The Racing Week That Was 5/7/20


Monday, we start at Yarmouth. It was three wins on the spin for Alphabetical who is a real Sir Mark Prescott improver. At Windsor, there was a double for Richard Hannon with Fromnowon and Theotherside. At Thirsk, Zim Baby bolted up by seven lengths for Michael Appleby. At Limerick, Wajaaha landed the mother and father of gamble in the last race for Charles Byrnes and Sean Davis. At Kilbeggan, Rock Road landed the feature race for Willie Mullins.


Tuesday, we start at DoncasterWentworth Falls provided a much-needed boost for trainer Geoff Harker with a decisive victory.  Revolver made it 3 wins on the spin for Sir Mark Prescott. At Musselburgh, Bal Mal made it three wins in a week for John Quinn. It was good news for our members. One bet today for our members 2pts Win Double Bal Mal 215 Musselburgh (4/6) won Revolver 505 Doncaster (5/6) both won. We finished June with a 49.5 Points profit.

The meeting at Leicester went ahead in controversial circumstances with the city placed in Lockdown. I do not think this was a great move by racing, many trainers agreed with that view. Oakham trainer Mick Appleby criticised the decision to allow Tuesday’s evening meeting at Leicester to go ahead after withdrawing his three intended runners due to safety concerns. The fixture got the green following morning consultation between local health authorities and the British Horseracing Authority. Appleby, whose stables are just 20 miles from the racecourse at Oadby, fancied his chances of a winner but felt it was not “worth the risk”.“I don’t think the meeting should have been allowed to go ahead,” he said.“You don’t know who has been at the racecourse in the last few weeks, working there and so forth. I don’t think it’s safe.“The owners have agreed. I’d have had two favourites there and probably two winners. What would happen in a couple of days if someone who attends the meeting tests positive (for coronavirus)? Your yard would end up going into lockdown.“I just don’t think it’s worth the risk. It would have made common sense to call the meeting off. It’s not doing racing any favours whatsoever.” Fellow trainers Alan King and Graeme McPherson also withdrew their horses for similar reasons. Leicester is due to race again next week it will be interesting to see how it pans out.


Wednesday, we start at Leopardstown. Jockey Ben Coen registered the biggest success of his career as he triumphed aboard Know It All in the Derrinstown Stud Fillies Stakes. Michael Halford and Ronan Whelan teamed up to land the Amethyst Stakes with the Aga Khan’s home-bred colt Sinawann. I thought Dalvey ran a brilliant race for our friends at Hilltop. It was three wins on the spin for Reverberation who got up late on for winning Galaxy jockey Gavin Ryan. There was a treble for Shane Foley on the card. The horses were Cadillac, Aesop and Airgead. It turned out to be a brilliant start to July for our members. It was 3 bets 3 winners Reverberation 555 Leopardstown (1pt each way) 4/1, Airgead 800 Leopardstown (1pt each way) 11/1 won 0.5pt each-way double.

Jump racing returned in the UK. Olly Murphy’s four-timer outdid champion trainer Paul Nicholls as both made a flying start on the resumption of British jumps racing at Southwell. At Tipperary, the stewards took action against trainer Emmet Mullins and jockey Brian Hayes in the opening race and the pair later landed a 'right touch' for followers of Pilbara, which romped to victory in the second division of the MansionBet Best Odds Guaranteed Handicap Hurdle. It was Four winners on the day for Jessica Harrington two jumping winners at Tipperary and two on the flat at Leopardstown.


Thursday, we start at Bellewstown. Mokhalad was in action. Mokhalad went into this on the back of a brilliant win at Naas on 20-6-20. Mokhalad also had won this very race at Bellewstown last year settling it with a brilliant turn of foot for a comprehensive win on the night. So we were hopeful going into it. The syndicate is in a great moment right now the mood in the camp is great. The rhythm of a lot of racing has the group energized. We have the momentum we are looking to build on that. Mokhalad had done well since Naas. I got to spend 20 minutes with him on my own on Monday for the first time since lockdown. He was bright, bucking and in good form.  Mokhalad gave his all at Bellewstown he like many others in the race could not get to the front runners. If Gavin Ryan had his time over he probably would have wanted to be a bit closer. Gavin tried to replicate the winning ride of Chris Hayes last year in this contest. This was a different type of race and the time two seconds faster than the one we won last year.

