11/11/2017 Loughbrickland  (heavy)

4yo maiden:

Derby (Denis Murphy) by Policy Maker 3-3 (R93)

“A serious horse with plenty of scope.”

Conditions were heavy and this paddock standout impressed most who saw him score convincingly. There were genuine excuses (an over-reach) on his last start – he had been third on two occasions -and he was an impressive twelve-length winner here and also became his mother’s fourth winning foal. The horse displayed a good accelerationt on the very heavy ground and looks a future chasing winner. 

£60,000 Chelt November 2017; Ninth foal; half-brother to French winners Shady Lane (1m3f-1m5f), Blue Voice (2m4f cross-country chase) and Khalvi Blue (2m1f hurdle); dam unplaced 1m3f/1m7f, out of 9.5f 2yo winner.

The sire, by Sadler’s Wells, is a recent import to Ireland having been getting some very nice national hunt performers whilst standing in France including the mare Ross On Has (9 wins at high level in France) and Velvet Maker who has won a couple of decent races in Ireland for Barry Connell. After the race Derby was described as “a serious horse with plenty of scope” and would look well-bought by Willie Mullins for £60,000 at this stage.

This race has produced decent winners in the last few years with Lovely Job and Benatar both four-time scorers on the track for Donald McCain and Gary Moore respectively.

5yo maiden:

Windsor Avenue (Stuart Crawford) by Winged Love P- (R90)

£65,000 Chelt December 2017; second foal; half-brother to point/useful bumper/2m1f hurdle winner Ravenhill Road (see below); dam 2m-2m7f hurdle winner, half-sister to 2m hurdle/chase winner Prosecco.

Now, this is the type of story about a winner I like.

Stuart Crawford trained Windsor Avenue’s year-younger half-brother, Ravenhill Road, (by Exit To Nowhere) to a very impressive 5yo maiden win at Broughshane in May 2016. Phil Martin gave £100,000 for him and sent him to his main trainer Brian Ellison for whom he has won all three of his starts to date. He’s won two bumpers and his maiden hurdle very impressively. No surprise then that Martin gave £65,000 for Windsor Avenue and I expect he is also on his way to Brian Ellison.

The race itself: The winner was strongly supported in the market and he had a good battle with the runner-up. He is the second foal from a four-time hurdle winning dam and is a half brother to Ravenhill Road. The son of Winged Love was ridden was ridden by the handler’s brother. The sire, who died in 2015, is more than capable of getting a nice horse.

Bearing in mind the very tough conditions this “lovely horse” quickened up well and looks one to follow on similar ground going forward.

12/11/2017 Dromahane (soft)

4yo mares maiden:

“The best mare I have ever had” Aidan Fitzgerald

Queen’s Cave (Aidan Fitzgerald) by Court Cave (R85)

QUEENS CAVE (IRE) is a well-bred newcomer by Court Cave that was the clear pick of the paddock beforehand. A big sort with physical presence, she always occupied a prominent position in the main group and she stormed clear from the third last to win in a common canter. The form of those behind indicate that this was a competitive maiden and it is rare to see a maiden winner score with such authority here at Dromahane. She possesses a nice mix of speed and stamina and a bright track career over middle distances seems assured. In short, she’s likely to develop into a black-type winner.

E1,000 F, E8,000 3yo, £175,000 Chelt Nov 2017; sixth foal; half-sister to bumper winner Notre Ami and 2m4f hurdle winner Shuilamach, another mare; dam bumper/2m3f hurdle winner, half-sister to 2m4f-3m chase winner Burwood Breeze.

It does seem a leap of faith to value a €1,000 foal at £175,000 and, as I mentioned previously, treat these winning point mares with caution.

Once I have completed my deliberations on the full autumn season of maidens I will review the record of winning 4yo mares in maidens from 2008 to date and, I promise you, the results are very enlightening.

Ths is how the Racing Post reported the sale:

The second lot to break the six-figure barrier provided Aidan Fitzgerald with a phenomenal profit as Queens Cave, who he picked up for just €8,000, went the way of David Pipe for £175,000. The four-year-old daughter of Court Cave had advertised her credentials with a facile ten-length debut success in a competitive Dromahane maiden just five days before journeying to Cheltenham.

“Maybe Court Cave wasn’t going so well at the time but he’s a stallion I love, I bought four of them at the same sale,” a shellshocked Fitzgerald said when asked how he had acquired such a valuable commodity for such chickenfeed money. “I loved the way this filly walked and I’m delighted she’s going to David Pipe’s,” he added, before going on to explain that Queens Cave had been owned in partnership with Enda McDonagh.

