‘GREENANDWHITE Army’ supplied a local success in the handicap hurdle at Downpatrick Racecourse on Bank Holiday Monday, August 26. The winner, second last month at the venue and trained at Loughbrickland by Neil McKnight, got up in the final couple of strides with Ricky Doyle in the saddle. The runner up, ‘Mr Moondance’ [8s to 7/2], appeared set for success having made all, but Doyle’s determination yielded reward close to the line.
McKnight said: “He’s a quirky sort, but we were hoping he would get in the money. I thought the other horse (‘Mr Moondance’) had got away from him, but he battled well up the hill. He’s actually better over two miles five (furlongs). We’ll keep him going and he could come back here for the next meeting.”
Claiming jockey, Trevor Ryan was seen to excellent advantage when claiming the Giltspur hurdle on ‘Finding Joy’. The last named is trained in Limerick by Michael Horrigan – a very long time supporter of the local track. ‘Cappacon’ was always handy, however, the winner finished with a late flourish after the final flight and, despite drifting left, the rider quickly switched his whip to score readily.
Hourigan said: “I haven’t been here for a good few years now. I saw the race and I said ‘gees I’ll have to go to Downpatrick’ and I’m driving the lorry myself. I felt I had to come and when I saw the entries, I really had to come and when I saw the weights, I had to go now anyway. I was leading trainer here for monkeys years. I used to love coming here and I was coming here to win 60 quid!”
‘Knock On Steel’ looked another to have victory in his gasp, only to be foiled by the late surge of Sean Flanagan on the Noel Meade trained ‘The Red Menace’, with the always prominent ‘Wonderoftheworld’ third in the Beginners Chase.
The Navan trainer’s horse, making his debut over fences, was in the rear for most prior to challenging after the final fence.
Meade said: “He lacks a gear. He took to jumping fences very well at home and we sort of hoped that just might give him a little bit extra.”
‘Three Is Company’ made a brave attempt to land the Charlie Caldwell Memorial hurdle, sponsored by Vincent Caldwell in memory of his father, however, ‘Cappuccino Man’ [6s to 11/4] led at the last to win snugly in the hands of Darragh O’Keefe supplying trainer, Oliver McKieran with compensation after the defeat of ‘Cappacon’ in the previous race. ‘Premier D’troice’ stayed on late to fill second.
McKiernan said: “He was a horse that had a lot of troubles all his life. With the best will in the world, it was great to win it – it was probably a moderate enough race.”
The handicap chase saw five in contention in the closing stages, however, in a photo finish the Tom McCourt trained ‘Muroor’ [16s to 5/1] provided jockey, Darragh O’Keefe with the win, when beating the locally trained ‘I’m An Izz Wizz’ by a head.
McCourt said: “Whatever it is up here just brings out the best in him. He jumped very quick now, he was lightning for a small horse.”
The opener saw the Gordon Elliott trained ‘Cats For Cash’ make all to score easily with Jack Kennedy aboard. The other joint favourite ‘So Enjoy’ filled third – the pair separated by Patrick Joseph, supported from 25s to 8/1.
Elliott said: “All the conditions suited him and the race was right. He has promised more than what he has showed, I suppose is the only thing to say. He’s a gorgeous horse and he has won and that’s great. Anything else will be a bonus.”
‘Ya Boy Ya’, a dual points winner, landed the bumper on his course debut with the Colin Bowe runner overhauling ‘Stowaway Sarah’ in the closing stages to provide James Kenny with his first track success.
Kenny stated: “That’s my first winner on the track, I’m based with Colin Bowe and have had over 100 rides in point-to-points and 16 winners (10 of which came last season). I won two point-to-points on ‘Ya Boy Ya’ when he was trained by my father Liam. We had him in great shape at home and he went to Colin’s to run on the track. I turned 21 a month ago.”