Monday, Spectators are set to return to sports venues in the UK – including racecourses – next week as coronavirus restrictions are eased in areas with lower infection rates. At Dundalk, there was a double for Joseph O'Brien with Winner Takes Itall Brendan Powell, assistant to winning trainer Joseph O’Brien who was completing a quick double after Bluebeard’s Castle win in the preceding maiden, said: “It's nice to get his head in front. He (Mikey Sheehy) gave him a nice confident ride. At Musselburgh, there was a double for Lucinda Russell with Celtic Flames and Mint Gold. At Ludlow, there was a treble for Richard Johnson with Belatrix Lestrange, Wildfire Warrior and Volcano. At Kempton, Shiskin made a very good debut over fences. There was a double for David Bass with Ajero and Bannixton Glory. I was very impressed with Lock's Corner for Jonjo O'Neill. At Chelmsford, David O'Meara was on target with Gumra.
Tuesday, Uncle Bryn is a general 20-1 shot for next year’s Derby after maintaining his unbeaten record with a dominant display at Wolverhampton. In Ireland, Neverushacon recorded his second win over the cross-country course at Punchestown, as he ran out an easy winner of the Ballymore Group Risk Of Thunder Chase. At Sedgefield, there was a double for Brian Hughes with C'est Le Bonheur and Minella Drama. At Southwell, Firestep took the bumper for Nicky Henderson. At Lingfield, Hasty Sailor was on target for Sir Michael Stoute.
Wednesday, we start at Dundalk. It was a big day ahead for The Galaxy Horse Racing Syndicate as we run two horses Casa Comigo 240 Dundalk and Double Kodiac 545 Dundalk. Both horses are trained in Warrenpoint by Leanne Breen our youngest trainer who continues to impress. Leanne picked up a winner on Monday. We feel very much personally invested in Leanne's journey we have been with her since she started. Casa Comigo is making his Galaxy debut. It is very exciting to be launching a new horse always. He will become the eight-horse to carry our colours in just over three years. A remarkable achievement for ourselves.
I must admit I have yet to meet Casa Comigo due to the ongoing Covid restrictions here in Ireland. Casa Comigo has settled really well in Ireland putting on muscle and pleasing Leanne Breen. He won sixty days ago at Lingfield. In fact, Casa Comigo has won five times in the UK all over 16 furlongs. Today's race is 12 furlongs which was a slight worry with a potential slow pace. This was a good starting point for Casa Comigo as we venture into the long-distance division for the first time. There are lots of opportunities for Casa Comigo through the winter at Dundalk. We welcome back a Galaxy hero in Gavin Ryan to the saddle. Gavin is the Champion apprentice jockey for 2020 in Ireland. Gavin, of course, was victorious on Mokhalad in a spine-tingling emotional victory at Naas on 20-6-20. Casa Comigo ran a decent race up until the home turn. As feared the race was slowly run turning into a sprint. Gavin Ryan suggested going back up to two miles which we will do on December 16th back at Dundalk. We learned a lot in this race.
Double Kodiac was a little disappointing in a much stronger race last time out. We got into a pace battle and our race was over at the home turn doing far too much too soon. He has been away to Dundalk since he went well. He looks very well still having his summer coat. The draw has not been kind from stall 12. That would facilitate a change in tactics as it would be very hard to go forward from that draw. We will look to switch Double Kodiac off early on racing in the first six. We welcome back another Galaxy hero in the saddle Chris Hayes, who won on Mokhalad at Bellewstown 3-7-19. Chris Hayes has a lovely way of settling horses. This is a drop in grade and down to seven furlongs. Double Kodiac has a lot of ability its still very early days. We hoped he could take a step forward today. Double Kodiac ran an ok race the change of tactics worked to a point. However, a wide draw combined with a stumble at the start meant we could not get into the race. Double Kodiac has had three quick runs we will give him a break. We know he is a good prospect for the turf so we will make a plan in December for him.
