Monday, November 29, 2021
HomeHorse WeekHorse EventsRacing season concludes at Downpatrick

Racing season concludes at Downpatrick

THE McGrady Hurdle at Downpatrick last Friday rapidly changed complexion three from home. ‘Getting In Touch’, having been 30 lengths clear of rivals, quickly ground to a halt and ‘Ask The Leader’ (10s to 11/2), trained at Derrylin by David Christie, assumed the lead with a good jump and quickly went clear for an authoritative victory and a repeat course success with talented claiming rider, Jack Foley in the saddle. ‘Monoxide’ and ‘Carried’ filled second and third for an all local finish.

Foley, with the local trainer also on leading up duties, said: “She seems to have a liking for the course. It was a good performance. We had a tearaway (‘Getting In Touch’) front-runner, which probably suited me, as I went a steadier gallop in behind. She pulled it out well and she was tough up the hill, she obviously knows the track. It’s great to get a winner for Dave (Christie) as well. He said if she handled the ground, he could see her running a decent race. She travelled and jumped well, which was a big help on that ground.”

Christie added: “I thought she might finish in a place because of the ground. She’s very small, but has developed over the summer. I had thought of stopping with her, but might give her a pop over fences after her handling today’s going. I gave Jack (Foley) one of his first ever rides in point to points and have followed his career since as I rated him very highly. She’s proven a cheap buy at £2,000.”

The uphill climb to the line yet again proved decisive in the concluding stages of the Beginners Chase. ‘Clondaw Bertie’ had given a perfect display of jumping in front, only for ‘Gelee Blanche’, under a patient ride from Jack Foley, to prevail in a photo finish and complete a double. The Willie Mullins trained winner steadily improved from five out and third over the final fence kept on in game fashion to win. Odds favourite ‘Righttimerightplace’ proved a major disappointment, being beaten from three out after some indifferent jumping.

Foley said: “A great round of jumping and she travelled super. The champion trainer’s (horses) are in good form and he filled me with plenty of confidence.”

Foley completed a hat trick in the concluding handicap chase, which saw the Eugene O’Sullivan trained pair, ‘Carnet De Stage’ (7/2 to 5/1) and ‘Earths Furies’ (40s to 18/1) have the race between them from three out. However, it was the first named, which found more prior to the last and powered clear to open his account and beat his stable mate partnered by claiming rider, Jordan Canavan from Newtownards in the final race of the season at the course.

Foley said: “I opted to keep out wide and get the fresher ground for him. The way he has won, I don’t think it would have made much odds. He has travelled really well and he has jumped really well. It is nice to bag a treble and that is my 7lb claim ridden out. It was cool to ride it out on a treble from three rides here.”

The Gordon Elliot trained ‘Boothen Boy’ (11/8 to 4/5) gave a workman like display, when driven out by stable jockey Jack Kennedy to land the opening maiden hurdle. The winning favourite, despite reluctant to join rivals at the start, was soon prominent and then made all to score for the Cullentra team and might possibly prefer a left handed course.

Kennedy said: “He’s a lovely big horse and he is still a baby. He’s a big chaser in the making, so whatever he does over hurdles is a bonus. He’ll come on plenty from that, so he is one to look forward to.”

Elliott quickly doubled up on the day when ‘Mars Harper’ (100/30 to 9/4) landed the Novice Hurdle. Five horses held claims at the final flight and ‘Rock On Seamie’, held up in the rear for most for the race, went three lengths clear after jumping the last – but Jordan Gainford, only fifth at the concluding obstacle, extracted the winning favourite and gradually overhauled the leader on the uphill climb.

Stable representative Lisa O’Neill said: “Jordan (Gainford) gave him a fantastic ride, he saved plenty of ground going around the rail. They seemed to go hard up front and he stayed up the hill really well. He handles it quite well around here and handles soft ground.”

The handicap hurdle saw ‘I Don’t Get It’ (16s to 9/2) attempt to make all, but ‘Willyouwalkwithme’ (5s to 7/2) led after two from home, however, the winner ‘Fassbender’, trained by Mark McNiff, had always stalked the new leader and after the final flight the race became duel between the pair. The Sligo trained horse, partnered by Mikey O’Connor, showed the better speed in the closing stages to reverse placing having finished runner up to ‘Willyouwalkwithme’ three weeks ago the track.

O’Connor said: “He has indeed (turned the form around with the runner-up), he was probably better off at the weights alright. He seemed to do it fairly well down here today. He did enjoy that ground (soft).”

The featured EBF Hurdle provided a 40/1 shock result, despite just six starting, when the Jimmy Barcoe trained ‘Kingston Retreat’ proved a facile winner. The winner, with Cathal Landers aboard, ran last for most of the contest prior to improving three out, where odds-on favourite ‘Fissa’ was already struggling and challenging three wide before the last the winner soon led and asserted on the run in, as ‘Midnight it is’ (9s to 4/1) ran on to finish second.

Barcoe, who also owns the winner, said: “She ran well the other day in a good bumper at Gowran Park. It was run in a very quick time in Gowran. She came out of it nicely, so this seemed to be a good idea and it worked out well. She ran here on her first run for me and a bit of experience on the track did her no harm.”

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