Today will be only about Mokhalad at Naas. It was the night before Punchestown, however, our gaze is firmly fixed on Naas. As our pride and joy, Mokhalad went in the 550 at Naas. It was another night on the road for the Galaxy Horse Racing Syndicate. We were strongly in attendance to get behind our captains banner at Naas. Mokhalad was bidding to continue his already remarkable season. We were looking forward to seeing Mokhalad in action at Naas, a very competitive race however despite 24 runners. Mokhalad was the favorite. As long as we get him home in one piece, everything else will be a bonus was the attitude beforehand. He has been electric so far this season 212 in 3 races. This is the major change in Mokhalad this season he is putting a sequence of runs together. Mokhalad's confidence is really up his coat has come on beautifully from Naas to Tipperary. A sign he is very healthy. We were delighted with how Mokhalad ran in Tipperary. The winner Hathiq was very good on the night. Naas would suit Mokhalad far better in our view, the ground had come right. Mokhalad had a good draw. Although it was very competitive we thought Mokhalad deserved to be favorite, Shane Foley was keen to run provided Mokhalad was A1 after the race in Tipperary Shane kept the ride. Mokhalad had done well since Tipperary he was ready to roll, we were hopeful he could produce another bit of Mokhalad magic.
What happened next was a day we will never forget as Mokhalad pulverized the opposition with a destructive display of speed and class powering to a brilliant win. I could hardly believe my eyes through the binoculars as Mokhalad put his head down, bounding clear. The market saw Mokhalad backed from 13/2 to 10/3 early in the day. Mokhalad was then punted on track from 10/3 into 11/8 touching 5/4 at one point!! Sometimes there just are no words. Our captain, leader and icon Mokhalad delivered yet again. This golden run for Mokhalad continued with a blitz of a display at Naas last night. Mokhalad put his rivals to bet in tremendous fashion running out a very comfortable winner. Of course, we had the best of the draw but you have to make use of it. Credit has to go to Shane Foley who was very confident Damian and the team have got Mokhalad rolling it's been a great job, we will have a look at things now and plan from that point. Mokhalad is the horse of a lifetime we are so grateful to him. Damian's post-race quotes are below
"That was impressive. The run the last day was very good, considering it's a very quick five in Tipperary. He came out of it grand so we said we'd let him take his chance. Shane was saying that he appreciates that little give in the ground. We might just give him a little break now, a couple of weeks off, and have a look at what is coming up later in the summer. Six is his trip, he does get seven so we have options, but he just needs a little bit of give in the ground and good to yielding is ideal. We'll wait and see what the weathers does and pick something out again. We'd hope to get to a premier handicap at some stages along the line. If he could do that at the Curragh in one of the big handicaps we'd be laughing.
I have said it before numerous times about how important Mokhalad is to us. Mokhalad did not need to do anything else to elevate his status in our eyes. He came into the season with some questions to answer, however as a group we always felt with a break and the right conditions. The flame burned brightly still. Mokhalad had got his ground conditions twice last season at Navan (won) and Galway (placed) Mokhalad has had his conditions in his last four runs 2121. The handicapper has had his say rightly so, Mokhalad has been raised 17 pounds since the start of the season. Mokhalad has now won over 55,000 euros and the syndicate 103,00. There has been huge excitement about Alfirak, Stanhope and Trading Point at various stages. However, Mokhalad remains our flagship, our standard bearer he is the benchmark for all our other horses to follow. We know how lucky we are to have Mokhalad we treasure every day with him. The joy he has brought has been incredible. These truly are the days of our lives we intend to keep enjoying them for as long as we can.
