Monday, we start at Plumpton. Ben Jones continued his season to savour when reducing his claim to 3lb aboard Ask The Weatherman. There was a double for Paul Nicholls with Cap Du Mathan and Cat Tiger. At Kelso, there was a double for Brian Hughes with The Con Man and Black Pirate. There was a fourth win on the spin for Skyhill. It was good news for our members Skyhill was advised (2pts win) at 15/8. At Wolverhampton, there was a double for Luke Morris with Egotistic and Sherpa trail.
Tuesday, we start at Down Royal. There was a 100/1 winner in the regally bred Department Of War for David Dunne. At Southwell, Dune Of Pilat looked a highly-promising three-year-old as he landed a facile victory for Irish trainer Joseph O’Brien in the Bombardier Golden Beer Novice Stakes. At Newcastle, there was a double for Olly Murphy with The Wolf and Endlessly.
Wednesday, we start at Leicester. Sabbathical bolted up by fifteen lengths for Evan Williams. At Kempton, there was a treble for Hollie Doyle on board Hassaad, Ginger Fox and River Dart. The meeting at Hereford was abandoned.
Thursday, we start at Limerick. Lamarckise is set to head straight for the Cheltenham Festival after being made to work hard for victory on her belated Irish debut at Limerick. Five O'Clock made it a double for Mullins and Townend. At Southwell, Will To Win was on target for Simon Crisford. Newmarket trainer James Ferguson celebrated his first winner when Arabian King won the At Betway Handicap. At Wincanton, Calva D’Auge dug deep to complete a Wincanton treble for champion trainer Paul Nicholls. One bet for the members today and its a winner Worthy Farm 220 Wincanton (1pt win) at 4/1. At Ffos Las, there was a double For Evan Williams with No Rematch and Mouseinthehouse. At Chelmsford, Agent Of Fortune and Venusta shared a dead heat. Barney Roy made an encouraging start to what could be a highly-profitable campaign when leading home four Godolphin-owned runners in the Group Two Al Rashidiya at Meydan.
Friday, we start at Dundalk. It was an exciting night for the Galaxy Horse Racing Syndicate. Our first runner of 2020 the task fell to Lottieloveheart, Ross Coakley (who has ridden 37 winners at Dundalk) and Leanne Breen. We welcomed Ross to the team for his first ride for ourselves. Leanne Breen has made a good start as a trainer for us impressing us all with her methods. Lottieloveheart is a work in progress. Leanne has built the filly up well while she is still growing. We decided to target this race in November giving Leanne time to work on Lottieloveheart. The draw gods did not shine upon us a tricky draw from stall twelve.
It was not our night with Lottieloveheart. They went a very strong gallop. The time of the race was 2 seconds faster than the maiden run over the same distance at 700. The time of the 730 was almost identical to our race these are hardened handicappers. Lottieloveheart due to her wide draw was trapped out wide and could not get cover. Racing in cheekpieces she ran with the choke out and we were never getting home ending up in a race on our own. We are still learning about this horse my gut says a strong run seven at Dundalk and softish ground on turf over a mile or maybe even ten furlongs in time to come. Lottieloveheart is still growing physically, so it's on we go. Leanne Breen knows what to do and so do we. On the syndicate front, there was some good news. We saw Mokhalad for the first time since his winter break. Mokhalad was delighted to see us he was really showing off, bucking and kicking charging around his paddock for his many supporters you will see him in mid-March. We are looking forward to the return of our captain. We also saw Trading Point, Alfirak who will race in March. Stanhope looked well and we will see him on the track in April.
On the rest of the card at Dundalk.One Bet for the members tonight and it was a winner Bowerman 600 Dundalk (1.5pts win) 7/4. Aido McGuiness is on fire it was a very impressive performance from Bowerman, who is owned by a very nice group of people. Our own Donagh O'Connor bagged with a first winner since returning to action following serious injury sustained last August at Dundalk today as he steered the Johnny Levins trained Nordic Passage to win the Bet On The Best Night Out At Dundalk Handicap.O'Connor, who is based with trainer Levins, fell from his mount Unconscious Mind who was hampered mid-race at Cork on August 17, and suffered a serious injury to his back. The jockey today reported “I fractured the C4 vertebrae in my spine but I was lucky as it was a stable fracture and I was glad to be able to walk away from that. It was a bad fall and I was out of four months; I had a brace on for two months and then had physiotherapy and it was a long time on the sidelines.“I was itching to get back and it is great to get the win and I'm looking forward to the new season.” We are all thrilled for Donagh who has been a huge part of our journey. We look forward to welcoming Donagh back into our Green and Black silks as soon as an opportunity arises.
