28/10/2017 Lisronagh  (soft/heavy)

4yo mares maiden:

Ratings of 81 and 82 has not been a particularly strong recommendation in the past for winning 4yo mares compared to the ratings for geldings which have inflated by between 5% and 10% over the past 10 years reflecting higher sales prices predominantly. Make of that what you will!

Division I: Daylight Katie (Aidan Fitzgerald) by Bonbon Rose F- (R81)

My records on 4yo mares maidens extending back to 2009 suggest that winning mares from these maidens should be treated with caution despite the market for mares being very frothy at the moment. By a relatively unknown French sire and from a winning family, the £110,000 paid for Daylight Katie at the recent Cheltenham Sale looks pricey in my book.

Div II: Lust For Glory (Denis Murphy) by Getaway Unraced (R82)

There’s a lot more hype about this mare although, ironically, the time of this division was marginally slower than Division I. She changed hands for a whopping £240,000 at the same Cheltenham Sale and I would also be very concerned about this valuation. She cost just €4,500 as a 2yo store and that tells me its own story.

This is how the sale was reported in the Racing Post:

“Lust For Glory is just drop dead gorgeous,” Anthony Bromley (Highflyer Bloodstock) added of the daughter of Getaway who landed a four-year-old mares maiden at Lisronagh in late October. “She was coveted by everyone here. Harold Kirk was underbidder to me and he’s a good judge!”

These mares do occasionally win under Rules but they are not the most reliable conveyances for your cash. I will produce a summary of all Autumn 4yo mares  maidens since 2008/09 over the coming weeks.

4yo maiden:

Division I: Getaway Trump (Vincent Halley) by Getaway 34- (R92)

The sire, with his first 5yo’s in 2017 is doing okay but has yet to produce a star. So far, he has just three horses rated in the 130’s with Henderson’s Verdana Blue, a triple hurdle winner, being the best of them.  This winner of Division I of the 4yo maiden – run slower than even the two mares’ divisions – has joined Paul Nicholls for £90,000. Paco Jack, a Soviet star half-brother to the dam, won 7 races for Joe Crowley. The dam was 4th in a bumper on one of her only two outings. There is no record of her first two foals.

Run at Lisronagh, within hailing distance of Ballydoyle, one might expect this maiden to throw up very good horses but the record since 2010 has been patchy enough with the best winners being Dreaper’s Goonyella in 2011 and Willie Mullins’ Minella Beau in 2015.

A review of handler’s Vincent Halley’s point record is very much a case of peaks and troughs. He hit the big time in 2012/13 and 2013/14 training a total of 21 winners but runners and winners have fallen dramatically since with just a single winner recorded in each of the three seasons prior to 2017/18. This fall off arose from a concentration on racecourse runners where he has had an average of 4 winners in each of the last 4 seasons. Interesting to note that of his three single winners mentioned above, two were 4yo’s and they both were sold to the UK with Tanarpino winning 3 races for Jennie Candlish and Abbotswood winning for Charlie Longsdon.

As Getaway Trump has also been sold to the UK, the hint should be taken.

Division II: Danny Kirwan (Pat Doyle) by Scorpion Unraced (R96)

This is the talking horse of the season so far. A son of Scorpion out of a mare placed in all three bumper starts, from a nice, if unspectacular, French family, Danny Kirwan is a half-brother to a dual hurdle winner whose highest winning mark was 109.

Great things were expected of Scorpion who retired to stud in 2008 at Coolmore National Hunt but he was pensioned off to England in 2016 following some disappointing results. As often happens, his best runner has come since his departure with Might Bite winning the 2017 RSA but at least it proves Scorpion can sire a very good horse.

Doyle paid €60,000 for Danny Kirwan’s store half-brother earlier this year based on the homework of his 4yo and I understand Danny Kirwan has since joined Paul Nicholls. The hype surrounding this horse and the stable he has joined are likely to guarantee his initial outings will have him prohibitively priced in the ring. Nonetheless, it will be interesting to see if he can further redeem Scorpion’s reputation and causing, perhaps (see below), further regrets in Grange Stud.

Postscript: I felt my work here wasn’t done until I examined the record of previous winning 4yo pointers by Scorpion and what a sorry tale it reveals. There have been 8 previous winners since 2013 and only the Willie Mullins/Gordon Elliott Tell Us More has achieved anything of note by collecting a Grade 3 chase in November 2016. With a purchase price of £290,000 this is a relative disappointment as he has collected less than €60,000 in earnings. All other five winners to race have failed to score under Rules (!) and two winners from spring 2017 – Sending Love with W Mullins and Another Barney (J Harrington) have yet to race. All in all, a very poor record and surely one to temper any exuberance over Danny Kirwan. I wonder what he made in the private sale?

