Last Race Meeting For Season In Downpatrick


The last race meeting at Downpatrick racecourse for the 2018 season took place last Friday with a moderate crowd of die-hard punters supporting in rain-swept conditions writes Joe Kavanagh. Conditions on the course were good to yielding.

Ger Fox was content to sit third for most of the Molson Coors Maiden Hurdle race prior to leading at the final flight and scoring aboard the Gavin Cromwell-trained A Place Apart which was supported from 10’s to 9/2  won with a bit in hand readily denying favourite and runner up Free Ranger.   Cromwell said: “He eventually won a race!  We went for a bit of a touch as a three-year-old in Limerick and he didn’t quite get home.  I thought he would have won races by now.”

A Place Apart ridden by Ger Fox wins the Molson Coors Maiden Hurdle.

Another gamble was landed when the Noel Meade-trained He’s No Molly [10s to 9/4] claimed the second race which was reduced to four runners with conditions deteriorating because of the very heavy drizzle. Favourite Solindian fell four from home when a close second while the winner partnered by Jonathan Moore lead two from home for a facile victory.  The winner is owned by Belfast-based Mrs Patricia Hunt.

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Trainer Noel Meade said:  “He lives out that fella and since we let him out he has improved a bit. He used to worry himself to death in the stable.  The race fell apart but he kept going and he got round in one.  He mightn’t stay too long over hurdles. I’d say he might go jumping fences because he is an out-and-out stayer.”

Muroor on the inside races past Montys Angel after clearing the last fence in the Portman Dentalcare Handicap Hurdle.

Conor Maxwell got a dream run up the inside going to the last to claim the handicap hurdle on the Tom McCourt trained Muroor which was gaining a repeat course victory. The very well-supported Maighnealta fell at halfway.  McCourt said:  “He loves it up here and Conor Maxwell has him down to a tee dropping him back and he loves just finding himself picking up to them again. He has plenty of ability this horse. These type of tracks suit him.”

Holy Motivation looked set for success in the handicap hurdle when leading at the last, however, Caerleon Kate with Denis O’Regan in the saddle made steady progress in the final half mile and challenged in the last hundred yards to win and register a local victory with the winner trained at Crossgar by Colin Mc Bratney.   

Speaking after the win, McBratney said: “Caerleon Kate loves it around here. The last day in Navan she ran no race and Denis (O’Regan) said that slower ground for this filly, who is bred for top of the ground, and bring her back here. He gave her a great ride and said one thing he knew she would do is stay up the hill which she did and it was a fantastic ride. He’s a top-class rider and the best hold-up jockey in the country.”

Chambord Du Lys trained by champion trainer Willie Mullins and favourite for the feature race flattered to deceive and having travelled like a winner could only finish a poor fourth behind the Gordon Elliott-trained Silver Star  in the JP Corry Building Suppliers Hurdle with champion jockey Davy Russell aboard despite a mistake at the last proved an easy winner to justify support from 8’s to 5/2.   Elliott said:  “He was one of our better chances coming here. He has loads of different roads to go. He can go on the flat or over fences.”

Davy Russell is all smiles on Silver Star after winning the JP Corrry Building Suppliers Hurdle.

Cromwell doubled up on the day when Moonball  made all from flag fall with Paul Townend replacing Andrew Lynch in the saddle.  The winner had finished runner up on his last visit to the track and the winning jockey was able to ease the four-year old in the closing stages and could have a nice future ahead.  Cromwell said on completing his double:  “I thought she was kind of running away with him and I thought she might not last it out, but she stayed at it well.   She loved it. She is a great leaper.”

Ballyfinboy owned and trained by Jimmy Finn and partnered by David Mullins improved from halfway as a trio, vied for the lead but went to the front at the penultimate fence to win the final race of the season at the track.

It was a blek, rainy scene at Downpatrick racecourse after the last race, and the punters had retreated inside to the hostelries to celebrate their wins…  or drown their sorrows.

Ballyfinboy owned and trained by Jimmy Finn and partnered by David Mullins improved from halfway as a trio, vied for the lead but went to the front at the penultimate fence to win the final race of the season at the track.

It was a bleak, rainy scene at Downpatrick racecourse as the last race wound up, and the punters retreated inside to the hostelries at the racecourse to celebrate their wins…  or drown their sorrows.



Next race meeting at Downpatrick Racecourse is the Ulster National Racemeeting on Sunday 24 March 2019.