Mildenberger made his fitness count as he landed an overdue success in the Betway Conditions Stakes at Lingfield for Mark Johnston. At Catterick, there was a double for Jonjo O'Neill with Extreme Force and Cary's Commodity. At Chepstow, there was a double for Evan Williams with Holdbacktheriver and Caswell Bay. At Newcastle, there was a double for Michael Appleby with Channel Packet.
Saturday, we start at Leopardstown for The Dublin Racing Festival. I was very much looking forward to the Dublin Racing Festival. I was at Leopardstown on both days. This meeting is now one of huge quality with no race looking out of place at a Cheltenham Festival. I was looking forward to sharing the experience with my racing mad keen Godchild (Daniel), other family and friends. It did not disappoint.
Latest Exhibition relished the step up in trip to win the Nathaniel Lacy & Partners Solicitors “50,000 Cheltenham Bonus For Stable Staff” Novice Hurdle. It was great to see Paul Nolan and Bryan Cooper back with a Grade 1 winner. Cobblers Way and Longhouse Poet ran fine races in second and third. Chacun Pour Soi resumed winning ways in the Ladbrokes Dublin Chase. I was not that impressed here. Chacun Pour Soi needs to do much better to win at Cheltenham in my view. It was a pity A Plus Tard could not run due to the ground. Notebook maintained his unbeaten record over fences with a determined success over Cash Back in the ERSG Arkle Novice Chase. This was a brilliant race again it was a pity there was a high profile late non-runner as Fakir D'oudairies was withdrawn late on. Notebook has done nothing wrong and jumps very well I do not think he is bombproof though.
Eclair De Beaufeu took the two-mile handicap chase for Gordon Elliott. Honeysuckle was forced to work harder than she ever has before to maintain her unbeaten record in the PCI Irish Champion Hurdle. This was another cracking race completing a double for Henry De Bromhead and Rachael Blackmore. Punters latched on to the unbeaten Honeysuckle in the two-mile feature on day one of the Dublin Racing Festival as she was backed into 8/11 favourite having been a 13/8 shot in the morning. Honeysuckle showed guts to match her talent as she knuckled down to edge ahead again on the run-in. Darver Star flew home in the closing stages to grab the runner-up spot, getting within half a length of the winner at the line with the same margin back to the gallant Petit Mouchoir.
Charles Byrnes landed an incredible hat-trick in the Ladbrokes Hurdle at Leopardstown as Thosedaysaregone lunged late to grab the lions share of the €150,000 prize. The Limerick handler had taken the last two renewals of the race with Off You Go and struck once again in the valuable two-mile event. Eglantine Du Seuil ran a cracker in fourth wherever she goes she will carry my money at Cheltenham. Appreciate It ran out a very convincing winner of the Bumper completing a double for Willie Mullins. A couple of non-runners however still a decent day for the members. Honeysuckle 310 Leopardstown (2pts win) 5/4 won Eglantine Du Seuil 345 Leopardstown (0.5pt each way) 33/1 placed. It was the highest attendance to date recorded at the Dublin Racing Festival today, 14,204, a 13pc increase from 2019. Bookmakers' turnover grew year-on-year by 30pc to €1,017,732 while the Tote turnover was also up 21pc to €166,967.
In the Uk, It was only really Sandown that caught the eye. Itchy Feet provided Olly Murphy with a first Grade One winner in the Betway Scilly Isles Novices’ Chase at Sandown. Murphy, a former assistant to Gordon Elliott, has made giant strides in his fledgling career to date, but there is no doubt that a first win at the highest level is a landmark day. There was another big Saturday winner for Christian Williams as Limited Reserve took the 100K handicap hurdle. Quel Destin and Dolos gave Paul Nicholls a Sandown double.