“Absolutely amazing!” added McDonagh, a major player in the plastic business. “I’ve been in racing for 20 years but this is just the second year me and Aidan have been working together. “I fell out of love with racing and wanted something to help me fall back in love with it and that was bringing up young horses. We made a profit in the first year so reinvested a bit heavier and five of the six we bought then have won,” continued McDonagh, who went on to heap praise on Fitzgerald.

“This is more about Aidan than me though, he’s done the hard work, I’ve just invested the money. He’s probably the best horseman in Ireland currently, especially when it comes to mares, as he just understands how to deal with them. We expected to do well today but we didn’t think we’d do that well.”

This was the third time that the filly had been through the sales ring, having brought just €1,000 from Jamestown House Stud as a foal at the Tattersalls Ireland November National Hunt Sale back in 2013.

Queen’s Cave starred in the pre-Christmas edition of The Irish Field “Future Stars feature”.

4yo maiden:

A very healthy turnout here with 21 declared and the necessity of a divide.

Between 2010 and 2015 there were 17 individual winners of 4yo maidens run in October and November here at Dromahane and no less than 15 have scored under Rules on the track. The two that have failed to score simply look as if they both had injury-affected truncated campaigns. Legal OK, from 2016, would be the 18th qualifier and he has started life with a couple of placings for Stuart Edmonds in the UK and will probably win in time.

4yo maiden (Division I):

Chinensis (Vincent Halley) by Well Chosen 4- (R92)

Following on from his 4yo maiden winner, Getaway Trump, at Lisronagh two weeks earlier Vincent Halley was on the mark again here with Chinensis.

Chinesis improved  from his fourth-placed initial effort here behind Reasonable Doubt last spring to win a battling contest. Always close-up and led from four out to hold on well.

Fifth foal of which a 2010 Turtle Island gelding was the only previous progeny to race, showing very limited ability for Ted Walsh; dam is an unraced half-sister to bumper/3m hurdle winner Believe You Me (Paul Nolan) and bumper winner Best of the Girls (Simon Sherwood) and to dam of smart 2m-2m4f hurdle/chase winner Davenport Democrat.

It’s difficult enough to divine the likely ability of Chinensis – the trainer and connections seem less than voluble after victories – and this lack of post-race hype perhaps led to a “not sold” tag for Chinensis (at £65,000) when offered at Tattersalls Cheltenham Sale five days later. Perhaps Halley would counter that his horses do their talking on the track!

4yo maiden (Division II):

Court Master (Aidan Fitzgerald) by Court Cave Unraced (R91)

I associate Aidan Fitzgerald as a trainer of mainly fillies and mares so it’s nice to see him slowly but surely make his way through the handling ranks. Bought by Fitzgerald for €20,000 Court Master has returned a decent profit by selling on to Michael Scudamore following this victory. The dam was second on her first start in a mares maiden in 2009 – remained a maiden – but she is from a lovely family being a half-sister to Gigginstown’s Grade 2 hurdle and chase winner Magnanimity and an eight-time chase winner from the family of National winner Amberleigh House.

5yo maiden:

Recent history and the balance of probability again suggest this nominee will win in England.

Hillary View (Louis Archdeacon) by Court Cave 4P- (R88)

Fourth at Dungarvan last season this was something of a surprise win for Hillary View. He did his best to lose the racing with a final fence blunder and his rider losing his irons and he won in the style of an old-fashioned staying pointer.

£20,000 Cheltenham November 2017 to Peter Bowen; 10th foal; closely related to point winner Howisenow, half-brother to 2m3f 3m2f chase winner Wait No More (Neil Mulholland) & point winners Tearaway Jodie & Tearaway Queen (second in maiden hurdle); dam unraced half-sister to useful 3m hunter chaser winner Tearaway King.

This was Archdeacon’s second 5yo winner in a fortnight and securing just £20,000 for this fellow will have been a disappointment. As I mentioned during my earlier Lisronagh review, the handler doesn’t have a tremendous record selling on his maiden winners but, at £20,000, this looks a reasonable investment for Bowen. Added to Duhallow Tornado’s £25,000 at the same sale, whilst it greases the wheels of the financial machinery it represents “getting out of jail” rather than a beano for Archdeacon.

