Last Downpatrick Race Meeting Of Year Sees Local Winners

Downpatrick racecourse holds its last meeting of the 2021 season.


Downpatrick racecourse holds its last meeting of the 2021 season.

The Mc Grady Hurdle at Downpatrick rapidly changed complexion three from home. 

Getting In Touch having been thirty 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 writes Joe Kavanagh.

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. 

Ask the Leader clear sthe hurdle in the MB McGrady and Co Chartered Accountants Handicap Hurdle (80-95).

“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

Clondaw Bertie leads but Gelee Blanche, third right, is positioned for the final lap.

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 Gellee 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 beat 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.” 

Carnet de Stage wins the Randox Health Handicap.

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 Carnet De Stage which found more prior to the  last and powered clear to open his account and his beat 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.”

Boothen Boy leads from early on in the Randox Health Maiden Hurdle.

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. 

Mars Harper, right, won the Randox Health Rated Maiden Hurdle.


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) lead after two from home however the winner Fassbender trained by Mark Mc Niff 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. 

Fassbender, right, clears the last hurdle strongly challenged by Willyouwalkwithme to win the Randox Health Handicap Hurdle (80-102).

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 (9s to 4/1)  ran on the finish second.  

Kingston Retreat, right, clears the last jump to win get the edge to win the EBF Maiden Hurdle.

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.”