Sport Horse Racing

Monday 22 January 2018

O'Leary's sharing of bounty is revealed

Michael O’Leary. Photo: Damien Eagers
Michael O’Leary. Photo: Damien Eagers

Johnny Ward

The Irish Independent has learned where the main Gigginstown runners taken off Willie Mullins have been rehoused.

Gordon Elliott gets the majority of Michael O'Leary's equine transfers - including Outlander, Don Poli, Roi Des Francs, Potters Point, Monbeg Rose and A Toi Phil. Joseph O'Brien has his first runner for Gigginstown in the shape of Bel Sas tomorrow, while Arkwrisht is also added to his team.

Mouse Morris will attempt to harness the potential of Admiral Chief, unraced but with a huge reputation. He also gets Milsean and the high-class Nambour.

Henry de Bromhead has received Valseur Lido, Devils Bride and Petit Mouchoir. Noel Meade mainly acquired younger horses, as well as Measureofmydreams.


Gigginstown have opted to give no comment on the split with Mullins further to the one it issued on Wednesday but it is understood that the relationship between the O'Leary brothers and the trainer remains amicable.

Barry Geraghty, who had aimed to be back from injury for Tipperary tomorrow, hopes to return to action in about a week's time after delaying his comeback.

Mullins, meanwhile, struck at Gowran yesterday when Airlie Beach beat stablemate Daisy's Gift by six lengths in the Listed mares' hurdle. Ridden by Ruby Walsh, the 4/9 favourite made all.

Earlier, Walsh had steered Mr Antolini to land a maiden hurdle. He was standing in for Davy Russell, who got a 17-day ban at Clonmel on Thursday and was reported to be unwell yesterday, not taking up any of his rides.

Fontwell course clerk Ed Arkell said safety came first, having voided the conditional jockeys' handicap mid-race chase after the collapse of runner Indiana Bay.

Stars return as jumps code swings into action

Those pining for the return of virtuous jumpers will revel in a weekend laden with high-class National Hunt fare.

Road To Riches, Ivan Grozny and Alpha Des Obeaux are among the weekend cast, with Gowran staging a decent card today. The Grade Two PWC Champion Chase is the feature.

The possibility of the Willie Mullins-trained Ballycasey fighting out with Devils Bride, which was his stablemate until Thursday, is real. How might Mullins feel if he is such an immediate victim of the loss of Gigginstown's patronage?

Road To Riches, which has major questions to answer with regard to jumping at this stage, may have a say about that in a captivating renewal.

Gigginstown's Lieutenant Colonel, which won two Grade Ones for Sandra Hughes, looks nailed on in the finale bar accidents. The late Dessie Hughes always saw him as a chaser and he ran a blinder on his chase debut in 2014.

A massive field takes its chance in the Kilkenny Racing Festival Handicap Hurdle, War Of The Pennys a hopeful pick.

Tipperary's Super Sunday is as good a mixed card as one could hope for. The Group Three Concorde Stakes sees the busy schedule of the sponsor's The Happy Prince continue. Perhaps the distance will prove too much and Sruthan, a previous winner of the race, is preferred.

The race sees Jet Setting take on the males after a respectable run in the Matron. The ground has come right for her and this should be indicative of how potent she is when conditions are in her favour.

Likely Aidan O'Brien will, however, snare the opener, with Galilean really difficult to oppose after his Naas third.

He seemed to find it all too much behind Annie Power when last in combat in the Champion Hurdle but this is more his grade and the market will be revealing. Preference for IVan Grozny is based on his superb course-and-distance rout in the Grimes Hurdle, which preceded a superb 14-length win on the Flat.

Penhill faces Bel Sas in the Grade Three Joe Mac Hurdle. Bel Sas switched from Closutton to Joseph O'Brien in recent days but Willie Mullins can take this with former stablemate Penhill, which is getting there with experience. Do not discount the classy Timyan on what could be a historic day for the Weld stable.

Many eyes will be on chasing debutant Alpha Des ObeauX, the choice of Bryan Cooper, in the Grade Three Like A Butterfly Novice Chase. There is a concern he may not run if the ground is especially testing; if he faces the tape he should win, even without any experience of jumping a fence in public. That said, with powerful mare Westerner Lady among the opposition, it will not be easy.

Newmarket trainer Des Donovan got a taste of Galway when Severus went close at the Galway festival. He clearly has a tougher task in the The Handicap, yet few appeal and Wayne Lordan is a wise booking.

Irish Independent

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