Thursday 18 July 2019

It's tough on the road

McDonald clocking up miles in U.K.

Pegasus - horse racing

P.J. McDonald from Taghmon is certainly prepared to put in a lot of work and an enormous number of road miles in his ceaseless search for winners.

He has had 13 winners from 56 rides in the two weeks up to Sunday, and clocked up seven wins from 26 in a five-day period from last Wednesday.

These are impressive figures, but the time and energy expended is incredible. I have broken down his schedule for those five days just to illustrate the point.

Wednesday, June 5: five rides at Nottingham, 120 miles from his Leyburn home in Yorkshire, with his first at 12 noon. He won with Lucky Dream (4/1).

Then, 140-odd miles on to Kempton for three evening rides; the best of them was a fourth in the last which did not end until near 9 p.m. Back in the car and over 250 miles back home.

Thursday and Friday: a mere 180-mile return spin to Haydock, with one win each day, by a short head on Richard Fahey's Aleneva (4/1) and on Monica Sheriff (7/1) for William Haggas in the concluding 9 p.m. event on Friday.

Saturday, June 8: a 230-mile trip to Chelmsford for six rides, the first at 1.55 p.m.; he recorded a treble, on Romsey (10/11) for Hughie Morrison, Solar Heights (6/1) for Jim Tate, and Lord Riddiford (7/2) for J.J. Quinn.

Then another 70 miles further south to Lingfield for one ride in the 8.15 p.m. on Royal Residence (5/4f) - beaten into second by a neck.

I can only hope he stayed overnight as he had five rides in Goodwood on Sunday, even further south, and a journey of 316 miles back home to Leyburn after the final race ended about 5.30 p.m.

He won by a neck with a fine ride on a 20/1 outsider, Shani, for David Evans.

Even allowing for that overnight stay, I calculate he did over 1,150 miles and over 20 hours in the car in five days, just to get to work, and the small matter of riding and striving in 26 races on top of that. Race riding is certainly not an easy life, and most of the time not very glamorous either.

On the home front, it was Jim Bolger's week, with success in several quite valuable listed races.

He took the €45,000 Glencairn Stakes at Leopardstown on Thursday with the veteran Flight Risk (11/4f), and he won the €47,000 Listed stakes at the Curragh on Friday evening, with Ronan Whelan getting Guaranteed (7/1) up by a short head.

Aidan O'Brien had a 1-2-3 in a two-year-old maiden at the Curragh, with Lope Y Fernandez (15/8f) scoring nicely from Kipling (10/3) and Mythologic (12/1), and he won the first two at Navan on Saturday with Tango (1/6) and Royal Lytham (10/1).

At Beverley on Saturday, Pat Dobbs was beaten just half a length on Oh Purple Reign (5/4) for Richard Hannon in a £40,000 two-year-old sprint.

In the jumps (see separate Wexford races report), there were wins at Clonmel on Friday for Seán Flanagan with Go Another One (5/6f) from Barry O'Neill on Henry De Bromhead's Plan of Attack (7/2), and for Seán O'Keeffe (Taghmon) on Something Sweet (7/2f) for Roger McGrath (Waterford), ahead of Tiernan Power-Roche (Tomhaggard) on Gordon Doyle's (New Ross) Trans Wood (9/2), with O'Neill third on De Bromhead's Ayr of Elegance (12/1).

Daryl Jacob had two rides for Gordon Elliott at Uttoxeter on Friday, winning on Borice (2/5) and going down by a nose on Great Vizier (6/4).

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