The rest of the Dundalk card saw a winner for our friends at Hilltop as Swift Wing was on target in the Claimer. There were winners for Galaxy trainers John McConnell and Adrian McGuinness with Kudebegood and War Hero. The win for Kudbegood showed Siobhan Rutledge at her best again. The way Siobhan put her stick down when Kudbegood started to hang was class. At Hereford, Venetia Williams was on target with Cuban Pete who was advised 1pt each-way at 4/1 to our members. Venetia was also on target at Wetherby, with Funambule Sivola. There was a winner for Cheltenham festival winning trainer as his Born By The Sea made the journey from Galway count. At Kempton. there was a treble for Richard Kingscote with I'M Available, Marsabit and Fools Rush In.
Thursday, we start at Lingfield. Josh Moore stole the riding honours at Lingfield with the first four-timer of his career at odds of 228-1. The winners were Annual Invictus, High Up in The Air, Deebaj and Benevolentdictator. The last three named were winners for Gary Moore. At Southwell, John Gosden was on target with Byzantia. At Taunton, Runswick Bay was on target for Emma Lavelle. I thought this looked like a decent race. I think the second horse Confirmation Bias looked alright and could win one of these over the busy Christmas period. At Chelmsford, there was good prize money on offer. Ghalyoon was on target for Jim Crowley. At Thurles, it was a double for Willie Mullins and Paul Townend. The 4/5 favourite Gauloises impressed when taking the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Mares’ Maiden Hurdle on her first start over obstacles. The 8/15 favourite Franco De Port made a winning start over fences in the Killinan Beginners’ Chase.
Friday, we start with the news that Champion jockey Oisin Murphy has been banned for three months by France Galop after testing positive for metabolites of cocaine. This whole case has been strange from start to finish. At Newbury, the Ladbrokes winter Festival got going. Caribean Boy proved too good for odds-on favourite Fiddlerontheroof in the novice chase for Nicky Henderson. A double on the day for Henderson was completed by Elusive Belle under Sam Whaley Cohen. The Feature race was Ladbrokes Long Distance Hurdle (Grade 2) this was a very good race. Thyme Hill laid a marker down for the new season when holding off Paisley Park. That said there was plenty to like about both horses. I thought McFabulous did not stay however he would have an outstanding chance in an Aintree Hurdle. I thought the most impressive winner on the day came in the novice hurdle Bravemansgame for Paul Nicholls. This was really good in my opinion.
At Doncaster, Kim Bailey kept his good start to the season up with Bobhopeornohope. At Southwell, there was a double for Silvestre De Sousa with Johnny Drama and Sky Power. At Chelmsford, Companionship got off the mark for her majesty The Queen. The Friday night lights saw John McConnell complete a double at Dundalk today as the trainer landed the concluding Test Your Tipping Talents Handicap with Construct, under jockey Gary Carroll. Earlier on the card Aldente, under Donagh O'Connor had won to initiate the McConnell double.
Saturday, we start at Newbury. It was Ladbrokes trophy day. Cloth Cap ran the opposition into the ground with a superb all-the-way triumph in the Ladbrokes Trophy. This was electric under Tom Scudamore. This was very sweet for owner Trevor Hemmings who sold many horses recently however retained Cloth Cap. I thought The Conditional ran a great race in third. I would really like this horse for The Aintree Grand National. The novice chase went to Next Destination for Paul Nicholls. I thought this was a very strong race, Next Destination was super impressive. At Newcastle, it was Fighting Fifth Hurdle day. This saw the performance of the weekend. Epatante impressed when making a winning seasonal debut she thrashed them and it will be hard to knock her off her perch. Multiple Grade One-winner Yorkhill rolled back the years and caused a 66-1 shock in the Betfair Exchange Rehearsal Handicap Chase. I have to say I loved this. I was a big fan of Yorkhill as a younger horse. Yorkhill did it the hard way from the front every time a challenger came he saw them off. It is what the game is all about.
