Friday 18 October 2019

Frustration for local hopefuls

Extra Friday fixture revealed

At the Menapia Motors Renault Opportunity Handicap Hurdle presentation were (from left): Emily Sweeney, Una Sweeney, Kyle Roche (Menapia Motors), Pat Sweeney and John Sweeney, representing winning horse Allduckornodinner
At the Menapia Motors Renault Opportunity Handicap Hurdle presentation were (from left): Emily Sweeney, Una Sweeney, Kyle Roche (Menapia Motors), Pat Sweeney and John Sweeney, representing winning horse Allduckornodinner


There WAS quite a good turn-out in very pleasant conditions for the final 'summer' meeting of the season at Bettyville race course on Saturday, with several glamorous party groups and bouncy castles for the children lending a carnival atmosphere to the day.

And there was some good news when the fixtures list for 2020 was released - Wexford has retained all eleven fixtures for next year and has gained one additional Friday evening card, bringing the total to four, replacing one of the less popular Wednesday afternoon meetings (see details at end).

Local wins were scarce on a Saturday card dedicated largely to the less experienced riders. However, some good runs did yield three seconds and several other placings for Wexford riders and trainers.

Young Simon Torrens made the long trip from Co. Tyrone pay off with a remarkable 240/1 first riding double. The other side of the coin was also illustrated as trainer J.J. Lambe brought a couple of horses on a 340 miles round trip from Dungannon, Co. Tyrone, only for Mazboon to tip up at the first hurdle in the first race. Such is racing!

The €20k Audrey McGrath Memorial Rated Novice Chase was the feature of the day and, although there were only five runners, it was a fascinating contest.

Henry De Bromhead's Put The Kettle On (evens favourite) gave an exhibition of front running and exciting jumping under Hugh Morgan to win by over two lengths and complete a four-timer.

Colin Bowe's (Kiltealy) Victoria Bay (5/2) ran well under Paddy Kennedy to take second, just over two lengths back.

Lily Geal (14/1) went very close to providing a winner for rider James O'Sullivan from Camolin and trainer Yvonne Latta from Ballycarney in the Menapia Motors Renault Hurdle, going down by just half a length to Gavin Cromwell's Allduckornodinner (5/1) after a great battle. Seán O'Keeffe (Taghmon) was third, four lengths back on Crimson Chief (4/1f).

Paul Nolan usually has a winner at Wexford and looked like doing so again in the second, the Garry Flood (Clonroche) Landscaping Hurdle, with Jim Mernagh's Lady of the Sea (7/1) under Kevin Sexton.

She disputed the lead at the last but after a duel up the run-in, had to give best to Shes Flat Tothemat (11/1) under young Torrens, for trainer Mick Winters from Kanturk and the excited Going Stone Mad Syndicate.

Torrens completed his double in the Brendan Cullimore (Electrical Contractor) Chase when winning on outsider of the eight-strong field, Captain Cobajay (16/1), for Dusty Sheehy from Kilkenny. He only got the ride because Adam Short was injured in an earlier race.

He was two lengths ahead of Arch Melody (5/2) under Seán O'Keeffe, for John Morrison, Tallow, Co. Waterford.

Sheehy completed a double of his own in the concluding Dan Byrne Memorial Chase with Rudy Catrail (8/1) which made every yard of the three miles and romped in by 17 lengths. This gave 21-years-old Shane Fenelon from Wicklow his first track winner, a special day for him.

Mick Winters was saved some money - after the earlier win of his Shes Flat Tothemat, the genial Kanturk man had promised to buy drinks for all and sundry if his Doldido won the last, but he only managed third.

Dillon Maxwell from Westmeath had to survive a serious blunder at the second last before scoring his eighth track win aboard the well-backed Kaletto (4/1) in the M2 Construction Mares' Maiden Hurdle, for fellow county man, Mark Fagan.

The opening Adare Manor Maiden Hurdle, sponsored by J.P. McManus, went to Rips Dream (7/1), ridden by Katie O'Farrell for Pat Flynn. The horse was bred at Newbawn by the late Bill and Penny Foley, and ownership is being carried on by their niece and nephew as the Foley Partnership, and this was a special success for them.

The final meeting of the year at Bettyville is on Wexford Festival Opera bank holiday weekend, Sunday and Monday, October 27 and 28.

For those who might be thinking of combining a day at the races with a special celebration next year, here is some advance notice of the 2020 Bettyville fixtures list:

March 17, Tuesday, St. Patrick's Day; April 3, Friday evening; May 16, Saturday afternoon; May 22, Friday evening; June 3, Wednesday afternoon; June 17, Wednesday evening; July 3, Friday evening; August 7, Friday evening; September 5, Saturday afternoon; Sunday and Monday, October 25 and 26, Opera Festival bank holiday weekend.

New Ross Standard