A Weekend of Horse Racing In Downpatrick

A Double Horse Racing Weekend at Downpatrick Racecourse


Champion trainer Willie Mullins claimed the featured EBF Mares Hurdle the opening race at Downpatrick on Saturday when Femme Magnifique made all partnered by Kieran Callaghan writes Joe Kavanagh.

The winner held the resolute challenge of runner up Sharp Object supported into favourite which had chased the leader throughout the race. 

Callaghan said: “ She was foot perfect having run in point to points. I didn’t really want to be in front and I hadn’t really asked her but she winged the last and went away – it was very straight forward.”

Petrol Head won the second hurdle race at Downpatrick with Shane O’Callaghan aboard. (Photos by Jim Masson /Down News ©)

Petrol Head formerly trained at Armagh but now based with trainer Katy Brown at the Curragh was supported from 10s to 7/2 and overcame a 708 day absence to win the handicap hurdle in facile fashion with Shane O’Callaghan aboard. 

The winner was content to track the leaders until improving at the penultimate flight and leading at the last quickly shot clear of rivals.  

O’Callaghan said: “He gave me a brilliant feel. He was deadly whether I needed him to come up for me or to get in and dance, he was electric.”

Cullenwaine in the red and black silks (front centre) won the Randox (QR) Handicap Hurdle.

The first division of the amateur riders handicap saw the winner Cullenwaine trained by Philip Rothwell and Philomena Elvin in the saddle go head to head with Renard De Nor (finished fourth) for most of the race but the winner resisted the late challenge of Petingo after the last. 

Elvin said: “He’s a super little horse but can be a pest at times. I spoke to Simon (Torrens) who usually rides him and he told me he as a super jumper.”

Kalsman riidden by JH Williamson was a local winner for Down trainner Liam Lennon.

Josh Williamson, son of former top jockey  Norman Williamson, bolted up in the second division aboard Kalsman trained at Newry by Liam Lennon. 

Williamson Junior who was riding his third winner having just finished his leaving certificate said: “ I didn’t know much about the horse and spoke to Alex Harvey who normally rides him beforehand.

“They went a real gallop and I thought I had got to the front too early.”  Lennon said: “I trained her mother – he might come back here in a couple of weeks as he doesn’t travel well.”

Robin de Roost (left) with Aileen O’Sullivan in the saddle jumps clear to run on and win the Dunlop Homes Rated Novice Hurdle.

The Tom Gibney-trained Robin De Roost whose last win was in 2021 at the track despite now a fourteen year old and ran out of the handicap sprang a 40/1 shock in the 0-109 chase with Aileen O’Sullivan aboard who was recording her second victory.

O’Sullivan said: “ I’m thrilled – I know the owners. We didn’t go quick and that suited him.”

Paddy Hanlon, the son of trainer Shark, registered his fourth winner since turning professional when Tullyveery Lad trained by Ray Cody was ultra game in the closing stages to over haul Stockdale after the last which had attempted to make all in the Caughoo Chase.  

Hanlon said: “ He’s an out and out stayer.” 

Tullyveery Lad leads to win the remembering Caughoo Opportunity Beginners Steeplechase with Paddy Hanlon on the reins.


Chainofconseqence trained by Michael Mc Donagh with Philip Donovan aboard must be considered a lucky winner having been headed by Ocodango Boy which was travelling much the best only to peck on landing and unseat his jockey at the penultimate fence leaving the winner clear of the field. 


The John McConnell-trained Jackson Lamb named after the principal character in the TV series Slow Horses belied his name when scoring in impressive fashion in the concluding bumper with Alex Harvey steering. 

Jackson Lamb guided by Alex Harvey clears the field to romp home in the Tennents NI Handicap Steeplechase.



The Andrew Kinirons-trained Hidden Land supported to joint favourite with Kevin Sexton replacing  Shane Fitzgerald  in the saddle turned the valuable featured EBF Mares Handicap at Downpatrick into a procession when making every yard of the race.

The winner stole a march on rivals being twenty lengths clear going out on the final circuit.

