On Tuesday morning, the build-up to a ordinary National Hunt card at Roscommon was catapulted on to social media as well as the lips of racing followers. Charles Byrnes is at it at Roscommon he is going for a treble gamble. The events that unfolded will go down in Irish racing folklore. Charles Byrnes and Davy Russell combined to land a treble in Roscommon - with all three horses heavily backed at morning prices.
War Anthem got the ball rolling in the two mile maiden hurdle. War Anthem was available at 16/1 in early trading before going off at 6/1. War Anthem opened at 4/1 on track drifting to 6/1 , War Anthem was nearly 10 on the exchanges. The other horses in the treble would be dramatically cut after War Anthem's victory. The next horse in the treble came up as Mr Smith won the two and a half mile handicap hurdle. A morning price of 12/1 was long gone by post time as Mr Smith went off the 7/4 favourite. The third leg was Top Of The Town who returned the 5/4 favourite for the extended two mile seven handicap hurdle. Top Of The Town had been 12/1 in the morning . At generally-available morning prices, the treble would have paid out at odds of 3,314/1, while at SP a treble would have paid just over 42/1. With these type of gambles some people feel it brings horse racing's integrity into question, those people don't like it one bit. I can see that point. I would be of the other school of thought that admires the planning and execution involved in a plot such as this. Barney Curley famously saddled three winners from four gambled horses on a single day in the UK in 2010 and did it again by going for a very similar gamble in 2014 that resulted in all four horses winning.I say hats off to Charles Byrnes getting into the same league as Barney Curley is no mean achievment.
The quotes below give the bookmakers and trainers perspective on the nights events.
Charles Byrnes said of the treble: "After Galway we needed it. I did my brains in at Galway with Sea Light and Crystal Pearl. “That's my first treble. It's just the way it happened. I wouldn't say I planned it.
Paddy Power spokesman Paul Binfield said: "We were on to the treble quite early in the morning but, even so, we paid out well into six figures between the three of them. "Well done to Charles on a well-orchestrated gamble!"
The Stewards reports are below.
The Stewards enquired into the apparent improvement in form of War Anthem, trained by C.Byrnes, placed first, compared with its recent form. Evidence was heard from the trainer concerned who stated that his animal was ridden at Listowel on the 6th June and Limerick on the 3rd July by G.B. Noonan, an inexperienced claiming rider. He commented that his charge had jumped big and deliberate at Listowel and had never taken a hold of the bit. At Limerick he felt that the rider was weak on his charge who was unable to keep him in contention. He further added that the booking of D.N. Russell in addition to a complete change of training routine by easing off in his exercise combined with the fact that his horses had been out of form but showed signs of improvement in recent work outs had all contributed to today's improvement. He further informed the Stewards that this animal had a history of bursting blood vessels but to his knowledge had not done so on the racecourse. Evidence was also heard from Andrew Shaw, Turf Club National Hunt Handicapper, who stated that War Anthem was tailed off in two previous hurdle races and despite winning a weak contest today, abnormal improvement had been shown. Having considered the evidence the Stewards noted the explanation offered and took no further action.
The Stewards enquired into the apparent improvement in form of Mr Smith (GB), trained by C.Byrnes, placed first, as compared with its previous run at Killarney on the 14th July 2016. Evidence was heard from the trainer concerned who stated that his charge was unable to go with the pace in this two mile one furlong contest and jumped deliberately before losing interest when becoming detached from the main contenders. He added that P.T. Enright who rode Mr Smith (GB) at Killarney had suggested that this animal was ungenuine and could benefit from the application of blinkers, be ridden more prominently and race over a longer distance. Today he did as suggested and felt that his horses had improved in their overall health in recent weeks, all of these factors contributing to this success. Evidence was also heard from Andrew Shaw, Turf Club N.H. Handicapper, who stated that this animal was running off a rating of 83 having been dropped 2lbs for the Killarney run. He also commented that blinkers were applied today and the animal was racing over a longer distance. Having considered the evidence the Stewards noted the explanation and took no further action.