Absent for rare win
Brennan's seven-year gap bridged
It has been a quiet enough time for Wexford connections on the track recently, but there was a significant winner in the €10,000 maiden hurdle at Downpatrick on Wednesday, a race that had a strong Wexford flavour to the finish.
Johnny Slevin from Caim rode a fine race to boot home 16/1 shot, Our Brian, trained by John Paul Brennan at Monasootha, Camolin, and owned by Tom Power. He took it up on the run-in after the last to foil Cleariestown's Mikey Fogarty on the Des McDonagh-trained Man of Conquest, with Conor O'Dwyer's French Ambassador third, under young Ricky Doyle.
John Brennan has long been successful on the point-to-point scene, sending out ten winners last season, but this was his first win on the track for almost exactly seven years, and he was not there to see it as he was on holidays! Our Brian had won his point-to-point at Tinahely last October and had had a couple of track runs at Wexford.
Johnny Slevin, who has also cut his teeth on the local point-to-point scene, riding quite a few winners for his father Shay, is now attached to the Nigel Twiston-Davies stable in England but is back in Ireland for the summer.
He is doing quite a bit of work with his cousin, Joseph O'Brien (Aidan's son), at the new but already thriving stables at Piltown in Kilkenny.
Jamie Codd from Mayglass made the long journey from his Kildare home to Killarney pay off on Thursday, when he rode a fine race in the concluding bumper to win on Adrian Keatley's 10/1 shot, Mountain Rock.
On the other hand, Davy Russell and Colm Murphy had a bit of bad luck on the same card - Mick Thonic was very much in contention in the beginners' chase when he and Russell crashed out at the second last, Russell having to stand down for a couple of days. There is surely a win in the offing for this one.
At Kilbeggan on Friday night, Jonathan Moore from Adamstown rode out his five-pound claim with a convincing 16-length win on Tulsa Jack (6/1), trained by Noel Meade, in the €50,000 Midlands National. The combination had won the €50,000 Cork National during the winter but had been struggling to re-find that form.
Tom O'Brien, the 30 years old son of Jim and nephew of Aidan, the Master of Ballydoyle, has been working in England since 2004, turning pro in 2006.
He had learned the trade riding out with Shay Slevin (mentioned above) at his Kiltrea yard, and with Aidan, and gained experience on the point-to-point circuit before trying his luck in Britain.
He has been consistently among the jumps winners in the past ten years and banged in three more in the past week, All for the Best (6/1) and Tir Dubh (10/1) for Robert Stephens at Uttoxeter and Worcester, and Instant Karma (10/1) for Michael Bell at Stratford. I reckon he has had over 700 career winners in Britain, including some of the top races.
P.J. McDonald from Taghmon kept up his strike rate with four winners in successive days - Archippos at Hamilton on Thursday at 9/2, Leontes (6/1) on Friday at the same venue for Andrew Balding, Spirit of Zebedee (13/2) at Ripon on Saturday for J.J. Quinn, and Le Deluge (8/1) for Mickey Hammond at Redcar on Sunday.
Aidan O'Brien captured another classic at the Curragh on Saturday, winning his firth Irish Oaks but not with the horse expected.
His Even Song (5/6), under Ryan Moore, was hot favourite but the victor was 14/1 shot Seventh Heaven, the mount of Seamie Heffernan.
O'Brien and Moore did combine to win the €65,000 Group 3 Anglesea Stakes with Peace Envoy, overturning the hot favourite Psychedelic Punk. Such is the unpredictable nature, and the fascination, of racing.
There was robust trade at the recent Tattersalls Ireland Ascot July sale. Top price of €75,000 was paid by trainer Andrew McNamara for Rock On Rio, from Denis Murphy's Ballyboy, The Ballagh, stables.
The Captain Rio gelding had impressed with a winning debut in a four-year-old point-to-point Maiden at Tralee in May.
There is racing at Gowran Park on Saturday; Sunday is a 'rest' day as people prepare for the Galway Festival which runs from Monday to the following Sunday, July 25 to 31.