At Fairyhouse, it was day one of the Winter Festival. Monkfish made an impressive start over fences as he strolled to victory in the Jim Ryan Racecourse Services Beginners Chase. This was electric on chase debut for Monkfish. I liked the run of Ontheropes in second. There is a big handicap in this horse. Concertista boosted her claims for a third successive appearance at the Cheltenham Festival with a cheeky victory in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Mares Hurdle. The Mullins and Townend treble was completed by Hook Up.
Sunday, we will focus on Day 2 of the Fairyhouse Winter Festival. Gordon Elliott’s Zanahiyr was catapulted into Triumph Hurdle favouritism following a stunning display in the Bar One Racing Price Boost Juvenile Hurdle. This was an excellent performance from Zanahiyr I loved the way he accelerated into the last. Gordon Elliott has a very strong team of juveniles. Ballyadam maintained his unbeaten record over obstacles in a fascinating renewal of the Royal Bond Novice Hurdle. This was a messy race. I would say Paul Townend was very unhappy afterwards he got trapped in a pocket and flew home on N'Golo. That said Ballyadam did his stuff well.
Envoi Allen cruised to victory and stretched his unbeaten record under Rules to 10 with a faultless performance in the Drinmore Novice Chase. Envoi Allen was described by his trainer Gordon Elliott as “a horse of a lifetime” as the dual-Cheltenham festival winner remained unbeaten with another faultless display. Elliott previously admitted, “I should have just shut my mouth” having hyped future Gold Cup winner Don Cossack, but today fell into the same trap with obvious talent Envoi Allen, declaring “he is a horse of a lifetime. He is a superstar and we are very lucky to have him.” “He'll have one more run, then Cheltenham. He is entered in all the novice chases over Christmas but I'd say I'll go to Punchestown in January for a Grade 2 over 2m4f, and then go straight to Cheltenham. Gordon Elliott completed a four-timer at Fairyhouse today as the Championship-chasing trainer completed the feat in the concluding Bar One Racing (Pro-Am) Bumper with the Jamie Codd-partnered newcomer Grand Paradis.
Unbeaten Honeysuckle recorded consecutive wins in the featured Baroneracing.com Hatton's Grace Hurdle at Fairyhouse today as the Cheltenham Mares Hurdle winner scored on seasonal reappearance, for trainer Henry De Bromhead and jockey Rachael Blackmore. Honeysuckle was today following Drinmore Chase winner Envoi Allen in preserving remarkable unbeaten records, as the six-year-old mare is now unbeaten in a point-to-point and nine hurdle races, five of which have come at Grade 1 level.De Bromhead was thrilled with the win and later reported “it was a tougher race than the odds suggested but there is no easy Grade 1.“It was great to see her win on her first run back but I'm delighted with the performance.
Kevin Brouder returned to the winner's enclosure for the first time since his breach of Covid-protocols suspension ended, as the jockey enjoyed a career highlight when landing the Grade A Bar One Racing Extra Places Handicap Hurdle on the Charles Byrnes trained Advanced Virgo. Brouder ended last season's curtailed season with an impressive 40 winners, eight shy of Daragh O'Keeffe in the Conditional Jockeys Championship, but breached Covid-protocols in early September and served an eight weeks suspension prior to returning to race-riding on November 20.
Father and son/trainer and jockey Tom and David Mullins combined to win the Grade B Baroneracing.com Porterstown Handicap Chase at Fairyhouse today with easy winner Court Maid. The abandonment of the 2020 Irish Grand National, due to the Covid crisis, gave today's 3m5f race value a sizeable increase from €50,000 last year to €125,000.00, and in the race Court Maid comfortable beat runner-up Brace Yourself by 13 lengths. The win was the daughter of Court Cave's eighth career success, bringing her own haul to €164,000 and following the race trainer Tom Mullins reported: “I told Rory Larkin (owner) that her target was the Irish National and she won here today with the prizemoney bumped up so it is great.“She has the class and while she ran disappointed at Punchestown, everything went wrong for her then and I put a line through it and I was expecting a nice run today.“She has a class pedigree and I knew when she'd step up (in trip), she'd improve.“Today was the target and she is now a top novice over a trip so we'll see.”