Sport Horse Racing

Tuesday 20 February 2018

First-time Irish success on the cards for Lee with Kylemore

Outlander and Bryan Cooper, here winning at Leopardstown in February, are fancied to claim tomorrow's Ryanair Gold Cup at Fairyhouse, which is sponsored by his owner Michael O'Leary (SPORTSFILE)
Outlander and Bryan Cooper, here winning at Leopardstown in February, are fancied to claim tomorrow's Ryanair Gold Cup at Fairyhouse, which is sponsored by his owner Michael O'Leary (SPORTSFILE)

Wayne Bailey

In the Irish Independent edition dated Monday, April 24, 1916, the horse-racing tipster 'Geoff' gave out 12 selections for racing at Fairyhouse and Cork that day - and an accompanying advertisement told readers that Charlie McLaughlin was "the man to bet with", situated outside Fairyhouse racecourse.

It's almost impossible to find out how well or otherwise Geoff's tips performed, as the events which unfolded in Dublin obviously overtook all news channels afterwards.

But I do know that his Irish Grand National selection, Turkish Maiden, was unsuccessful as the race was won by a horse named All Sorts, ridden by Edgeworthstown man Jackie Lynn and trained by Dick Cleary, a big-name stable at the time.

All Sorts finished 12 lengths ahead of the 1915 winner Punch, and as reported in a number of newspapers recently, the winning horse and jockey had to walk the 100-mile trip home to Westmeath with the British Army taking control of all modes of transport during the Rising.

It will be interesting to see how Monday's attendance compares to the 25,000 figure in 1916 and I'm sure that some of the women in my life, who like to bet in Grand Nationals based on horses' names, will be scanning the racecard looking for ones with some sort of link to the seminal events of a century ago.

While Cheltenham wasn't too bad for me this year, I've had a horrendous run of luck on the nags since - and sometimes you'd wonder if simply picking the names you like would be just as effective as spending hours watching re-runs of horses and sifting through results.

But you've got to keep the faith and stick with the form book - and while I've yet to decide what to back in the big race on Monday, one Fairyhouse entry I'm very interested in backing is the Kerry Lee-trained Kylemore Lough, which should go off around 100/30 in tomorrow's Grade One Ryanair Gold Cup Novice Chase (4.15).

As far as I know, this is Lee's first runner in Ireland, although I remember her father Richard Lee's horse Grey Gold causing an upset at Punchestown when beating Willie Mullins' odds-on favourite Mikael D'Haguenet in a novice chase a few years back.

Cheltenham JLT Novices' Chase faller Outlander will probably go off as favourite for Mullins but early odds of 5/4 are a little tight for me in a competitive race which includes Venetia Williams' Otago Trail and Mullins' McKinley, the mount of Ruby Walsh.

Kylemore Lough comes here looking for a fifth win in a row and his winning mark of 151 in a handicap chase at Sandown last time was 19lbs higher than his rating at Uttoxeter back in November when his winning streak began.

Lee has been finding the right races for the likeable gelding and with further improvement likely from a horse which doesn't mind some cut in the ground, today's Grade One is definitely worth a shot.

A little earlier on the same card, Willie Mullins' Myska should prove hard to beat in the Grade One Irish Stallion Farms E.B.F. Mares Novice Hurdle Championship Final (3.05). I thought she'd be a little shorter than 9/4 yesterday evening but some punters are probably put off by her last place at 8/13 in a Listed novice hurdle at Punchestown back in January.

But on that occasion, it became clear quite quickly that something was amiss and she was reported to be coughing afterwards. She's best judged on a previous race at Taunton where she beat Harry Fry's subsequent Grade Two winner Jessber's Dream. That mare was listed in the entries yesterday although her participation might be doubtful judged on the betting markets.

As for today, I'm expecting the Richard Hannon-trained Windshear to earn his first win in eight runs in the Listed ApolloBet Magnolia Stakes (2.15 Kempton), having last seen the winner's enclosure around a year ago Doncaster.

This is the gelding's first time racing on the polytrack so there are no guarantees he'll go well but that uncertainty is reflected in his odds of 3/1, which seems generous.

Sean Levey gets the ride on the five-year-old, which has had a break of 175 days following an unsuccessful tilt at the Cumberland Lodge Stakes at Ascot, but he's been gelded since which may make a difference

Third in the Glorious Stakes at Goodwood last summer, he's level on ratings with Restorer, although William Haggas' Our Channel is in with a shout too, so it should be an entertaining race.


Almost all of the 17 runners in the ApolloBet Cash Back If 2nd Challenger Stayers Hurdle Series Final (2.35 Haydock) have some sort of claims so a chance is taken each-way on the outsider of the lot, Volcanic, which is expected to go off in the region of 33/1.

The Donald McCain-trained seven-year-old is a versatile sort and has won over hurdles and fences. Although disappointing last time, when eighth in a decent handicap hurdle at Doncaster, his mark has been dropped 4lbs this year to 123 which should see him get a little more competitive today.

Weekend Selections

2.15 Kempton : Windshear

2.35 Haydock : Volcanic (e/w)

3.0 Cork : Jet Setting

3.05 Fairyhouse : Myska (tomorrow)

4.15 Fairyhouse : Kylemore Lough (tomorrow).

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