Sport Horse Racing

Saturday 24 February 2018

Harrington sets Royal Bond target for impressive Forge

Trainer Jessica Harrington. Photo: Sportsfile
Trainer Jessica Harrington. Photo: Sportsfile

Thomas Kelly

Exciting youngster Forge Meadow is heading to the Royal Bond Novice Hurdle at Fairyhouse after making a winning start to her jumping career in yesterday's mares' maiden hurdle at Wexford.

Winner of a valuable bumper at Fairyhouse in the spring before finding Augusta Kate too strong in a Listed event at Punchestown, Jessica Harrington's four-year-old filly went off 15/8 second favourite for her re-appearance in the hands of Robbie Power.

Forge Meadow battled her way to the lead in the straight and saw off talented Flat performer Toe The Line by a short head, with Theatre Dreams the same distance away in third.

The winner now is set to contest the Royal Bond at Fairyhouse on Sunday week, according to Harrington.

"It was a good performance from her as she hadn't run since Punchestown, and it was her first run over hurdles," said the Moone, Co Kildare handler.

"She jumped great, but early on she was a bit keen, and she was jumping a bit up in the air. When he needed her she jumped great. I'm really pleased because that ground is heavy and she obviously goes on it. She really was fresh and well.

"She is in the Royal Bond and she will probably end up going there. It's a nice distance and she'll end up getting a 7lb mares' allowance. She is entitled to go there, her jumping might be a bit novicey but she'll improve."

Crack Tiepy made a successful debut for Willie Mullins in the Slaney Hurdle.


Receiving lumps of weight from her major rivals, the 4/9 favourite cruised clear under Ruby Walsh to score by two-and-three-quarter lengths.

"When you are getting 17lb it's a big help. She availed of all the allowances and it is a huge pull," Walsh said.

"She had plenty of experience, she has had five or six runs over fences in France, so she had a lot of experience over the others as well. I don't know where Willie will go with her now. If she ended up winning half the races Pomme Tiepy won we would be happy enough."

Mullins and Walsh doubled up with Daisy's Gift in the mares' beginners chase. A Listed winner over hurdles and runner-up to prolific stablemate Airlie Beach on her latest start at Gowran Park, the 8/1 shot comfortably made it third time lucky over fences. Evens favourite Slowmotion fell at the first fence.

"She has very good form in the book over hurdles. She fell at Kilbeggan on her first run over fences and got a fright," said Walsh. "She didn't jump well at Galway, she was very, very careful. So it was back to the drawing board a bit with her then. She then had a run at Gowran and was second to Airlie Beach.

"She had a lot of schooling done since. It was a strong gallop today, and it turned into a test of stamina and that suited her."

Gigginstown's Sutton Manor opened his account in the maiden hurdle over two-and-a-quarter miles. Runner-up in a point-to-point, a bumper and on his hurdling debut at Fairyhouse earlier this month, Gordon Elliott's 4/5 favourite comfortably saw off Nanny Stone in the hands of Bryan Cooper.

Irish Independent

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