Danny Kirwan starred in the pre-Christmas edition of The Irish Field “Future Stars feature”.

5yo maiden: Duhallow Tornado (Louis Archdeacon) by Golden Tornado P52- (R88)

Golden Tornado is a workaday stallion who gets a few winners from limited chances and his best horse has been surprise 2010 Albert Bartlett winner Berties Dream for Paul Gilligan. His only other notable runner, rated over 140, from double-digit crops is Michael Hourigan’s three-time scorer from 2010-2013 Dancing Tornado so one can expect Duhallow Tornado to be of modest pretensions. He seems to have changed hands for £25,000 to pursue a career in the UK and this is the best place for him.

From 8 previous foals the dam of Duhallow Tornado has produced a single track winner in Clashnabrook who won 5 low-grade handicaps over hurdles and fences for Eoghan O’Grady which looks a nice bit of training.

Since 2008 Archdeacon has handled just 6 previous 5yo maiden winners and all bar one – Captain Ocano was retained to win one very modest chase from numerous outings for Archdeacon – went across the water to be trained. Only Forgotten Gold proved to be useful winning 6 for Tom George and the remaining 4 remained maidens or won at a low grade so, based on recent history, one could not be too confident about the chances of Duhallow Tornado at this early juncture.

28/10/2015 Portrush  (soft/heavy)

4yo maiden:

Weakfield (G Cromwell) by Court Cave Unraced (R91)

Weakfield scored in a field of 10 here but mistakes by Warren Ewing’s Brace Yourself at the penultimate and final obstacles almost certainly handed him the race. He was supported in the market and was a three-quarter length winner at the line. I would not put much difference in ability between the winner and runner-up at this stage.

It’s coincidental I have just mentioned Dancing Tornado in the context of the last winner and this 4yo winner is from the same family. He’s a half-brother to Sretaw who won thrice in one-mile handicaps for Cromwell but he only ran once without success over hurdles. His dam is related to Farmer Brown, a three-time handicap chase winner (R100) for Tony Martin.

Court Cave is a useful sire and is capable of getting good winners. He has an impressive record with his pointing 4 & 5yo maidens and prior to Weakfieldhad sired 15 individual 4yo maiden winners. His subsequent record on the track is puzzling in that his first batch of winners – horses such as Joseph Mercer, Hellorboston and Court Dismissed were all good winners – but up to recently the trend had taken a turn for the worst with amny failing to live up to expectations. 2017 has seen something of a revival with The Holy One running second on his only start in a bumper for Jessica Harrington while Invincible Cave won his bumper for Gordon Elliott. It is possible that the recent trend reflects a higher quality mare in recent years as Court Cave started to prove him since from 2010 onwards.

Weakfield has changed hands for £90,000 – bought by pointer-lover Phil Martin in the UK – and I like the post race comment that “Gavin thinks a lot of this horse and he is the nicest 4yo we have in training” so he could be profitable to follow closely. It may be worth noting also that Cromwell’s only other 4yo maiden winner was Kilronan Castle who joined Donald McCain for £27,000 and subsequently won three handicaps at a modest level.

This Portrush autumn fixture was run so that first time in 2016 and no less a horse than Finian’s Oscar (R93) was successful for Denis Murphy so, no pressure then!

5yo maiden:

Shumaker (Karen McNeilly) by Whitmore’s Conn 7-0 Rules; FF- (R90)

Shumaker was unlucky here last March when becoming a cropper at the last but made no mistake here in emphatic style. Five had a chance three out but he galloped away from them resolutely for an easy win. He has joined the stable of Eoin Gerard Barry for the same handler/owner and I will watch his handicapping progress with some interest as he already has track experience.

Shumakers 3yo Doyen half-brother sold for €33,000 last summer – Shumaker was unsold as a foal – and he is a brother to a 125-rated maiden hurdle winner for Tom Symonds (he found it hard to win for Michel Hourigan in Ireland – placed 6 times) and his unraced Fruits Of Love dam is a half-sister to a dual Group 3 winner. McNeilly was delighted with this performance and thinks the gelding may return to the track where  he needs another hurdle run to get a mark. He has modest pretensions but might be interesting in a handicap hailing from a relatively unknown yard.

