Bunclody trainer Cormac Farrell won the first race of the Winter season at Dundalk when Un Bacio Ancora took the six-furlong claiming race on Wednesday afternoon. Ridden by Siobhan Rutledge, the 12/1 chance was slowly away from the stalls but she quickly warmed to her task and was well on top inside the final furlong to beat the Jimmy Lambe-trained Darcy’s Rock by a length and three-parts. The third home, Big Baby Bull, was the only horse claimed and he joins James McAuley.
As was pretty much expected, Gordon Elliott dominated at Down Royal on Friday where he won six of the seven races on the day and it was Jordan Gainford who got the trainer up and running in the opening maiden hurdle. While his Jack Kennedy-ridden 8/15 favourite Better Days Ahead was a faller, Elliott still landed the spoils as the Gainford’s mount Zefiro Dodville led from the final flight to beat Philip Rothwell’s The Busy Fool by two and a half lengths at odds of 12/1. Kennedy won on Elliott’s Hunting Brook, Brighterdaysahead, Irish Point and Found A Fifty while Harry Swan gave the trainer his sixth winner when taking the bumper on Firefox at odds of 1/6 favourite. It didn’t quite match Elliott’s feat of winning seven of the eight race on the card at Navan in early December 2021.
Gordon Elliott’s weekend success wasn’t just confined to Down Royal as he also sent out two winners, both ridden by Jordan Gainford, at Gowran Park on Saturday. The Tim O’Driscoll-owned Harmonya Maker impressed with an 11-length win at odds of 5/2 over Willie Mullins’ 8/11 favourite Brandy Love in the mares’ beginners’ chase while 15/8 chance Western Fold was a 10-length winner over the Mullins-trained 11/8 favourite Crack The Sky of the second division of the two-mile maiden hurdle. The betting suggested that a more difficult winner for punters to find was the Sean Flanagan-ridden Me Wee Bonnie Lass which took the two-mile handicap hurdle at odds of 20/1 for trainer Gavin Cromwell. Owned by Mark Coleman, the four-year-old added to a maiden hurdle success at Downpatrick during the summer when racing to a two and a half-length win over Henry de Bromhead’s Ring O Roses.
Jordan Gainford rounded off a great weekend when giving owner/trainer Edward Cawley his second winner in three days as 7/1 chance Chosen Diamond took the opening two and a half-mile handicap chase at Naas on Sunday. The seven-year-old went clear from the final fence to win by four lengths from Battle Of Mirbat which was for trainer Michael McDonagh by Sean O’Keeffe.
Dundalk – Wednesday, November 15 (First Race 1.50pm)
Punchestown – Thursday, November 16 (First Race 12.20pm)
Wexford – Friday, November 17 (First Race 12.30pm)
Dundalk – Friday, November 17 (First Race 5.10pm)
Navan – Saturday, November 18 (First Race 11.50am)
Navan – Sunday, November 19 (First Race 11.45am)