Week 5: Autumn point-to-point season
05/11/2017 Tinahely (yielding)
The other horse to catch the eye here – as mentioned above – was the Aidan Fitzgerald-trained Shetland Bus (by Sholokhov) who was the undoubted hard luck story of the race as he appeared still to be travelling with purpose when coming down at the second-last. He could well have gone close otherwise. He subsequently finished third (R85) at Borris House a few weeks later and is likely to be retained in training in time by his buyer from June 2016 Paul Nolan. Sholokhov is covering in Ireland since 2013 and his main claim to fame as a National Hunt sire is 2016 Gold Cup winner Don Cossack who was born in Germany where the stallion originally stood.
The winner, Rocco, and Shetland Bus were both significant drifters on the day as money came for a variety of runners. One of those, perhaps, to keep an eye on is the pulled-up Geordielandgangsta – backed into 2/1 second favourite – who left this run well behind when second at Mainstown in early December and has since joined Rose Dobbin at a cost of £30,000. Trained by the youngest brother, Cormac Doyle, of the Wexford training family there was money for this runner despite his brother, Donnchadh, training the favourite, who fell.
Week 6: Autumn point-to-point season
11/11/2017 Loughbrickland (heavy)
The other takeaway from this race is The Big Dog (by Mahler) trained by Aidan Fitzgerald (started favourite) who had some very good form on his only start – second to a horse that subsequently fetched £300,000 – and who is now in training with Peter Fahey. He has had a single outing and was a very promising fourth at Leopardstown over Christmas and the trainer I rate very highly.
12/11/2017 Dromahane (soft)
4yo maiden (Division I):
Two of the runners in behind catch my eye in a race in which there were eight individual debutants: Thomond O’Mara’s Kensukes Kingdom came in for some market support but jumping errors eventually took their toll although he was in contention to the second last fence. O’Mara usually produces a decent maiden or two each season with Peddlers Cross being his pointing star. Expect him to win a maiden and be sold on. Also, Getaday, trained by TJ Nagle, started favourite and although pulled up is likely to have shown decent form at home prior to his debut. He has since finished third in a December maiden so he is clearly on the upgrade. I would prefer if he stayed in this low-profile stable but with Paul Barber as a possible owner if he has some latent ability he’s like to head to Paul Nicholls in time.
Two weeks later I pick up on the third horse here, Thomas McDonagh (R88), who stepped up on this form at Knockinroe (see meeting of 26/11/17) to finish second (R88) – and was heavily supported – where I believe I have found a very live wire for future track action. I would advise to pay very close attention (see also week #8).
4yo maiden (Division II):
Also: I highlighted Eric McNamara’s Getaway gelding I Can’t Explain at Rathcannon two weeks ago and it is possibly worth keeping an eye on his pulled-up Getaway favourite, Owl Creek Bridge, here. Clearly, I am following man over beast here but, as I’ve remarked before, McNamara was always a decent trainer but was hit particularly hard by the recession some years ago. He is coming back to a higher profile again as the years pass.
Once again, a horse that started favourite (6/1 to 6/4) catches my eye: although beaten 19L into fourth this was substantial support for Michael Browne’s Caracara Mail. I must confess I am unfamiliar with the handler and the fact that Caracara Mail subsequently ran 5th at Boulta tempers enthusiasm but I will track him for a few months to monitor developments. It wouldn’t be unheard of to imagine him winning as a 7yo and being told “we always liked him”.
12/11/2017 Ballinaboola (yield-soft)
I think I would also advise adding the previously-mentioned Thunderosa to your tracker as he has a lovely pedigree and ran well here. However I would suggest that, based on his trainer Andrew Latta’s previous record, this horse must win his maiden and then could be followed with confidence to follow in the footsteps of his previous winners such as Stilletto, Silent Knight and The Fresh Prince who all won their share of races when sold to the UK.
