Wet And Windy At Downpatrick Races

It was a wet and windy Downpatrick afternoon with testing conditions at the horse racing last Friday.

Scotch Beg supplied a local success at the meeting when making all with Andrew Lynch aboard writes Joe Kavanagh. The winner is trained by Andy Oliver who staged a hugely successful open day last weekend. The winner moving from 20/1 to 9/1 was challenged in the closing stages by Canny Tom but kept on resolutely.  Andy Oliver said: “She loves it around here and runs really well on the Downpatrick course.

Poormans Hill ridden by Jack Kennedy clears the final fence to win the Molson Coors Handicap Steeplechase.

“It was her first time in handicap company, although it was a rated hurdle. Andrew (Lynch) knows her well. She got comfortable, got a nice rhythm and stuck at it well. The timing seems to suit us as we for the last meeting of the year at Downpatrick). It is just about a month’s time so we will probably come back providing there is no extremes in the state of the ground.”

Slippery Serpent, trained by Tipperary maestro Edward O’Grady, supplied an impressive effort to easily claim the opener. Supported from morning prices 4/1 to 13/8 O’Grady’s progressive youngster readily accounted for favourite Hardline when leading at the final flight having tracked the leaders throughout.  Edward O’Grady said:  “Jockey Paul Townend said it was a messy race, and was a bit stop and start.

UTV presenter Pamela Ballantine makes a presentation to Poorman’s Hill owner Vincent Caldwell, with partner Annie and Gordon Elliot trainer.

“Early on he said he was going a bit slow for his jumping. He said that once they speeded up his jumping was dynamite.  The favourite (Hardline) is an above average horse they think and they thought he was very fit. I think for Downpatrick it was a very fair standard maiden hurdle.  He is not ground dependent so we’ll keep him on the go.”

Young Jack Kennedy recorded his second winner since returning from injury with an enterprising front running ride on Charms Bracelet in the handicap hurdle. The winner 20’s to 9/1 made all and had a ten length advantage prior to the last before holding Pinotage trained by Kennedy’s boss Gordon Elliott. The winner is trained by Adrian Murray and ran at Galway on Tuesday.

Kennedy said: “ I rode her two runs ago at the Maze and she ran a cracker. She just likes to be up front and get her own way. She jumped brilliantly and everything went to plan today. I thought at Down Royal she wanted a bit more of ease in the ground.”  Kennedy doubled up when Poormans Hill made a winning debut for Gordon Elliott in the handicap chase. The winner went clear after two out. Kennedy said: “He jumped great and the ground suited. He nearly jumped the last too well! He gave it plenty of height! It was an ideal race for him.”  Elliott added the horse is entered and could run again at Sligo next week.

Ruby Walsh demonstrated why he is champion jockey when winning on Floromar. The champion improved second two out but challenged wide seeking better ground and headed 1/2 favourite Up For Discussion after the last to win going away. Newry-based trainer Neil McKnight succeeded in placing Secret Approach in third place.

Walsh said: “ Floramar keeps plenty for himself but the trip and testing ground suited him. He kept pulling out and pinged the last. He wasn’t going well so I was pulling him left and right trying to get him on the bridle. It was no master plan – when you’re not going well you need to do something.”    Trainer Conor O’Dwyer added:  “An unbelievable ride! I’m his biggest fan but that’s as good a ride as I’ve seen him give a horse. He’s not an easy horse, he doesn’t help you but my God I owe Ruby one!”

Winner of the Black Horse Flat at Downpatrick was Nina Carberry on Roseriver Has (left) who was strongly challenged up the home straight by Gordon Elliot-trained Stooshie ridden by JJ Codd.

The penultimate fence on the chase course was omitted in all chases. Tranquil Magic trained by leading points handler Colin Bowe and a course winner gave a dour performance to land the beginners chase in the hands on Johnny Slevin who said: “ Colin had her spot on. She did it well and it was great to get the ride on her again. She’s been very consistent all year.”

Punters pal Nina Carberry returned to race in Downpatrick riding after the birth of her daughter, Rosie, at Ballinrobe on Thursday night and quickly doubled her score when winning the finale on the aptly named Roseriver Has for trainer Noel Meade.   A smiling Nina Carberry said:  “I got there a bit early, a bit soon but he battled back well. He did well in the end. In fairness to him he kept going, and he’s not that big. It’s hard enough going out there but he got through it well.”

The Navan trainer said: “Magic Ms! Isn’t it fantastic? She’s unreal! She said he found more when she put the whip down. I’ll have to see it again but she said he was curling up a little bit when she hit him. She had her mind made up she was going round the inside going out.

“The lad won very easy yesterday and I thought this was near enough the same sort of horse. I was a shade worried about the ground because he didn’t seem to handle it in Sligo, but it wasn’t as bad as Sligo.”

The No Rush Man Syndicate pictured with winning jockey Nina Carberry and Chairman of the Downpatrick racecourse board, Peter Stewart, left.