29/10/2015 Dowth Hall  (yield-soft)

4yo maiden:

Good Man Jim (Michael Goff) by Martaline 5- (R94)

Michael Goff is no stranger to training 4yo maiden winners and Good Man Jim is likely to keep his name up in lights. He scored very comfortably here and will have left Goff dreaming of a big payday. Expectations were high after some very good recent work and the son of Martaline let no-one down here.

Well bought for just €14,000 as a yearling he fetched a whopping £360,000 at the recent Cheltenham Sale when bought by Roger Brookhouse who has bought from this source before including bumper winner Clondaw Cracker.

Goff is an excellent trainer and seems to make this pointing game pay handsomely. The sire of Good Man Jim, Martaline, is French-based and is an excellent producer of good horses such as Dynaste and Disko to name but two. Good Man Jim will have a high-profile trainer and is rated to carry high expectations.

Good Man Jim starred in the pre-Christmas edition of The Irish Field “Future Stars feature”.

 This is how the Sale was reported in the Racing Post:

 The first lot to break the £300,000 barrier was Good Man Jim, who went the way of Roger Brookhouse after a winning bid of £360,000. Anthony Bromley and Charlie Swan helped drive the price up from an opening bid of £100,000, but every effort was instantly responded to with a slight but determined nod of the head from Brookhouse, who was hidden away by the entrance way.

The sale represented a huge return on the £14,000 Richard Frisby forked out for the son of Martaline at the 2014 Doncaster January Sale, and more than vindicated the decision to retain the horse at €45,000 at the 2016 Tattersalls Ireland Derby National Hunt Sale. Michael Goff of Moate Stables in County Wexford was responsible for overseeing the horse’s pointing career, which included a 14-length success at Dowth Hall on his second outing.

“That was fantastic,” said Goff. “I’ve sold a few horses to Mr Brookhouse and I’m delighted he’s bought this guy. All the horses at home were sick when this horse made his debut, but what he did in Dowth was something special. Not many horses can do what he does, he’s got such a high cruising speed, he’s got the pace to win over a mile and he has enough stamina to stay three miles. Dick Frisby who owned this horse is as sharp they come.”

Despite the drama the huge outlay provided, Brookhouse seemed unmoved by his acquisition, simply saying: “I liked the horse very much and he’ll be coming home with me. I’ve bought two or three off Michael and he knows his job.”

5yo maiden:

Double You Be (J.P. Dempsey) by Yeats 2P4S- (R88)

A very modest-looking 7-runner contest with four pulling up, only two finishers and a winner by a distance.The winner had good Punchestown point form prior to some poor runs but he make a satisfactory comeback run here and changed hands at Cheltenham two weeks later for £42,000 and is now in the UK with Martin Weston who I must admit is an unknown quantity to me.

Three of the last four winners of this maiden have scored in England with successes for Otago Trail (120), Tomngerry (135) and last year’s dual scorer Bordeaux Bill. Ordinarily a runner with four previous runs is a dubious selection but his form tailed off after an excellent second to Gallaghers Cross last February, a recent winner of a Galway bumper.

Dempsey trained the 4yo maiden winner at this fixture in 2010 and The Baler stayed with him and won twice over fences. Dempsey is not as prolific in the pointing field as he once was due to a burgeoning career under Rules and has produced just two 5yo maiden winners since 2014 in Subtle Grey and Derrinross. The former is rated 135 and has won 4 races for Donald McCain whilst Derrinross has stayed with Dempsey and although a maiden under Rules has some very decent form from just four runs and looks sure to win at some point. I think both these horses offer encouragement in determining what enthusiasm to offer for the future chances of Double You Be.

Yeats is in his third season of National Hunt runners since converting from the flat and whereas he has yet to produce a start he gets plenty of winners under Rules and between the flags with a decent strike-rate.

If you would like to get in touch to discuss any aspects of the bloodstock and racing industry please contact me at: dskelly@davidskelly.ie

If you would like some advice in relation to your business ventures I would be pleased to call to your premises for an initial meeting which is provided on a complimentary basis.

If you would like to get in touch to discuss any aspects of the bloodstock and racing industry please contact me at: dskelly@davidskelly.ie

Alternatively, if you would like some advice in relation to your business ventures I would be pleased to call to your premises for an initial meeting which is provided on a complimentary basis.

'The Accountant who knows his Assert from his Elbio'