Leopardstown a happy hunting ground
THE CHEERS of jubilant Wexford racing fans reverberated around Leopardstown racing tack for successive Sundays, as the Paul Nolan-trained 'The Mooch' swooped to victory in the two miles, one furlong Sandyford Chase at a very tasty 16/1.
Owned by legendary Tipperary hurler Nicky English, Nolan's charge, twice a winner at Bettyville, rallied under Adamstown rider Jonathan Moore to get up close home to deny Just Get Cracking.
Nolan's win comes hot on the heels of Colm Murphy's Empire of Dirt triumphing at the same venue on the previous weekend. The welcome return to form of Wexford trainers is reinforced by Crossabeg handler Liz Doyle saddling Late Goodbye to win the two miles, four furlongs rated novice hurdle at Navan on Saturday, and the five-year-old was completing a hat-trick of wins in the process.
A 7/2 shot, he held off odds-on favourite Victory Mill to win by half-a-length and it was the opening leg of a double for New Ross-man Seán Flanagan who also took the two miles, four furlongs handicap hurdle on David Kelly's 12/1 chance, Edvardo.
Adamstown's Jonathan Moore was celebrating with Paul Nolan at Leopardstown on Sunday but he also was in the winners' enclosure at Fairyhouse, on Wednesday, when Cerca Trova took the two miles handicap hurdle for local trainer Jim Dreaper.
Ruby Walsh reached yet another milestone in a truly remarkable career when he rode his 2,500th winner at Gowran Park on Thursday. The ten-time National Hunt champion jockey reached the milestone when taking the opening race on Footpad and he quickly followed up with Au Quart De Tour to bring his Irish tally to 1,738 winners.
In addition, Walsh has ridden 754 winners in Britain, one each in Japan and Australia, and seven in France. Fittingly, he rode his first winner, Siren Song, at Gowran Park on July 15, 1995. That winner was trained by his father, Ted Walsh.
Racing takes place at the following Irish racetracks over the following week: Thurles, Wednesday, January 27 (first race 1 p.m.); Thurles, Thursday, January 28 (first race 1.05 p.m.); Dundalk, Friday, January 29 (first race 6 p.m.); Fairyhouse, Saturday, January 30 (first race 12.50 p.m.); and Punchestown, Sunday, January 31 (first race 1.30 p.m.).