Tuesday, the next five days blogs will be Punchestown only. Klassical Dream followed up his Cheltenham Festival triumph with a dominant victory in the Herald Champion Novice Hurdle. This horse looks to have the lot, he must go on all shortlists for the champion hurdle. Un De Sceaux produced another tremendous front-running display to successfully defend his crown in the BoyleSports Champion Chase. The word legend is often thrown around in racing, however, Un De Sceaux is very much worthy of this tag. He completed a double for Willie Mullins. Delta Work got back on the winning trail with a dominant display in the Dooley Insurance Group Champion Novice Chase. I suspected we had not seen the real Delta Work at Cheltenham this was much more like it. Elliott completed a double with Festival D'ex who took the Land Rover bumper. There was a double for JP McManus with Blue Templer and Front View. The handicap hurdle went to Pearl Of The West for John McConnell. It was a brilliant day for the members a clean sweep on day one with 5 bets Klassical Dream 3pt Win (4/6) 420 Punchestown Pearl of the west 1pt ew (14/1) 455 Punchestown Un de Scauex 2pt win (11/4) 530 Punchestown Delta Work 2pt win (7/4) 640 Punchestown. As well as a 1pt win-double Delta Work and Klassical Dream
Wednesday, day two at Punchestown. The big race of the day was the Punchestown Gold Cup. The race went to Kemboy in emphatic fashion for Willie Mullins however that was only the beginning of the story. Ruby Walsh announced his retirement as a jockey on the spot. Ruby has as everyone knows had a wonderful career. There is no doubt Ruby Walsh was the best jockey of this generation and in all likelihood all time. Ruby had tremendous talent, great balance strong in a finish and a brilliant judge of pace. Ruby as he said himself was blessed with wonderful horses. Everyone knows this, he will be remembered fondly for his associations with Kauto Star and Hurricane Fly. It is hard to believe we will not here the Ruby Ruby chant from the packed betting jungle at Cheltenham ever again. My own favorite Ruby Walsh ride came at Cheltenham in the 2006 William Hill handicap chase aboard Dun Doire for Tony Martin. It was a ride were Walsh used all his skill dropping Dun Doire out bringing him through and showing great strength in the finish. Go well Ruby for you have given much. Mullins completed a double with Coolreevy who took the champion bumper.
Minella Indo confirmed his Cheltenham superiority over Allaho as he landed the Irish Daily Mirror Novice Hurdle There was a treble on the card for JP McManus with Musical Slave, Elimay and Gypsy Island. Nicky Henderson was on target with O O Seven. Two winners today mixed in with a few fallers, as well as Ruby retiring. All happening at Punchestown Zero Ten 420 Punchestown (2pts win) 13/8 Gypsy Island 745 Punchestown (2pts win) 13/8
Thursday, Champion Trainer Willie Mullins continues to dominate the Punchestown festival and following a double at the meeting yesterday, completed a treble on the day with Elfile's win in the Listed Close Brothers (Mares) Novice Hurdle today.Mullins was today without the services of retired stable jockey Ruby Walsh but newly appointed supremo Paul Townend steered Elfile to a comfortable ten lengths win, to provide Townend with his second winner of the afternoon. The Mullins treble was completed by Chacun Pour Soi and My Sister Sarah. The feature race saw Unowhatimeanharry repeat his win of two years ago in the Ladbrokes Champion Stayers Hurdle at the Punchestown Festival.
Ireland's longest race the Mongey Communications La Touche Chase at Punchestown today was won by the Peter Maher trained Ballyboker Bridge who proved a winning spare ride for jockey Sean Flanagan. Snugsborough Hall gained compensation for connections for an unfortunate mishap at Fairyhouse last month when landing the Grade B Pigsback.com Handicap Chase. Snugsborough Hall was advised to our members (2pts win) at 3/1. Robbie Power won the first race of the post-Ruby Walsh era at Punchestown today as the jockey steered Polished Steel to win the opening JLT H'cap Hurdle for trainer Jessica Harrington.
