Joy down under
Kilmore native shines in $100k race
Kilmore Quay jockey, Martin Kelly, was the toast of racing punters Down Under last week, after he landed the A$100,000 feature race on day one of the Warrnambool May Carnival.
Hailed by the Australian media as 'King Kelly', the 25-year-old father-of-two rides for top jumps trainer Eric Musgrave, and is based in Melbourne. He gave the short-priced favourite 'Thubiann' a peach of a ride to win the 3,450m Brierly Steeplechase by six lengths.
His mother, Linda, reported her son to be on cloud nine when she spoke to him following his major success. The feature-race win was a case of 'icing on the cake', as Kelly scored a double on the opening day card, and took home the 'Leading Jockey' title from the three-day Carnival.
'He was thrilled with the win,' Linda told this newspaper on Monday morning. 'He is a graduate of the racing academy in Kildare and learned his trade under Jim Dreaper.
'Jim set him up with a contact in Australia, and he went our for a three-month working holiday seven years ago.
'He liked it so much that he came back got the paperwork done and returned as quickly as he could.'
Kelly could have more to look forward to next season with 'Thubiann', as trainer Musgrave has Japan in his sights.
'He's one of the best horses I've had,' said Musgrave. 'He's just a lovely horse, has a high cruising speed, he tries hard and he can gallop. He'll go to the Australian (Steeplechase) and then maybe on to the (Grand) National.' Musgrave has won three consecutive Nakayama Grand Jumps with the Irish-bred Karasi.
'It's my first double, I'm just lost for words really,' reported the Kilmore Quay afterwards. 'To win the maiden hurdle at this great carnival was a thrill but I can't explain how excited I am about winning the Brierly. I can't thank Mr. Musgrave enough for putting me on this superstar jumper.'
Meanwhile, it was a good day for Kiltealy trainer Colin Bowe and Connor King at Gowran
Park on Saturday, when the pair combined to take the apprentice handicap with Tawseef.
Also on the Kilkenny card, the Willie Mullins-trained Wicklow Brave follow up on his Cheltenham success with a comfortable win under David Casey in the two-mile maiden.
Racing takes place at the following Irish racetracks over the coming weeks: Killarney, Tuesday, May 12 (today, first race 5.40 p.m.); Naas, Wednesday, May 13 (first race 5.35 p.m.); Tipperary, Thursday, May 14 (first race 5.30 p.m.); Dundalk, Friday, May 15 (first race 5.55 p.m.); Kilbeggan, Friday, May 15 (first race 5.40 p.m.); Punchestown, Saturday, May 16 (first race 2.05 p.m.); Limerick, Sunday, May 17 (first race 2.30 p.m.), and Navan, Sunday, May 17 (first race 2.15 p.m.).