Whitmore has lots to celebrate with Clonmel win
It was a day of celebration for Blackwater trainer Leonard Whitmore at Clonmel on Thursday, as front-runner Kilford opened his account under rules in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Maiden Hurdle.
Back on the track after 21 months on the sidelines, the three-time point-to-point winner produced an impressive display to score at odds of 7/1 under the ride of Ballindaggin's Harley Dunne. A mistake at the last may have caused the odd heart to flutter but 2/1f Perfect Woman failed to capitalise.
Whitmore said afterwards: 'In fairness to him he was a hurt horse but had won three point-to-points and wasn't too bad then.
'This staying type of track suited him and he stayed galloping today. He didn't the last day but it might have been the soft ground then. He's getting older now so we'll keep him going.'
There were also wins for New Ross man Seán Flanagan on board Curragh Na Gold (3/1f) for trainer David Harry Kelly in the mares' handicap hurdle, while Jamie Codd set himself up nicely for Cheltenham when Sizinguptheamazon (4/1) took the Flat Race for Jim Dreaper.
Reigning British champion jockey Richard Hughes has announced that he is to retire at the end of the Flat season. The 42-year-old will embark on a training career when he hangs up his boots in November. He has won three British jockeys' championships and has recorded six Classic wins in a hugely-successful career that began with a winner, Viking Melody, for his late father Dessie at Roscommon in August, 1988.
Hughes has been based in Britain since 1994 and has long been associated with the Richard Hannon yard.
Racing takes place at the following Irish racetracks over the coming days: Dundalk, Friday, March 13 (first race 6.05 p.m.); Limerick, Saturday, March 14 (first race 2.25 p.m.); Limerick, Sunday, March 15 (first race 2.25 p.m.) and Navan, Sunday, March 15 (first race 2.35 p.m.).