Week 7: Autumn point-to-point season
18/11/2017 Kirkistown (yield-soft)
Note: A faller at the second last when travelling well enough was Pat Fahy’s Pilot Station (by Elusive Pimpernel) who has been a shade unlucky in three runs. I like that a trainer of Fahy’s understated calibre offers some hint that one of his charges has ability and this seems to have been confirmed by Pilot Station’s very good run in a Leopardstown bumper on St Stephen’s Day. This horse also ran in the Dromahane maiden won by Chinensis where I nominated two other runners to follow so this could be a very significant race for future winners.
19/11/2017 Turtulla (Golden Vale) (yield-soft)
In such a race one hopes that collateral form is strong and I nominate the second horse, Kilbrew Boy (by Stowaway R89-trained by Andy Lynch) as a horse to follow also.
KILBREW BOY (IRE) posted a most likeable debut effort here. Another son of Stowaway, this bay was something of an eye-catcher as he was doing all his best work in the latter stages of this contest. Making significant headway from his patiently ridden position past tiring rivals, Andy Lynch’s charge should have learned plenty from this initial career effort and rates banker material if returning for a similar contest next time.
He has subsequently been sold for £75,000 at the Cheltenham December sale. On a frivolous note I love the dam’s name “Bean Ki Moon” and “bean” pronounced “ban” in Gaelic means “woman”!
19/11/2017 Lingstown (soft)
A horse that may be of more interest than the winner is second-placed Captain Drake (R89). He’s joined Harry Fry for £115,000 and possesses a very nice pedigree being by Getaway and is a half-brother to Evan Williams Tornado In Milan (R 136) who’s a very decent handicap hurdler and chaser. Better judges than me have given his sire preference to Darsi In The Park.
The obvious dark – rather more brightly-illuminated on this occasion – horse from this maiden is the last fence faller Irish Apollo who was trained on the day by Ashleigh Murphy but is now listed in training with R P O’Keeffe who also hails from Co. Wexford. My guess is that he will be sold on although he wasn’t entered for the Cheltenham December Sale, possibly due to the fall at Lingstown. A perusal of his pedigree alights on a very versatile Punters Bar who was tough as old boots in his day. Sadly, I have just learned that Irish Apollo’s injury was fatal.
Week 8: Autumn point-to-point season
26/11/2017 Knockinroe (heavy)
I am very interested in the runner-up. From a stable not greatly associated with point-to-points Denis Hogan is one of the sharpest tools in the training box and I believe it is significant that he has shown his hand here with Thomas Macdonagh – we have to forgive the hames (mess) of a name spelling for one of Ireland’s revolutionary heroes! – who was the only one to give the winner a decent race and finished second. I am constantly on the lookout for strong stables – Hogan has an inspirational gift for landing touches – and I believe this is a good as one can get to having one’s card marked that there is in the public domain. Incidentally, Joseph O’Brien does something similar next week!
THOMAS MACDONAGH (GB) was well-supported and lost little in defeat here. He had shown previously on debut that he is a highly capable sort and confirmed that viewpoint again here. The son of Black Sam Bellamy travelled very smoothly into this contest and along with his pedigree suggest that he should have little difficulty in dropping back in trip if asked. He would have been a very easy victor if one was to take out the winner from this contest and appears a moral certainty to open his account before moving to the track.
Pedigree: Significantly, is out of a Nashwan mare and Hogan gave €20,000 for him as a 3yo. He has an amazing flat pedigree for the pointing scene – closely related to two stakes horses – and his sire is well able to produce a good jumper. Nota bene!
I do note he was withdrawn from the recent Cheltenham December Sale – last chance saloon for four-year-olds! – but I would dearly love to see him stay in training with Hogan. That will be the strongest recommendation he could get.
26/11/2017 Boulta (soft-heavy)
I am a little intrigued by the beaten favourite here. Arturdexterbradley, who unseated his rider at exactly half-way. He was the first-ever runner for the unknown David C. Keane and he goes into my tracker as a completely unknown quantity as his handler was having his first runner and there was obviously a plan to start life with a bang!
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