Perfect 'Day' in Belmont Park!
WEXFORD-SURGED cheers fused halfway across the Atlantic on Wednesday night last when Ballycogley native Jimmy Day trained Our Emerald Forest to claim an $85,0000 Maiden Special Weight for three-year-olds and upwards at Belmont Park, New York.
Jimmy has been residing in the States for the best part of 30 years and is currently based in Millwood, Virginia, where he handles the four-year-old winner for owner, Magalen Bryant. His brother Maurice, speaking from Ballycogley at the weekend, was delighted with his sibling's success, revealing the horse had been knocking at the door of late.
'Dermot, another brother, bred Our Emerald Forest and Jimmy brought him over to the States. He is by Zerpour who has since passed away but he has another stallion, Watar, standing now. Our Emerald Forest had been placed twice, most recently in Saratoga. He is out of Forest Delight who is a half-sister to Irish Derby winner, Cape Blanco.
'The family has been involved in racing for years and Paddy bred Minnehoma who won the Aintree Grand National in 1994, trained by Martin Pipe, ridden by Richard Dunwoody and owned by Freddie Starr. One of the more recent big names Dermot bought in and sold on was Peddlars Cross who is trained by Donald McCain now.'
It was a super Saturday at Fairyhouse for Wexford connections with the Sean Thomas Doyle-trained Sir Loujay (9/2) and Colm Murphy-trained Top Spin (4/1) both first past the post in their respective races. Ben Dalton had his first winner since taking a fall at Down Royal on August 30 when landing the Fairyhouse Premier Jump Racing Weekend Handicap Hurdle on top-weight Sir Loujay. Sean Doyle trains Sir Loujay for Pauric Byrne and the Wexford handler said afterwards that the addition of a hood had helped.
'I'm delighted with that. He jumped lovely today and I think the hood was a big help. Ben was very relaxed on him and gave him every chance. He ran a bit free the last day. I fancied him coming here after his last run - I thought the big galloping track would suit him. He'll go over fences now - chasing is his game.'
Top Spin won the Become A Member Of Fairyhouse 2014 Handicap Hurdle for Killenagh handler Colm Murphy. A 175,000 guineas buy out of the John Murphy yard in July, 2011, he fought off joint favourite Fantasy King by a neck, while the Willie Codd-trained The Amarillo Kid (14/1) finished third.
Meanwhile, Dawn Commander (15/8), previously handled by Willie Codd, won a beginners' chase at Exeter on Wednesday last. 'We had him here and he won a point-to-point and a maiden hurdle for us two years ago,' said Mayglass-based Codd. 'Jamie rode him for the point-to-point win in Tinahely and Paul Townend rode him when he won the hurdle race at the Wexford Bank Holiday meeting almost two years ago to the day before he eventually moved onto Charlie Longsdon.'
The Wexford colours were also flying high at Limerick on Sunday when Paul Nolan's Far Away So Close (1/5f) went clear before the third last to sail to victory 42 lengths to the good in the Pricewaterhousecoopers Steeplechase (Grade 3). James Nolan, assistant trainer to his brother Paul, said afterwards: 'He has been a great money-spinner. Hopefully he will be okay as he has had leg trouble in the past. You could call him frustrating but he is always in the money and he never runs a bad race. I just hope he is okay in the morning.
'Davy (Russell) said he wasn't having a cut at his fences. He would prefer more of an ease in the ground. We will have a talk with Eddie and Michael (O'Leary) now to see where he goes next, but he will probably stick to the conditions race and maybe go for a few handicaps.' Jockey Davey Casey enjoyed a 120/1 double when Emily Gray (10/1) and Pass the Hat (12/1) won at the Munster track.
Aidan and Joseph O'Brien were in double form at The Curragh on Sunday, teaming up with Century (11/4) to take the opening Irish Stallion Farms European Breeders Fund Maiden and Heirloom (7/2) to win the Listed Join Go Racing In Kildare 2014 Finale Stakes. Aidan O'Brien also brought a strong team of juveniles over to Newmarket on Saturday and War Command got him on the scoresheet by prevailing in the Group 1 Dubai Dewhurst Stakes.
Joseph O'Brien broke the record for the number of winners ridden in a season in Ireland in style at Navan on Wednesday by riding a treble. O'Brien equalled and then broke the record on horses trained by his father Aidan, with Sardinia (7/4f) winning the October Maiden and Marvellous (9/2) winning the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Fillies Maiden. O'Brien put the cherry on top of a memorable day with him riding the Denis Cullen-ridden Dysios (13/2f) to victory in the first division of the Meath Handicap. The record had been held by the legendary Mick Kinane for his tally of 115 winners back in 1993, which incidentally was the year Joseph O'Brien was born.
Paul Nolan has also revealed that he is excited about sending Defy Logic over fences this season. While his debut over bigger obstacles may be delayed by the unseasonably quick ground, he has been reportedly been schooling well at home.
Charles Byrnes has confirmed in the past week that the Leopardstown Christmas Festival is the first major target of the season for his World Hurdle hero Solwhit.
Racing fans will be pleased to hear that details of the Wexford Racecourse Supporters' Club Day Trip has been announced and the punters' fun bus will head for Clonmel on Thursday, October 31, next. They are hoping to fill a 50-seater coach with all members and non-members are welcome. Booking is on a first come, first served basis.
Please call either Mary on 087-3828099 or Jim on 086-8781860. Coach stops will be 10.15 a.m. Ferrycarrig Hotel, Wexford; 10.45 a.m. Riverside Hotel Wexford; 11.15 a.m. The famine Centre, New Ross. The total cost for the trip is €45 per person, which includes coach, admission, race card and four-course meal at Clonmel Racecourse, to be paid in advance or on coach. Bookings must be confirmed by Friday, October 18.
Racing over the coming week takes place at the following Irish racetracks: Curragh - Tuesday, October 15 (first race 1.45); Punchestown - Wednesday, October 16 (first race 2:15); Punchestown - Thursday, October 17 (first race 2:15); Downpatrick - Friday, October 18 (first race 2:25); Dundalk - Friday, October 18 (first race 6:15); Cork - Saturday, October 19 (first race 2:05); Naas - Sunday, October 20 (first race 1:40) and Cork - Sunday, October 20 (first race 2:20).