‘I Don’t’ Get It’ (12s to 4/1), trained at Dromara by Neill McCluskey, finally got to win on his 43rd start in the handicap hurdle at Downpatrick on Sunday, June 12. The local horse as usual set off in front with Gearoid Brouder aboard and it was ‘Thefaithfullindian’, who only posed a danger in the closing stages, but had to settle for second as the winner kept up his relentless gallop.
Brouder said: “He’s always positive, I’d say the only time we took our time on him was in a handicap chase the last. I think only for taking our time changed his tune and he was happy to be in front today. The last day just sweetened him. When there is something in front of him, he kind of sulks a bit. When the other horse came to him, I gave him a slap and he quickened away. Then my iron burst, my boot burst in the iron, after jumping the third last and I was lucky enough not to come off the side of him. We got it going. I knew at the top of the hill this horse wouldn’t get caught.”
Gordon Elliott, following a double on the opening session, continued to conquer Downpatrick when ‘Roaring Potter’ (4/6 to 2/5), with Shane Fitzgerald aboard, landed the opener. The winner, prominent early, dropped to fourth and ‘Glendars Mahler’, which had headed the front running ‘She Is A Contender’, appeared the likely 100/1 winner when clear but falling at the penultimate flight. Connections of the winner were hoping the result was an omen, with ‘Pied Piper’ and Jamie Spencer booked at an early stage to represent them in the marathon Ascot Stakes at the Royal meeting.
Stable representative Lisa O’Neill said: “I actually thought that he would get the win on the board before now, but it is lovely that he was able to come here and justify the ability we thought he had. He can improve from that.”
Jockey Corey McGivern, who is based with Newmarket trainer Lucy Wadham but spending the summer with Gordon Elliott, was seen to excellent advantage when winning on ‘Hurricane Georgie’ in the featured valuable Mares Hurdle.
The race, having been run very steadily, developed into a sprint from three out, however, the winner despite losing her place and burdened with a 15lbs penalty following winning at Wexford, powered home to give the rider his first winner in Ireland.
McGivern said: “I’m back for the summer and Gordon has been very good to me. I really enjoyed my time there (in Britain) – Lucy (Wadham) has been very good to me. I hope Gordon keeps putting me up, I’m very grateful for the opportunity. I’m based with him. She’s very tough and her jumping keeps her in it. She picked up really well.”
The very talented young rider made most of showcasing his talents, when winning the Randox Hurdle on ‘Lieutenant Highway’ giving Elliott five winners over the two days. The winner was racing keen and pulled himself to the front, after which the rider allowed him to bowl along in front and survived a bad mistake at the final flight and while all out at the finish got to the line to score, foiling the gamble on ‘Minella Youngy’ (6s to 11/4 joint favourite).
O’Neill said: “He was good, he battled hard coming up to the line. Corey gave him a lovely ride. He was a little bit gassy going down the hill and he went to the front with him and he settled nicely in front.”
Henry De Bromhead is another trainer who headed to Royal Ascot with runners and claimed the AJC Hurdle with ‘Downtown Queen’, partnered by Conor McNamara, while sloppy jumping cost runner up and favourite ‘Rodney Bay’ the race.
McNamara said: “She jumped like a stag. She stayed going to the line well and she’ll stay further hopefully.”
The Tom McCourt trained ‘Dollar Value’ (11/4 to 6/4) – a multi-talented winner under all codes of racing including three at the local track – put the handicap hurdle into safe keeping when going to the front under Mark McDonagh before three out and the favourite then duly cantered to the winning post.
McCourt said: “He loves it around here, that’s his third win here – two hurdles and a chase. I thought if he jumped off, he won, he’s just quirky at the start. I’d love to go to Galway, but we went down there last year and there was three false starts and he just planted himself. He’s trained out of the paddock this year.”
‘Walk In The Brise’, trained by Willie Mullins with son, Patrick aboard, was a steering job in the bumper leading at halfway and the very well bred mare and odds-on favourite in control thereafter.
Mullins Junior said: “She’ll go jumping now and I imagine with her pedigree she can probably go out in trip as well. She’s from the family of ‘Vroom Vroom Mag’. She’s not overly big, but she’s very athletic and I think on this ground she probably finishes stronger. One to look forward to.”
Meanwhile Dromore trainer, Natalie Lupini was rewarded for the trip to Gowran, when ‘Dunum’ with Wayne Lordan in the saddle, landed the first division of the mile handicap.
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