Cromwell And Donoghue Go Well At Downpatrick Races

Donoghue Gets 11th Winner Of The New Season At Downpatrick Race Meeting

Billaway which completed the Cheltenham and Punchestown Champion Hunterchase double in 2022 was unable to end his racing career on a winning note being pulled up after the final fence in the Downpatrick feature chase writes Joe Kavanagh.

The Sean Doyle-trained Private Ryan partnered by Jamie Scallan won the valuable featured hunterchase after the gallant Gorthill attempted to give connections of the sponsor Wilson Dennison victory making most of the running until headed after the last and trained by Dennison’s daughter Caroline Mc Caldin going down by just a half-length.  

Scallan said: “ It’s great to win such a valuable race.  I’m based with Sean and rode twenty one winners in points this season. He was stepping up a mile over that marathon trip tonight.”

Jockey Jamie Scallan with Private Ryan at the winner’s enclosure.
(Photos by Jim Masson/Down. News©)

It was great to learn the sporting gesture of Barry O’Neill and Rob James each having rode thirty nine winners in points this season their early decision to share the champion rider title. 

Ballyclare jockey Sam Ewing claimed the opener when making all on the Gordon Elliott-trained Big Stage which was always in command and scored very easily. 

Ewing said: “ He’s a lovely horse and did it well. He’ll make a proper chaser.” 

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The Ballyclare rider adopted similar tactics to record a quick double in the handicap hurdle on the Noel Meade trained Golden Temple bolting clear after jumping the final flight.

That’s About Right beat Paddy Elvis (left) on the finishing line.

Conor Owens aboard the Philip Rothwell-trained That’s About Right was content to track the leading trio until challenging on the downhill run and leading after the last to deny the locally-trained Paddy Elvis which attempted to make all in the claiming riders handicap hurdle.

Owens said: “ My family has no connection with racing and I hadn’t sat on a horse until two and half years ago but it’s a great start to the season as that’s three wins from seven rides so far this season.”

Trainer Gavin Cromwell and jockey Keith Donoghue maintained their purple patch of form when the rider recorded his eleventh winner of the new season in facile fashion the winner ballooning the final fence.  

Donoghue said: “ They went a good gallop and I thought Sam’s horse was the one to beat. It’s great two weeks ago I came back from injury so I’m thrilled.”

Big Girl Betty speeds up the home straight to win with John Barry in the saddle.

Big Girl Betty trained at Sligo by Mark McNiff having finished second in the maiden hunterchase last year went one better when scoring in yesterday’s renewal with Johnny Barry in the saddle. 

Barry said: “ She idled when we hit the front. It’s great to go one better than last season and that the first of the season for Mark ( Mc Niff).”

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The heavily supported favourite Sheephaven Flyer was always in the rear and jumped poorly and never a factor in the contest. 

Pepperpots romps home as a 100/1 winner in the bumper race with BJ Walsh at the reins.

The meeting concluded with a 100/1 shock when Pepperpots, bred, trained and partnered by Barry John Walsh made most to score with favourite backers of Big City Lights knowing their fate a  long way from home. 

Meanwhile Caledon trainer Andy Oliver sprang a 50/1 shock when Orchidacae with Andy Slattery aboard won the opening race of the Guineas Festival at the Curragh last night.

Slattery said: “It was a super performance, she improved a lot from the first run and she was professional in front.

“I spoke to Andy on the way down and in fairness to him he told me he liked her. He thought maybe if she got a bit of cover she might come home the way she has been doing at home.” 

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