Sport Horse Racing

Monday 25 September 2017

O'Connor hits out at 'unfair' Turf Club

Jonathan Burke stole the show on the final day of Killarney’s July Festival by securing both of the card’s chases (pictured January 2015 up on Kilmurray Kid)
Jonathan Burke stole the show on the final day of Killarney’s July Festival by securing both of the card’s chases (pictured January 2015 up on Kilmurray Kid)
Richard Forristal

Richard Forristal

Jonathan Burke stole the show on the final day of Killarney's July Festival by securing both of the card's chases.

Henry de Bromhead credited the talented 19-year-old for the facile display that saw Viconte Du Noyer justify 5/4 favouritism by 22 lengths in the Dawn Milk Beginners' Chase.

"We always held him up but Johnny wanted to change tactics today and being positive worked well," de Bromhead explained of the six-year-old. "He's a 132-rated chaser but was finding it difficult to win during the winter, which is a reflection on how hard it is to win in Ireland."

In the handicap that followed, Burke was at his strongest to repel the late thrust of Bottle Rattler aboard Knockraha Prince. Trained in Co Waterford by Pat O'Connor, Knockraha Prince (6/1) led three-out and clung on gamely by a head.

"I'm delighted for his owner Michael O'Donoghue, an 85-year-old publican from Knockraha in Co Cork who bred him," O'Connor said.

Danny Mullins claimed the main event for a second successive day when getting Pat Flynn's 15/2 shot Gusty Rocky to hold on from Draco in the €16,500 handicap hurdle, while Co Cork handler Mikey O'Connor took the chance to air a grievance with the Turf Club after saddling Buster Dan Dan (8/1) to win the next handicap for Jack Kennedy.

A leading point-to-point rider, O'Connor explained: "I injured my shoulder in a fall in April but thinking it was okay, I continued riding for four or five more rides. However, it turned out I had chipped a bone and also had muscle wastage. The Turf Club refused to give me the Injured Jockeys' allowance though, as, on a technicality, I had ridden after receiving the fall.

"I'd no assistance from them, not even the bare €200 a week, and had to get local trainers to pay for my operation; it has been tough putting bread on the table for my family.

"I wanted to make the case known as I've put in around €100,000 in fees into the Injured Jockeys' Fund but, due to a technicality, cannot now claim money. It's unfair."

At Leopardstown, Dermot Weld's Carla Bianca (6/4 fav) readily made all in the Meld Stakes for Pat Smullen.

Irish Independent

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