Friday, Day four of Punchestown. It was a rough day for the jockeys.Rachael Blackmore, David Mullins, and Mark Walsh all had to be stood down after suffering falls on the penultimate day of the Punchestown Festival. Buveur D’Air got back on the winning trail with a comprehensive success in the Betdaq Punchestown Champion Hurdle. Reserve Tank held the late challenge of Sams Profile in a thrilling climax to the Alanna Homes Champion Novice Hurdle. Sams Profile 605 advised to our members (1pt each way) at 11/1 placed (rule 4 deduction 10%). Real Steel bolted up in the novice handicap chase. Poker Party advised to our members (1pt each way) at 8/1 placed in the race. Caid Du Berlais followed up on last years win to bolt up by 28 lengths. Moyhenna took the mares handicap chase for Denis Hogan. Gardens of Babylon finally got his day in the sun by taking the novice hurdle for Joseph O'Brien.
Saturday, we start at Newmarket. Magna Grecia provided Aidan O’Brien with his 10th victory in the Qipco 2000 Guineas. It is 21 years since the Ballydoyle maestro first won the colts’ Classic with King Of Kings. This was a pretty unsatisfactory race. The field split not long after the stalls opened and Magna Grecia was one of just three horses that raced close to the stands’ rail. It was clear racing inside the final two furlongs that this trio had a significant advantage over their rivals and once asked to fully extend, Magna Grecia rocketed clear to seal a most impressive success.
It was day five at Punchestown. A record attendance of 37,206 for Family Day at Punchestown this afternoon rounded off a highly successful Festival meeting at the Co. Kildare venue. The betting ring enjoyed a revival over the five days at Punchestown, with a general downward trend in Irish racing extending reversed. The total bookmakers’ turnover for the five-day Festival of €5,215,413 showed an increase of over €300,000 on last year’s total of €4,906,282. Fusil Raffles showed his mettle after missing Cheltenham through injury when taking the Grade One honours in the AES Champion Four Year Old Hurdle for Nicky Henderson. Benie Des Dieux put a dramatic fall at Cheltenham behind her to lead home a whitewash for Willie Mullins in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Annie Power Mares Champion Hurdle
Heron Heights took the Pat Taffe chase for the second year in a row. Blue Templer made it two wins at the festival for JP McManus. Champion trainer Willie Mullins dominated the €100,000 Ballymore Handicap Hurdle at Punchestown as Mr Adjudicator led home a clean sweep of the first four places for team Closutton. Contingency was produced to lead turning for home in the two-and-a-half-mile contest but was pressed going to the last by the top-weight. An untidy jump put Mr Adjudicator on the back foot but he rallied well for Patrick Mullins on the run-in to get on top close home and record a three-parts-of-a-length success at odds of 20/1.
Sunday, we start at Newmarket. Aidan O’Brien completed another Guineas double as Hermosa made just about every yard of the running to win the Qipco 1000 Guineas at Newmarket. It was the fourth time the maestro from Ballydoyle had won both opening Classics of the season, and the second time in three years Wayne Lordan had been the beneficiary after Winter’s success in 2017. By Galileo, there was little doubt Hermosa (14-1) would be found wanting for stamina — and Lordan was happy to make it a real test. Running into the dip, she looked sure to be swamped because Lady Kaya was still on the bridle and Angel’s Hideaway moved up traveling strongly too. Hermosa just kept on finding for pressure, though — and on meeting the rising ground, she began to pull away again. Lady Kaya ran a blinder to be beaten just a length in second, while the 7-2 favorite Qabala stayed on to claim third.
The rest of the Newmarket card saw a double for Mark Johnston with Baghdad and Nayef Road. There was a punt landed by Worth Waiting (15/2 - 3/1) in the Dahlia Stakes for David Lanigan. At Hamilton, there was a double for Iain Jardine with Sioux Frontier and Mearing. At Gowran, Jockey Danny Sheehy doubled up on 33/1 outsider Lady Scathach in the second split of the mile handicap. Sheehy also landed race two on Insane Bolt (7/1). The double paid 271/1.