Slevin on the double
Horse racing: JJ repeats previous Wexford feat
J.J. Slevin from Caim recorded a winning double for the second successive meeting at Bettyville on Wednesday, one of them being a repeat success on In A Pinch, trained by his dad, Shay, and owned by Peter and Karen Sinnott from Ballygarrett.
Meanwhile, many times champion trainer, Willie Mullins, reached an impressive landmark when producing his 3,000th winner.
In A Pinch was bought for a bargain-basement price of €800 and he is certainly providing his connections with lots of fun now as she seems to thrive on good ground.
She went off at 3/1f in the Download The New Boylesports App handicap hurdle and the question was over how she would handle the extra half mile, having won over two the previous day.
She was fully tested up the home straight by another Wexford horse, Cantkidakidder (8/1), trained by Noel Dooly at Davidstown and ridden by James O'Sullivan from Camolin.
It was neck and neck up the hill, and Slevin and In A Pinch prevailed by a short head in the most exciting finish of the night. Paul Nolan's Lady of the Sea (14/1), owned by Jim Mernagh and ridden by Bryan Cooper, was ten lengths back in third.
Slevin had begun with a decisive win in the opening two-mile maiden hurdle on Ballybrowney Jack (7/2), the only runner sent to Wexford by his first cousin, Joseph O'Brien, who had a double on the flat at Navan earlier in the afternoon.
He led at the third last and stayed on well to win by four and a quarter lengths from Court Tycoon (20/1), ridden by Roger Loughran for Peter Fahey. The next two home were 50/1 and 100/1 as the other fancied runners failed to spark.
And Slevin was second in race two, a mares' maiden hurdle over two and a half miles, on 20/1 shot, Granny Maura, for Cork trainer Liam Burke. He was nearly four lengths behind Fiesta Forever (14/1 from 50/1 in the morning), ridden by Donagh Meyler for Meath trainer, Shane Crawley, who was asked by the stewards to account for the horse's apparent improvement on previous runs.
Paul Nolan kept the Wexford flag flying in the concluding two and a half mile handicap chase, with Cooper sweeping through on Miss Sassie (6/1), owned by Kay Browne, to win cosily from Philip Enright on Hidden Charmer (4/1) and Danny Mullins on Honest Robber (5/1).
The meeting was blessed with lovely weather once again and Bettyville looked resplendent in the warm evening sunlight, but the midweek attendance was quite small once more.
Willie Mullins seldom leaves Wexford without a winner, and his Timi Roli (4/1) romped in by over eight lengths in the three miles handicap hurdle, under Danny Mullins.
Second here in a Mullins take-over was David Mullins on Last Encounter (8/1), trained by Margaret Mullins. This was Willie's 3,000th career winner, yet another remarkable achievement for the Closutton Maestro.
Rachael Blackmore gave a great ride to Henry de Bromhead's Peace Move (4/1) in the Gigginstown House colours to take the €15,000 novice chase over two and a half miles by half a length from Lean and Keen (12/1), ridden by Andrew Lynch.
De Bromhead was full of praise for his jockey: 'She won the race for us, she was brilliant on him and got the best out of him.'
The stewards were not quite as impressed and gave Blackmore a two-day ban for her use of the whip. It's hard to please everyone!
Rider Donie McInerney and trainer Eric McNamara made the long trip from Limerick pay off in the handicap chase over an extended three miles on the J.P. McManus-owned Irish Bulletin (8/1).
The horse was bred by Wexford flat trainer Jim Bolger who had won with him on the level at Wexford five years ago.
Second on his only mount of the night was Barry Geraghty on Peter Fahey's Carlitos Bay (8/1) who seemed to be coming to claim the race but failed by one and a quarter lengths. Geraghty is the retained rider for McManus and it was unusual to see him losing out to the only McManus runner on the card.
The meeting was sponsored by Boylesports Bookmakers, with some of the longest race titles I have ever seen; e.g. - Double Winnings If The Crossbar Is Hit With The Brand New BoyleSports App Novice Steeplechase.
While the generous support is surely welcome, I'm surprised there is not a limit on the number of words or letters when naming races, just as in naming horses when there is a maximum of 18 characters allowed, including spaces.
They race again at Bettyville next Wednesday week, June 20.