Doubles up north
Bowe, Slevin and O’Neill all triumph
It was a great day for Wexford at Downpatrick on Sunday - trainer Colin Bowe and rider J.J. Slevin each had a double and Barry O'Neill scored in the bumper for his own 'double' as it was his second win in successive days.
Bowe's Sharlanda (10/3jf) had her second win in a row under Seán Flanagan in the mares' handicap hurdle, following up a Limerick win a couple of weeks ago. Though in foal, it was her third win in four outings as she won at Gowran under J.J. Slevin on June 24.
Bowe and Slevin combined to win the 80-95 handicap hurdle over two miles five furlongs with Tranquil Magic (11/4f) who just got home by a neck from Better Back Bob (7/1), and Slevin completed his double on Mischievous Max (5/2) for his cousin, Joseph O'Brien, in the maiden hurdle.
Barry O'Neill, point-to-point champion, has been riding quite a few bumper horses for Edward O'Grady and the combination came up trumps on Sunday with Slippery Serpent (backed from 7/2 into 9/4), winning very snugly by more than five lengths.
On Saturday at Kilbeggan, O'Neill was on board A Rated (7/1) for trainer Liam Kenny from Ballydarragh, Craanford, as he won at the ninth attempt in the Kieran Kelly Memorial Beginners' Chase.
Owned by Gorey hotelier, Pat Redmond, the horse has been a consistent sort on the track since he won his point-to-point at Lingfield in November, 2015, rarely being outside the first four and being a close third in a hurdle at the Punchestown Festival in April.
The race honoured the memory of jockey Kieran Kelly who lost his life after a fall at the Kilbeggan track 14 years ago. Kenny was pleased with this run and may aim A Rated at the Listowel Festival in September if the ground is good.
J.J. Slevin was second on Joseph O'Brien's Awkwrisht. He had scored for O'Brien earlier in the week, at Cork on Monday on Slievenamon (7/1) in a mares' handicap hurdle, ahead of Paul Nolan's Jet Mistress (16/1).
Jamie Codd won the Kilbeggan bumper on Gordon Elliott's odds-on favourite, Anytime Now (4/7), turning the tables emphatically on Patrick Mullins who was 27 lengths behind on his dad's Itsonlyrockandroll.
Aidan O'Brien continued his steady flow of winners on the flat during the week, picking up the main races most days. He won the feature in a low-key Curragh meeting on Monday with Fleet Review (5/2); he did a double at Cork on Tuesday with Magical (2/5f), and Sir John Lavery (5/2f) in the listed €47,000 Platinum Stakes.
He won the featured €63,000 Grade 3 Ballyroan Stakes at Leopardstown on Thursday evening with the outsider of his pair, Spanish Steps (6/1), under Seamie Heffernan, ahead of Ryan Moore on Johanne Vermeer (4/5).
O'Brien completed a double in the last with Abyssinian (4/5), ridden by son, Donnacha, and combined with him again on Friday evening at Tipperary to snap up the €55,000 listed stakes with Ballet Shoes (11/4).
O'Brien and Ryan Moore were in dominant form on Sunday in the main races at the Curragh with a winning hat-trick, featuring Sioux Nation in the €250,000 Group 1 Phoenix Stakes for two-year-olds. This was Aidan's 16th time to win this race and he also saddled third and fourth.
They won with Mendelssohn (5/4f) in the two-year-old maiden, and with Washington DC (11/4f) in the €63,000 Grade 3 Phoenix Sprint, and they were second in the €30,000 two-year-old fillies' race with Sizzling (2/5), behind Edward Lynam's Muirin under Wayne Lordan.
Moore had ridden Deauville into third in the Arlington Million at Chicago on Saturday night, leading until collared in the last one hundred yards.
Then it was right back to the airport and on to the Curragh on Sunday afternoon.
Even allowing for the ammunition supplied, O'Brien's Ballydoyle domination is startling and he is already showing in these two-year-old races that next year's crop will maintain the momentum.
A reminder that the four-day Festival at Tramore begins on Thursday and concludes next Sunday.