12/11/2017 Ballinaboola (yield-soft)

4yo maiden:

Exactly similar to Dromahane, there were 25 declarations necessitating another divide and there are no shortage of players (handlers) at this level in the game hoping for the big pay day. In fact it came in Division 1!!

Last year saw the mare If You Say Run beat the geldings in a rare event and that kind of hint should usually be taken. In fact Ashleigh Murphy’s mare has joined Paul Nicholls where she’s won three of her five starts. Colin Bowe’s 2015 winner, Ballymountain Boy, moved to Martin Keighley and has won three from eleven whilst, in 2014,Willie Codd scored with For Instance and he’s won also three races, so far, for Jonjo O’Neill

4yo maiden (Division I):

Sean Doyle produced the very impressive and highly rated victor and he fetched a whopping £380,000 at the Cheltenham Sale just 5 days later.

Know The Score (Sean Thomas Doyle) by Flemensfirth Unraced (R95)

This is how Coolmore reported the sale under their National Hunt banner:

Know The Score (4g Flemensfirth-Prairie Bell, by Sadler’s Wells) made the headlines for the second time in a week at Cheltenham on Friday evening.

The four-year-old drew rave reviews when winning on his point-to-point debut at Ballinaboola the previous Sunday, an effort that hadn’t gone unnoticed when he appeared at the Tattersalls Ireland sale at Cheltenham five days later. Know The Score is set to join David Pipe after making £380,000 to the delight of vendors Sean and James Doyle.

The latter told EBN: “That’s my biggest sale, but he’s by far the best horse I’ve ever put a saddle on. He had size, scope, pedigree and an unbelievable attitude.” Pipe added: “I loved the horse. He was very impressive when he won his maiden and was quite an expensive store at the Derby Sale. He is by a fantastic sire and has a real good pedigree. He has been bought for the Angove family.”

Bred by A J Nevin, Know The Score was bought for €55,000 as a three-year-old store by the Doyles at the Tattersalls Ireland Derby Sale.

4yo maiden (Division II):

Clondaw’s Answer (Michael Goff) by Ask F6- (R93)

A race run 5 seconds slower than Division I and this winner sells for £320,000 less than Know The Score. It will be interesting to compare and contrast their respective careers as time passes. I expect that the two runs in spring were the principal reason for the difference allied to an unimpressive page.

A second foal, the first foal by Bach never made the track; dam placed in points whose three half brothers to race were of no account, out of half-sister to bumper/2m-2m4f hurdle/chase winner Guido and 2m-3m2f hurdle/chase winner Earl Hansel. The pedigree is fairly sparse! Tom Malone gave £60,000 for Clondaw’s Answer and he will race in Britain.

As is common, researching the sire is insightful. Ask’s best track representative to date is Seamus Neville’s Ask Nile who has won two races from 12 starts and is rated 130. His first crop are now 6yo’s of 2018 and he has sired 8 previous point maiden winners who have largely been disappointing. Apart from Ask Nile, Lucinda Russell’s Ask The Tycoon (rated 110) has been the only other point winner who scored under Rules. His days in Coolmore’s Beeches Stud are probably numbered.

Another winner for Michael Goffs Clondaw’s Answer won this from the front and he probably won the race by enterprising tactics although he picked up again when challenged. Future wins in England await.

£60,000 is probably a decent return on an investment of just €7,200, especially taking the sire into account but one suspects he is unlikely to set the world on fire. Modest handicap success might be the mountain top albeit it is winners we are interested in.

5yo maiden:

The recent record (2014+) of this race has been poor with just a single hunter chase victory for Andy Slattery’s 2016 winner Dimple but earlier runnings have produced nice horses such as Goulanes from 2011 who won a Midlands National in 2014.

Batcio (T M Walsh) by Montmartre U (R89)

effectively a two-horse race with a fall at the second last intervening to decide the contest. Ted Walsh enjoys the pointing game and I will be following this winner.

A €12,000 yearling purchase, after the race Walsh was hoping he would make into a decent hunter chaser in the mould of Seabass and Battlefront whom he previously trained. He is likely to stay pointing and is likely to need good ground to show his best when sent inside the rails. Walsh is not shy to produce good horses in points and his record includes Foxrock winning in 2012 and recent Willie Mullins bumper winner Carefully Selected who was sold for £100,000 after an early 2017 maiden win. I would follow this winner very closely as my opinion and experience of Ted Walsh as a trainer is very positive.

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'