Sport Horse Racing

Saturday 16 December 2017

Horse trainer Charles Byrnes' perfectly executed Roscommon treble hits bookmakers for €5m

Trainer Charles Byrnes. Picture: Brian Lawless / Sportsfile
Trainer Charles Byrnes. Picture: Brian Lawless / Sportsfile

Thomas Kelly

The trainer-jockey combination of Charles Byrnes and Davy Russell hit the bookies for six at Roscommon last night by landing a gambled-on treble, with all three winners heavily backed at morning prices.

The trio were available at combined odds of 3,314-1 earlier in the day, whereas the treble at starting prices was just 42-1.

War Anthem was the first of the three to take his chance in the Paul Byron Shoes Maiden Hurdle and despite finishing down the field in his two most recent starts, the Byrnes-trained gelding scored by three lengths at 6/1, having been 16/1 in the morning.

Next up was the former John Gosden-trained Mr Smith, a gelded son of Galileo which had been as big as 12/1 early in the day, and the 7/4 favourite overcame a minor mistake three out to claim the two-mile, four-furlong handicap hurdle readily.

All eyes were then on Top Of The Town and the heavily-backed 5/4 favourite took the staying handicap hurdle by a comfortable five lengths.

Byrnes told reporters: "After Galway we needed it. I did my brains in at Galway with Sea Light and Crystal Pearl."

Asked how long he had been planning the apparent coup, Byrnes said: "It's just the way it happened. I wouldn't say I planned it. I had a bunch of horses come into form and I put them in together. It was the last couple of weeks I was able to put it together. Long-term it would be impossible to plan."

The gamble is believed to have cost bookmakers around €5m.

Young Joseph O'Brien was also on the mark at the western venue as his Hallmark justified 11/10 favouritism after putting in a good jump at the last to land the two-mile maiden hurdle for four-year-olds in the hands of Mark Walsh.

O'Brien's father Aidan was among the winners at Cork where he sent out 12/1 outsider Best In The World to spring a surprise in the featured Give Thanks Stakes at Cork.

Colm O'Donoghue's mount got the better of the Seamie Heffernan-ridden stablemate Somehow( 7/2) by a neck in the Group Three contest over a mile and a half.

Mick Channon's Harlequeen was half-a-length away in third place. The British raider, third in both the English and Irish Oaks, was partnered by Ronan Whelan as Silvestre de Sousa's flight was cancelled.

"She got the trip well and liked the ground. There was a nice bit of pace on and Colm gave her a very good ride," said O'Brien. "She ran a very nice race at the Curragh when she was coming but never got through and a bit of nice ground was a big help to her today."

Dermot Weld's progressive Rose De Pierre (7/4 favourite) hung on gamely to see off the late challenge of Flight Risk in the Platinum Stakes.

Pat Smullen always had the Moyglare Stud-owned filly just behind the pace-setting In My Pocket before going on early in the home straight to take the Listed honours by half-a-length.

Weld's son Kris said: "She is a very sweet and well-bred filly and is from a Moyglare family that has been very good for us. She'll stay in training next year and her mother (Profound Beauty) was better with age and hopefully the same applies to this filly. She'll stick to a mile for the time being."

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