Sexton said: “ I didn’t know I was riding her until just before the race. She won eased down and jumped great. “ 

Hidden Land Ridden by Shane Fitzgerald crosses the line.

Kinirons added: “ She was a cheap mare at £2,500 and we were able to sort her back problem. I couldn’t believe the way she won I thought she was going too fast.

“She is just in foal to Swoop and that’s her fifth win including previously here. The owner is originally from Rostrevor but lives in England.”

Sexton doubled up on the day when claiming the Randox Hurdle on the Paul Flynn trained Rightfolksplease.  The jockey gave the winner a precision ride waiting until well after the last prior to delivering his challenge. 

Sexton said: “ I got it wrong the last day and got there too soon. Paul (Flynn) says he jumps a fence well.”

Flynn added: “ Kevin learnt from the last day at Roscommon. It was a good ride and the horse has strengthened up over the summer. I think he’ll be even better over fences.”

Rightfolksplease ridden by Kevin Sexton (green with yellow star) makes ground challenging to win the Randox handicap Hurdle passing Someone’s Wish and La Hacienda.

The opening race proved dramatic.  Step Out which had made all and still travelling well unseated his rider at the second last then in the straight as the leading trio fought out the finish Ollie La Ba Ba on the inside found himself short of room and crashed into the rails finishing fourth.

However, the winner Talk in The Park  trained by Ross O’Sullivan and with Tom Harney aboard which had challenged on the outside at the final flight kept on the best to prevail with Charlie’s Dilemma running on late to fill second. 

O’Sullivan who heads to Royal Ascot this week with a pair of runners said: “He won well at the end. When he got a smack he veered.

“He had good form on winter ground and came highly recommended. He will head to the Galway Festival.”  Ben Bromley rider of Step Out was taken to hospital for assessment.

Little Trilby with Jake Coen in the Saddle clears the hurdle (left).

Trainer Gordon Elliott maintained his excellent record at the venue when Little Trilby partnered by Jake Coen gave a ultra game front running display to land the maiden hurdle. 

The winner quickened on the downhill run and held the strong challenges of Sirekoff and favourite  Divilskin in the closing stages. 

Coen said: “ I didn’t know a lot about the horse before today. He’ll have no bother staying further.”  


Gers Gigi trained by Gordon Elliot and ridden by HC Swan won the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Mares Flat Race.

Elliott was another to record a double on the day when Gers Gigi partnered by Harry Swan ran out the very easy winner of the concluding mare bumper.

The winner raced second until readily leading a quarter of mile from home from the front running Cabra Lady which finished third. Main market rival Si Se Puede never travelled and was pulled up before halfway.  Swan said: “She’s an improving type of filly.  

“Her last two runs she was probably unlucky to bump into horses. I just kept it very simple on her today, she gallops and she stays going.

“We probably went a bit too quick, but she stays really well and I was happy enough to be up in the van the whole way.”  

The Gillian Callaghan-trained Run For Harry was another to make all and claim the handicap hurdle.

Run For Harry with Philip Byrnes in the saddle edges in front as Alex Harvey challenging on Dollar Value.

The winner with Philip Byrnes aboard and runner up Dollar Value broke clear of the field by twenty lengths going out on the final circuit and the winner was always travelling best of the pair. Byrnes said: “He found plenty, he kept galloping well to the line.

“He has a big stride and they couldn’t peg him back. For a big horse he really cornered well around here and jumped brilliant. He was in top order coming here and we were very hopeful he would be there or thereabouts.

“Big thanks to Gillian and the owner for the opportunity. They will have a bit of fun with him and he will jump a fence as well. A fine horse.”

Rauzan steered by Hugh Morgan (green stripped cap, centre) running in the pack on the first lap well positioned on the heels of early leader Mike O’Connor on Only a Dollar.

The winner Rauzan trained by Eoin Doyle with Hugh Morgan at the reins and Red Glory fought out the finish of the Novice Hurdle. The pair dominated the finish from the last where the winner gained the advantage and went readily clear.   

Morgan said:  “He’s turned a corner of late and jumped well in the main and hopefully will improve again.  I just keep my head down and take what rides come along.”