Sunday, we start at Leopardstown. Owner Rich Ricci has raised the possibility of supplementing Benie Des Dieux for the Unibet Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham. A very intriguing prospect. Day two of the Dublin Racing Festival promised to be a cracker so it proved. Black Tears benefitted from a patient ride by Davy Russell as Gordon Elliott saddled another valuable Leopardstown handicap this weekend in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Paddy Mullins Mares Handicap Hurdle. A Wave Of The Sea pounced late to win a dramatic race for the Grade One Tattersalls Ireland Spring Juvenile Hurdle for Joseph O'Brien. Rachael Blackmore adopted usual front-running tactics on Aspire Tower but Henry de Bromhead’s exciting juvenile was strongly pressed by Cerberus approaching final flight. The 1/3 favorite held a slight advantage when falling at the last leaving Cerberus with what appeared a certain victory. However, Mark Walsh’s mount stopped quickly in the closing stages and stable-companion A Wave Of The Sea finished strongly to gain an unlikely victory under Barry Geraghty. Aspire Tower's trainer Henry de Bromhead said, "He seems fine and just had a bit of a cut. Hopefully, he'll be okay in the morning."
Asterion Forlonge maintained his unbeaten record with a dominant display in the Chanelle Pharma Novice Hurdle at Leopardstown. The grey son of Castal Path had previously won a point-to-point, bumper, and a maiden hurdle but took this huge step up to Grade 1 company in his stride. The Willie Mullins-trained gelding set a good pace along with well-backed 5/4 favorite Easywork, and quickly settled the issue off the home turn. Asterion Forlonge should go for the Supreme in my view. Kevin Brouder partnered his second big handicap winner in the space of 24 hours at Leopardstown as Treacysenniscorthy continued his rapid progression for trainer Robert Widger in the William Fry Handicap Hurdle.
Faugheen sparked scenes of unbridled joy on day two of the Dublin Racing Festival at Leopardstown when digging deep to land the Flogas Novice Chase. The former Champion Hurdle winner has taken well to fences in the twilight of his career and made it three wins from three chase starts this term in this 2m5f Grade 1 event. Faugheen’s stablemate Easy Game threw down a strong challenge at the last and Paul Townend’s mount had to really battle on the run-in to prevail by half a length. The large crowd rushed to the parade ring to greet the winner who was given three cheers amid raucous celebrations. A delighted Mullins said, “It’s probably one of the most special winners that I’ve ever had" The scenes for Faugheen would remind you of the days of Danoli at Leopardstown it was magic stuff.
Delta Work followed up his win in the Savills Chase over the same course and distance at the Leopardstown Christmas meeting by landing the feature event of the Dublin Racing Festival, the Paddy Power Irish Gold Cup. The 5/2 chance was patiently ridden by Jack Kennedy who produced him to challenge Presenting Percy and Kemboy early in the home straight. The Gordon Elliott-trained seven-year-old son led at the last and stayed on well under pressure on the run-in to score by a length and a half. The 5/4 favourite Kemboy held every chance in this three-mile event but could make no impression on the winner after the last while Presenting Percy traveled as well as anything at the penultimate fence but weakened on the run-in to finish a further three and a quarter lengths back in third. For Kemboy and Presenting Percy fans, their horses have lost again to Delta Work. My view is I will be sticking with Santini he beat Delta Work at Cheltenham last season. I think Santini will beat him again.
Glamorgan Duke battled back gamely to land a big pot for Athenry handler Paul Gilligan in the €150,000 Gaelic Plant Hire Handicap Chase at Leopardstown. The Flemensfirth gelding, who had been prominent throughout, looked booked for second in the two-mile-five contest when collared by Trainwreck on the run-in. Conor Maxwell got a great tune from the 33/1 shot in the closing stages, however, and he stuck his head back in front near the post to gained a head victory.“It's great to get the first Leopardstown winner. He's a good horse,” said Gilligan. The ups and downs of racing were demonstrated with an update from Senior Medical Officer Dr. Jennifer Pugh, with the consent of Jack Kennedy. "Unfortunately, Jack's injury from today has been confirmed as a fracture of his right femur. He is expected to undergo surgery tomorrow."Darling Daughter completed a 1,364/1 treble on the day for Gordon Elliott when taking the concluding race of the Dublin Racing Festival at Leopardstown, the Coolmore NH Sires Irish EBF Mares Flat Race.
A couple of places and a non-runner for the member Concertista 1255 Leopardstown (0.5pt each way) 18/1 placed Presenting Percy 330 Leopardstown (0.5 each way) 4/1 placed Robin Des Foret 400 Leopardstown (1pt each way) 8/1 placed (5th special) Silver Sheen 230 Leopardstown (NR). Dublin Racing Festival Stats Leopardstown: Day 2 attendance 12,270, a 5% increase from 2019 the highest Sunday figure to date. A record weekend figure of 26,474. Sunday's bookmakers' take of €899,467 was a 1% increase on last year. Tote turnover grew by 20% to €187,998.