Flanagan in form
Wexford jockey has week to savour
Sean Flanagan was the Wexfordman in form last week with three winners. He rode a short-priced double on Tuesday at Galway and came within inches of making it a three-timer.
He romped away by 17 lengths with the opening novice hurdle abroad the highly-promising Le Martalin (4/5). It was a much tougher task in the €19,000 chase over two miles six furlongs on the Meade-trained Monksland (6/5), who took it up close to home and held on by a head over well-supported favourite Marinero (1/1), the Billy Devereux-bred Presenting mare.
Flanagan nearly pulled off a shock in the €19,500 handicap chase when he was only caught close home on 20/1 shot, Bashful Beauty, by Denis Hogan's Eirí na Cásca (7/1). Hogan was all out and got three days for excessive use of the whip.
Mikey Fogarty (Cleariestown) kept up his good recent run with another great ride and a surprise win in the first at Punchestown on Wednesday on board Gordon Elliott's 20/1 shot, Zanjabeel. He was headed and then got back up to best 7/4 favourite, Zig Zag.
Seán Flanagan had to give best on the Liz Doyle-trained Bosco Di Alco (11/10) to another Elliott runner, Fire in his Eyes (13/8), and Willie Codd (Mayglass) and the Heads or Harps syndicate had to accept second as well but it was another good run by the Billy Devereux-bred Tellthemnuttin (10/1).
Jamie Codd had a bloodless 16-length win in the mares' bumper on Gordon Elliott's Baby Twig, and this could be one to watch. It was Codd's fifth win from his previous seven rides. He suffered an injury on the gallops on Thursday morning and missed out on a couple of promising rides.
Flanagan kept his good form going when winning the first at Downpatrick on Friday on Mahler Ten (7/1) for Noel Meade.
Paul Nolan had his first winner for a while in the two-mile handicap hurdle at Cork on Sunday, with Jonathan Moore back home to give Summerhill Lewis a great ride to get up by a neck.
Seamus Neville (Bridgetown) got second with Ask Nile under Brian Hayes in the maiden hurdle, and Richie Rath (Screen) got second on Balynaclash Warrior in the handicap hurdle.
Aidan O'Brien finished the British flat season at the Champions Day meeting at Ascot with a seventh Group 1 success for Minding(7/4) under Ryan Moore in the Queen Elizabeth 11 Stakes, but had to give best to French superhorse Almanzor (11/8f) in the £1.3m Champion Stakes, with Prix de l'Arc winner, Found (5/2), finishing second in a sixth Group 1 this season.
Aidan was crowned British champion trainer by a very wide margin as it is decided on prize money rather than number of races won.
His 27 wins from 122 runs, nearly all in major races, were worth £7,084,763, nearly £4.4 million ahead of second-placed John Gosden. Yet another major accolade for the Clonroche man.
Jim Crowley is the new champion jockey in Britain with 148 winners, 16 ahead of outgoing champion Silvestre De Souza. Pat McDonald from Monastery Avenue in Taghmon can be very proud of finishing in 17th place with 61 winners.
This is put in perspective when you realise that 300 different jockeys actually rode winners during the season, and hundreds more did not make the winners' enclosure at all.
Jimmy Fortune (Ferns) began the week on a good note with a clear win at Salisbury on Monday on War Chief (5/4f) for Alan King. On Wednesday at Wetherby it took a strong ride from Daryl Jacob (Davidstown) to get Ballybolley (1/1 fav.) home by a neck for Nigel Twiston-Davies.
Pat McDonald rode Mark Johnston's Election Day (5/1) to victory on the all-weather at Newcastle on Friday evening.
Jonathan Moore justified favouritism on Truckers Glory (9/4) for Rebecca Curtis at her local Ffos Las track on Saturday, and Daryl Jacob had a comfortable win in the first at Stratford on Midnight Jazz (5/2f) for Ben Case.