Sunday 11 December 2016

Monday outlook

Published 11/04/2011 | 05:00

Ride of the week

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Davy Russell's barnstorming coup on Quito De La Roque on Friday had everything. Nearly brought down early on, Colm Murphy's charge was flat out on the ground and made mistakes as a result. Russell, though, remained calm, before somehow keeping the partnership intact when the horse stumbled two out.

That appeared to hand the initiative to the eventual runner-up Sarando, but the Youghal man had a bit up his sleeve, and galvanised one more run out of Quito De La Roque to get up by a neck.

Training performance of the week

Evan Williams produced State Of Play to finish a game fourth in the Grand National on its first run since taking third 12 months ago. It was just the horse's fourth run in two years, the first of those coming when he defied a five-month lay-off to also be fourth in 2009. The 11-year-old is clearly fragile; no mean training feat.

Irish horses excel in defeat

Overall it was a solid festival for the raiding party with four winners, but a few other performances are worthy of special mention.

On Thursday, Won In The Dark (66/1, Sabrina Harty) finished third to Big Buck's and Grands Crus, while Follow The Plan (40/1, Oliver McKiernan) subsequently filled the same spot in the Bowl.

The following day, Oilily (14/1, Sean Byrne) excelled to be second in the Grade Two novice hurdle, before Thousand Stars (16/1, Willie Mullins) topped off the week for the underdog by nearly collaring Oscar Whisky in the Aintree Hurdle on Saturday.

The Irish angle in the big race

Ballabriggs may not have been trained in Ireland, but he was bred here by the late Sarah Jackson from Waterford, while jockey Jason Maguire is a native of Kilmessan, Co Meath. Ballabriggs' sire Presenting, which is on course to be champion sire for a fourth time, stands at the Glenview wing of Rathbarry Stud in Co Cork, while the 10-year-old passed through both Goffs and Tattersalls' sales rings as a young horse before arriving in Don McCain's yard in Cheshire. What's more, the first three home were all Irish-bred.

Most sobering moment

News of Peter Toole's poor condition after a fall in Saturday's novice chase. Jason Maguire's fellow rider is in an induced coma at the moment, and we hope he makes a full recovery.

Quote of the week

"You win one Grand National and think it's the greatest moment of your life, but it's like going to bed with a good-looking woman -- once you've been there you want to go back again!" -- Don McCain may have trained the winner of the Grand National, but his dad Ginger was always going to provide the best copy.

Number

90 the percentage of the last 10 Grand National winners to be bred in Ireland following Ballabriggs' triumph.

Irish Independent

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