Flanagan in groove
Impressive wins at Galway and Navan
Sean Flanagan bookended his week nicely with wins for his boss, Noel Meade, at Galway on Monday and Navan on Saturday, while Colin Bowe and J.J. Slevin combined for success at wet and windy Downpatrick on Friday.
Flanagan had a cosy success on 5/4 favourite, Moyross, for Noel Meade in the maiden hurdle at Galway. The pair also had a second on Aint Done Yet in the beginners' chase, behind Henry De Bromhead's Montana Belle (9/4f).
At Navan, they had a convincing win on Meade's hot favourite, Moulin A Vent (4/9), in the Meath Farm Machinery Hurdle. He also picked up minor money with a couple of thirds for Meade in other races.
Also at Galway, Paddy Cloke from Bree sent out Bellgrove (5/1) under Davy Russell in the handicap chase and he ran well to be close up second behind Fenlon's Hill (5/1), while Jamie Codd also filled second spot in the bumper on Martin Brassil's outsider, Florazi (10/1), behind Liam Quinlan on Mysloegin (5/1).
Jim Bolger and Kevin Manning had a 34/1 double at a low-key Fairyhouse flat meeting on Wednesday. Solar Wave (6/1) got up by a head from Conor Keane on Daliyah (9/2f), and Focus on Heaven (4/1) won the six-furlong maiden.
Aidan O'Brien kept in the picture with a short head win in the six-furlong two-year old maiden by Threeandfourpence (1/2 favourite), ridden by Seamie Heffernan.
The Wexford contingent at Ballinrobe's final jumps meeting of the year on Thursday did not have a very lucrative day. Jamie Codd was second in the bumper on Elusive Exclusive, but this race was notable for the return of Nina Carberry four months after having her baby and she romped home on the well-backed Cask Mate (7/1 in the morning into 9/4f) for Noel Meade.
It was the same story in the bumper at wet and windy Downpatrick on Friday, with Carberry and Meade again prevailing with Roseriverhas (5/2), but this time Codd was just a head behind on Gordon Elliott's Stooshie (4/5f).
Earlier on the card, Colin Bowe sent out Tranquil Magic (9/4jf) in the capable hands of J.J. Slevin from Caim to win the €15,000 Beginners' Chase by a comfortable five lengths.
This was her first time over the bigger obstacles after enjoying a hurdles success at the same venue in August, also with Slevin on board.
Conor O'Dwyer booked Ruby Walsh to ride his Floramar (4/1) in the maiden hurdle and the pair gave him his tenth winner of the summer, a very welcome revival in fortunes for the Wexford town native. O'Dwyer, twice a Gold Cup and Champion Hurdle winner at Cheltenham, was effusive in his praise of Walsh's efforts.
There was a big money flat meeting at Naas on Sunday in very heavy underfoot conditions, and Aidan O/Brien had a 1-2 in the €120,000 Group 2 Juddmonte Beresford Stakes which he has farmed; this was his seventh win in a row in the race and 17th in all. Ryan Moore picked the right one, Saxon Warrior (5/6) beating Seamie Heffernan on Delano Rossevelt (7/2).
Otherwise, it was a frustrating afternoon for O'Brien and Moore, finishing second in the other three big races on James Cook (3/1jf), Sizzling (3/1) in the Weld Park Stakes, and Alphabet (13/2) behind Karl Burke's Quiet Reflection (5/2f).
Racing this week is at Tipperary (Tuesday), Sligo (Wednesday), Clonmel (Thursday), Gowran and Dundalk (Friday), Gowran (Saturday), and Tipperary (Sunday).