Liz scores on flat at Gowran
Quiet week on home front
Generally it was a quiet week for the Wexford connections here at home, with attention focused almost exclusively on the seven-day Listowel marathon, apart from the annual flat outing on the beach at Laytown on Tuesday and a flat meeting at Gowran on Sunday.
Liz Doyle picked up a rare enough flat winner at Gowran when her five-year-old Annie Irish (10/1) took Division 2 of the 45-65 handicap over a mile, under Colin Keane.
'Annie' had a problem in the stalls three runs ago which kept her out of action for quite a while and Liz was delighted with this effort. She hopes to keep her on the go, with the all-weather at Dundalk a possible option.
Jamie Codd forsook Listowel on Tuesday for a couple of rides for Gordon Elliott in the qualified riders' races at the unique meeting on the sands of Laytown, but had no luck.
He was at Listowel on Wednesday and recorded the only Wexford success of the seven-day Kerry festival in the bumper with the Tom Hogan-trained Doran's River, at a good price of 8/1. He was well ahead of Nina Carberry on the odds-on favourite.
On Saturday, Mikey Fogarty (Cleariestown) made a bold bid to repeat last year's success in the three-mile €17,000 Beasley Engineering Handicap Chase on Colin Bowe's Katie Do (5/1) for the Sheebeen Syndicate.
Seán Flanagan made a lot of the running on Noel Meade's Thomond before Fogarty took it up but Paul Townend loomed on the heavily-punted Curragh Golan (2/1f) and Katie Do had to be content with a gallant second this time.
There were wins for Pat McDonald and Jimmy Fortune in Britain on Friday, both at decent prices. McDonald had lots to spare in a one-mile handicap at Ayr on Sophie P (15/2) for Mike Smith.
Fortune rode a good finish on Temple Church (11/2) for Hughie Morrison at Newbury to hold on by a neck from 11/8 favourite, Raheen House. The money was down as the winner was available at 16/1 in the morning.
Pat Dobbs had a nice winner and showed off his class again in the last at Newbury on Saturday on Richard Hannon's Warrior's Spirit (11/2), picking up well-bred favourite Crystal Ocean (7/4) under Ryan Moore close to home and holding on by a neck and a head in a driving finish to a two-year-old maiden.
The main focus in British flat racing at the moment is the titanic struggle between Jim Crowley and holder, Silvester de Souza, for the jockeys' championship, based on winners obtained from Saturday, April 30, up to October 15 (thus excluding the winter winners on the all-weather tracks for which there is a separate championship).
Tactically, this is very interesting. For instance on Saturday, De Souza swerved the big meetings at Ayr, Newmarket and Newbury and chose to ride at more lowly Catterick and had two winners from a clutch of fancied rides.
Crowley did ride in the first five races at Newbury against most of the top jocks and picked up the first two winners.
He then took flight to Wolverhampton for the evening all-weather meeting, a distance of 120 miles, arriving for the first at 5.40 p.m., which he won. Then he had no success in his remaining seven rides.
In the 8.10 p.m. race he was denied by Jimmy Quinn (New Ross) who was a clear winner at 11/1 on Royal Reef, relegating title-seeking Crowley into second on odds-on favourite, Against the Odds, the third race in a row he filled second place.
This was 13 rides in the day and three winners for Crowley and at the end of play he trailed De Souza in the championship by 109 to 106, well clear of Andrea Atzeni in third on 75. Both have had nearly 600 rides in a punishing season so far. At least they had a rest on Sunday as there was no flat racing in Britain.
Racing in Ireland this week: Tuesday, Ballinrobe; Wednesday, Naas; Thursday, Curragh; Friday, Downpatrick and Dundalk; Saturday, Navan; Sunday, Curragh; Monday, September 26, Roscommon.