First Race 3.20)
Clonmel – Thursday, September 20 (First Race 3.50)
Ballinrobe – Friday, September 21 (First Race 3.30)
Dundalk – Friday, September 21 (First Race 6.00)
Gowran Park – Saturday, September 22 (First Race 2.05)
Navan – Sunday, September 23 (First Race 2.05)