Liz wins for mother
Family affair for Doyles at Clonmel
Liz Doyle sent a team of four to Clonmel on Thursday and came away with a winner and a second. The winner was nine-year-old Maguire's Glen (3/1f) in the colours of her mother, Avril, in the two and a half mile handicap chase, under Donagh Meyler, the horse's first win for three years.
The second came courtesy of Without Limites in the opening maiden hurdle under Brian O'Connell.
Seán Flanagan kept the Wexford flag flying at Navan on Saturday in the handicap hurdle with a superb late burst from Bilbo Baggins (16/1 in morning into 8/1), to deny Camlann, for Westmeath trainer Adrian Murray and New York-based owner Tony McLoughlin who was present for his first-ever winner. Camlann came out again at Leopardstown on Sunday and won under rising star, Rachael Blackmore.
Well-backed Crosshue Boy (13/8 fav.) seemed certain to win the beginners' chase for trainer Seán Thomas Doyle (Ballindaggin) and rider Mikey Fogarty (Cleariestown) when they headed Suas Sios before the last and went on, but the heavy conditions may have found him out and Suas Sios got back up to deny them close home.
At Sunday's Leopardstown meeting, Joseph O'Brien had a clean sweep with his three runners in the bumper, and winner on the outsider of them was Jamie Codd on High Tide (at a remarkable 9/1), ahead of Patrick Mullins and Sarah O'Brien, both on 11/4 shots.
Codd had driven over to Dublin from the point-to-point meeting in Limerick to take the ride, and this was some compensation for not scoring on two heavily-punted Gigginstown bumper horses during the week when he had dashed away from two points meeting in the North of Ireland.
In Britain, Tom O'Brien got his week off to a flyer with a winning hurdles treble from just four rides at Plumpton on Monday, making it six winners in just three days, and he finished the week with a big win at Huntingdon on Sunday.
He was a handy winner on Monday on the short-priced Philip Hobbs runner, Cigarisi (1/3), in the opening maiden hurdle; he made all on Snippetydoodah (4/1) for Martin Roberts in the mares' hurdle, and he ended with Minella Gathering (6/4f) for Paul Henderson.
O'Brien kept up the good work on Wednesday when he made the trip to Musselburgh for one spin and duly won the handicap hurdle on Silver Streak (7/2 jf) for Evan Williams who had travelled up from Wales.
On Thursday at Taunton, O'Brien was noted down the field on Roadie Joe, trained by Williams and owned by Billy Bates from Kilmore. Jonathan Moore had his last couple of rides before Cheltenham for Rebecca Curtis as he began his suspension on Saturday for his winning ride on Bigbadjohn.
Pat McDonald got a winner from four rides at Newcastle, aboard On Fire (2/1) for Jim Bethell.
O'Brien book-ended his week with a fine win in the marathon £25,000 Cambridgeshire National at Huntingdon on Court Frontier for trainer Paul Morgan.
Pat Dobbs from Enniscorthy picked up another big prize at Meydan in a €200,000 plus listed race, winning by a length on Cosmo Charlie for trainer Doug Watson, and he also won a €30,000 race for Watson on Friday on Just A Penny at Jebel Ali, Dubai, where Dobbs is the leading rider over the past five seasons.
The new season opens at the Bettyville Wexford racecourse on St. Patrick's Day, when the Gold Cup and the other races from Cheltenham will be available on the big screen. It is quite a strong Wexford card with €104,000 on offer for the seven races, including the €26,000 Arctic Tack Stud veterans' race. See a full preview in our special Cheltenham section next week.