Seán's six of the best
Flanagan has a week to remember
Jockey Sean Flanagan (Palace East) had one of his best weeks for a long time with six winners in just three racing days towards the end of the week, including a double at Downpatrick on Thursday and a wonderful three-timer at Cork on Friday for three different trainers.
Colin Bowe has been going well and also trained a winner at each of those meetings.
Flanagan's double at Downpatrick on Thursday came on Noel Meade's short-priced favourite, Mr. Showtime (8/13), and then in the Joe Rea Memorial hurdle on the Colin Bowe-trained Reuben James (9/1). Bowe also had a second in the handicap hurdle with Tranquil Magic (7/2) under J.J. Slevin, behind Robbie Colgan on Better Back Bob (14/1).
It was not Jamie Codd's lucky day: he was second in the Downpatrick bumper on Anytime Now (11/8f), and then went down the road to Leopardstown for the last there and was second again, on Adrian Keatley's Mountain Rock (9/10).
Flanagan kicked off his treble in the opening maiden hurdle at Cork with a nicely-timed ride on Shay Barry's Abraham (11/2) to score by three lengths; he followed up in the three-mile maiden hurdle on Major Destination (11/4) for his boss, Noel Meade, and he completed the hat-trick on Colin Kidd's Rashaan (5/2) in the €21,000 feature, seeing off Pique Sous (13/8f) for Ruby Walsh and Willie Mullins.
Colin Bowe had his second win in successive days, this one with Pixie Lane (6/1) under Ricky Doyle in the two and a half mile handicap hurdle. Champion point-to-point jockey, Barry O'Neill (Kiltealy), has been getting a few bumper rides for Edward O'Grady - he was second in Cork on Allardyce (11/4) behind Patrick Mullins on his dad's Katie Connell (2/1f).
Liz Doyle made a nine-hour round trip from Crossabeg to Sligo pay off on Sunday, and Seán Flanagan was the man in the saddle again as he steered La Bella Vida (8/1) to victory in the €14,000 mares' novice hurdle by one and three-quarter lengths over Dawn in the Park (6/1), ridden by J.J. Slevin for Joseph O'Brien.
Doyle was very pleased with the win. 'It took four and a half hours to get here but it's all worth it as long as we take some prize-money home. This race suited her and she got a beautiful ride. She'll probably go to Galway now.' Doyle had second in the bumper with Blunder Buss (9/2) behind Royal Zorro, a shock winner at 25/1.
On the flat, it was a great week here at home for Wexford's big two, with Aidan O'Brien winning eight races and Jim Bolger four, and they finished first and second in a few of them. O'Brien also had a major impact on the big-money July meeting at Newmarket.
Jim and Jackie Bolger had a couple of nice winners of decent races at Roscommon on Monday, but just lost out in the €45,000 Listed Lenebane Stakes.
Pannstarr was a cosy but surprise winner of the fillies' maiden at 14/1, and Slaney Street picked up the €18,000 handicap at 9/2. In the big one, Bolger's Glamorous Approach (4/1) was beaten by John Oxx's Flying Fairies (14/1).
There was an afternoon meeting on the all-weather at Dundalk on Wednesday, to take advantage of the July 12 holiday up north. Aidan O'Brien picked up a couple of winners, Nutcracker Suite (7/1) under daughter Anastasia, and Diodorus (4/9f) ridden by son, Donnacha.
At Leopardstown on Thursday there was a winner each for O'Brien and Bolger. O'Brien won the opening €17,000 maiden with Easter Lily (2/1f) under Donnacha, and the Bolger/Manning combo won a maiden with Fior Cliste (7/2jf).
Bolger missed out in a blanket finish to the big money event of the night, the €100,000 Nasrullah handicap, his Ceol na nOg (9/2) under Manning being beaten by Pat Smullen on Dermot Weld's Tandem (12/1).
O'Brien and Bolger also figured prominently in the major races on Oaks day at the Curragh on Saturday though the big one eluded them as Frankie Dettori (returning from injury) and John Gosden combined to do the English/Irish Oaks double with hot favourite Enable (2/5). O'Brien and Seamie Heffernan picked up €80,000 for second with Rain Goddess.
While Aidan was on duty at Newmarket, the Ballydoyle staff produced three winners at the Curragh.
The Pentagon (9/2) took the opening €20,000 maiden, ridden by daughter Ana; O'Brien and Heffernan combined to take the Group 3 €65,000 two-year-old Jebel Ali Silver Jubilee Anglesey Stakes with Actress (7/1) ahead of Jim Bolger and Kevin Manning with Theobald (10/3).
In the concluding three-year-old maiden, it was the same story, O'Brien and Heffernan again on top with Air of Supremacy (9/10) and Bolger and Manning again second with Godolphin's Ringside Support (4/1).
At the Curragh on Sunday, the Wexford duo were at it again with O'Brien recording another Group 2 double and Bolger also picking up a winner. In the two-year-old six-furlong maiden, Bolger led the way with hot shot Dawn Delivers (4/7) under Manning, half a length ahead of O'Brien's Magical (5/1) under Ryan Moore.
The €115,000 three-year-old race went to an O'Brien outsider, Elizabeth Browning (12/1), ridden by Seamie Heffernan, with Bolger's 7/4 favourite, Turret Rocks, only coming in fourth.
O'Brien and Moore combined to win the €120,000 Minstrel Stakes with Spirit of Valor (5/2f), holding several English raiders at bay.