First meeting of new season all set for Bettyville on St. Patrick's Day
The first meeting of the new season takes place at Wexford racecourse at Bettyville on St. Patrick's Day, with a valuable seven-race National Hunt card down for decision, carrying a prize fund of more than €82,000.
The promoters are urging people to extend their family day out by going on to the races after the parades are over. The Bettyville programme is timed not to clash with the Cheltenham Festival races which will be shown live on the big screen.
Highlight of the Bettyville card is the €25,000 Arctic Tack Stud Veterans' handicap chase at 4.55 p.m. which should feature some popular old timers. The Micheál O Murchadha Memorial rated hurdle at 4.20 p.m., worth €16,500, honours one of the founders of the Wexford track, and The Christy Lynch of the Order of Malta Memorial Novice handicap chase, for €16,000, remembers a popular man who worked for many years at the races with the medical support team prior to his untimely death a couple of years ago.
Other races on the card are: 2.20 p.m., The Wexford Racecourse Supporters' Club maiden hurdle of €10,000; 3 p.m., The Join the Wexford Racecourse Supporters' Club Today handicap hurdle, worth €10,000; 3.40 p.m., The St. Patrick's Day Novice handicap hurdle for €12,000; 5.55 p.m., The Wexford Pro-Am flat race of €9,000.
In other news, Leonard Whitmore, whose stable is based in Inch, had one of the biggest wins of his training career at Navan on Sunday when Kilford won the feature €50,000 Irish Stallion Farms EBF Novice Handicap Chase.
A winner by 27 lengths on his last visit to the Co. Meath track, Kilford was sent off at odds of 4/1 and the outcome was the same as he saw off Oscar Knight by nine and a half lengths. Luke Dempsey was the winning jockey on board for the Fort Road Syndicate.
The Grade 2 mares' novice chase at Limerick on Sunday went to the Noel Meade-trained Bonny Kate who made all the running under Seán Flanagan to beat her market rival Uranna in good style.
Trainer Harry Kelly and Flanagan also landed the final two races at Limerick on Friday.
The pair combined to win the two-mile, five-furlong handicap hurdle with Edvardo who had little difficulty in justifying his cramped odds of 13/8 favourite
Twiss's Hill followed up in the concluding three-mile handicap hurdle in which Bryan Cooper escaped injury when taking a very nasty fall from 11/10 favourite Unic De Bersy.
Jonathan Moore is on a great run and he partnered Lilshane to win the two-mile handicap hurdle at Navan on Sunday.
Notwhatiam was a winner over two miles five furlongs in the maiden hurdle for County Wexford-trainer Richie Rath and Barry O'Neill from Ballindaggin.