Locals to the fore
O’Neill rides ‘A Rated’ win for Gorey’s Paddy Redmond
The Wexford race meeting at Bettyville Park on Saturday was an enjoyable occasion despite the cool winds blowing across the track. All the races were well sponsored, there was a good crowd, there were some exciting finishes, plenty of runners and there was a good deal of local success.
The featured €15,000 Sulzer Novice Chase over a fast run two miles produced an exciting finish with all three horses involved coming from local yards. The winner was the well backed A Rated, trained by Liam Kenny at Ballydarragh, Craanford, for Gorey hotelier Pat Redmond, and very well ridden by point to point champion jockey, Barry O'Neill, Kiltealy.
They were following up on an initial success at Kilbeggan on August 17 and trainer Kenny now has a race earmarked for him at the upcoming Listowel Festival as he said jockey O'Neill felt there was more improvement in the Flemensfirth gelding. He held on really well in a great finish when tackled on both sides on the run-in.
Second just half a length back was Colin Bowe's Sharlanda (9/2), under Sean Flanagan which had won three of her previous four outings, and just a head back in third was Ask Nile (10/3), trained in Bridgetown by Seamus Neville and running in the colours of his wife. Brian Hayes was the pilot.
This was a great introduction to Wexford racing for new sponsors, Sulzer, which is a major employer in pumps manufacture just a stone's throw from the track at Clonard, at the premises formerly operated by ABS Pumps. Sulzer had a big presence at the track and certainly seemed to make the most of their day.
Earlier, promising young seven pound claimer, James O'Sullivan, gave a peach of a front-running ride on Cantkidakidder (7/1) in the All New Renault Koleos handicap hurdle over two and a half miles to give Davidstown trainer, Noel Dooly, his first win of the Nat. Hunt season.
He looked like he was going to be swallowed up near the end but O'Sullivan had kept a bit in reserve and they held off the well backed Select Opportunity (5/1jf) by half a length, with Chance It third under Iggy McCarthy.
From Ballydaniel, Camolin, this was O'Sullivan's fourth career win in his first full season, and he was following up on a success in the €20,000 feature race sat Bellewstown on Wednesday aboard Philip Rothwell's (Tinahely) Runyon Rattler. A great week for the young man.
Trainer Paul Nolan, also based in Davidstown, is someone who has been around a long time longer and is used to the ups and downs of racing. Still, he was relieved when veteran Davy Russell steered home his Miss Sassie (13/2) in the Garry Flood Landscaping mares' handicap hurdle as this was his first winner since May. Floods, from Clonroche, specialise in sports ground contracts.
Russell rode her quietly and came from the back to cut them all down in the straight, beating the well backed Lockeen Girl (7/2f), ridden by David Mullins for his father, Tom, by a length and a quarter. Theatre Run (11/1) was just a neck back in third under Shane Shortall.
There was quite a dramatic finish to the opening Audrey McGrath Memorial handicap hurdle with Mark Walsh forcing the Joseph O'Brien trained Successor (4/1) up on the line to deny by a short head the front running Diego Manchego (12/1) under Andrew Lynch for Henry De Bromhead. Third just over a length back was the gambled on Papal Motel (4/1 from 16/1in the morning) under Paul Townend for Andrew McNamara.
The late Audrey McGrath was an important part of the Martina Anne Doran stable set-up at Duncormick and had often led out horses from there in the Wexford parade ring. Members of the Doran family were present for the presentation.
High Nellie (5/4) was one of the best backed and shortest priced runners of the day, and duly obliged in the M2 Construction mares maiden hurdle over three miles, trained by Michael Bowe in Kilkenny and ridden by young Cathal Landers from Limerick.
She won by a comfortable five lengths from Mother's Best (8/1) under Ben Dalton and Mistheatre (7/1), ridden by Robbie Power for Jessica Harrington. It was good to see the Grand Dame of Irish racing present even though she also had runners on the flat at Navan.
There was a bit of drama in the longest race of the day, the John Cullen Grain Ltd handicap chase (the Cullen Mills at Ballylucas, Ballymurn, are grain merchants for county Wexford) over three miles and a furlong. Naughty Molly (13/2) had overcome some jumping errors to assert and look like a winner until falling at the second last.
This left the door open for Robert Tyner's (Cork) Massinis Adventure (10/1) to gallop to the line, a length ahead of Davy Russell on Arthur Moore's well backed Tb Broke Her (7/1), with Bryan Cooper third on his only ride of the day aboard his dad's Crocodile Dundee (9/2f), which raced a long way back and was left with a lot to do.
The finale was the Irish Stallion Farms EBF handicap chase over two miles and victory went to Robbie Hennessy's Magnetic Force (5/1) under Andrew Lynch by three lengths, and the ten year old deserved this day after a string of second finishes this year. Second was Templemichael (9.2) under Adam Short from Wicklow and third was Neddyvaughan (7/1) ridden by Jodie McGarvey for Christy Roche.
One unusual aspect of the day was to see Willie Mullins and Ruby Walsh leaving Wexford empty handed - that does not happen very often.
The next racing at Bettyville is the Wexford Festival two-day meeting on the bank holiday weekend, October 29 and 30.