The winner Lord Rapscallion was very good on the day, he brought strong form into the race beating Big Baby Bull last time out. Mokhalad ran on well but the bird had flown no excuses that is the game, he will go on to Navan now. In a sliding doors moment, Lord Rapscallion was the other horse who starred in the "This is our Team " advert for Horse Racing Ireland a few years back. Lord Rapscallion did one advert and Mokhalad the other in the campaign small world. It was not to be for Mokhalad today at Bellewstown. Congratulations to the owners of Lord Rapscallion on a fine victory, also congratulations to Nikita Amelia Kane on her first winner as a jockey.

At Bellewston the good run for our members continued One bet for the members today it was a winner Inflection Point 100 Bellewstown (2pts win) 11/4 won. There was a double for Joseph O'Brien with Pretty Gorgeous and Snapraeterea. At Sligo, Sicario took the feature race under Ronan Whelan.


Friday, we start at Navan. We were down to have three runners.  Lottieloveheart was the first reserve, however, she did not get in. It was up to Stanhope and Trading Point to carry our flag. The two horses are always linked bought at the same sale. Stanhope is now trained by John McConnell and Trading Point is with Damian English. For a syndicate, our size and working within our resources to have three runners listed on the card felt like a nice moment. We also felt after a winter of evolution to have the three runners with three different trainers was what we had set out to do.

Stanhope was having his second run for John McConnell. This looked a good opportunity ourselves and John had this race eyed up if we did not make the frame last Sunday. We were delighted with the way Stanhope had in the Rockingham, we expected him to improve for it. We were top-weight, it was a competitive race, however nothing to frighten Stanhope. Our horse has a lot of ability as well as a bit of class. Stanhope came out of Sunday well, obviously, there was a risk in running soon after a run. Stanhope has been through a lot in the last ten months, he is a great soldier. We expected Stanhope to go very close tonight, he was, without any doubt in our minds, our best chance of a winner in this spell of races. John McConnell decided to stick with Rory Cleary. We were delighted with this decision. Rory rode our first winner as a syndicate on Mokhalad. Rory of course also won on Alfirak on his only win. In the history of the syndicate, both of these nights are so treasured. Rory was the man, we have never forgotten that fact and we never will.

We backed Stanhope at double-figure prices, then waited to see what unfolded. Stanhope delivered at Navan to land a nice touch for ourselves. Under a well-judged ride from Rory Cleary. Stanhope did what we hoped he could. Stanhope is a genuine Galaxy hero winning his third race. We are delighted for John McConnell and his team. They have worked brilliantly with Stanhope. Siobhan Rutledge has played a big role in Stanhope settling in, thank you, Siobhan. For us who own Stanhope, it was an incredible night, ten months on the sidelines. Dark days, worrying times all washed away, strong faith rewarded.  We did right by Stanhope. It takes courage to stick by a horse. We showed courage with Stanhope it was rewarded our number one priority is our horses' welfare. We have genuine affection for all our horses. We care deeply about them all.

Stanhope was very good on the night. Rory Cleary gave us a ring after the race it was brilliant to speak to Rory he was his usual bubbly good fun self. John McConnell was on to us as well a job well done, a plan brilliantly executed. John gave a very nice interview afterwards shining the light on others which is of course very gracious. The fact is we gave John McConnel a horse in recovery from surgery. The horse was in good condition when John got him, however, you still have to go get the result. John McConnell did that it was brilliant.  Since racing resumed we have a 23% strike rate with 3 winners. Our three trainers Leanne Breen, Damian English and John McConnell have all produced a winner each. We thank them and all the support teams for our horses sincerely. This was our vision during the winter three trainers striving for success on our behalf. They are three very different people, however, they are three very talented people.

Stanhope as one of our horses hasn't got the following say Mokhalad has. Stanhope is, however, the real deal himself. In thirteen runs Stanhope has won three and placed three times. The road ahead is there for Stanhope. With his physical problems a thing of the past there is more to come from Stanhope. A potential clash on Thursday at Navan with Mokhalad is a possibility. This is not something as a team we fear we will savour it. We will never mind our horses taking each other on. It is a competitive sport we want to compete for winners. Those decisions will be made by John McConnell and Damian English ultimately.

After recovering from Stanhope's triumph it was on to Trading Point our highest-rated horse. Trading Point has carried the burden of expectation following his brilliant second in the Irish Lincoln at Naas on debut for us. Whenever Trading Point races we know he is capable of something brilliant. Trading Point raced in the feature race it was a hot race with huge prizemoney. Trading Point always has a tough assignment due to being rated 92. Trading Point is in our eyes a wonderful racehorse. We think the world of him. He worked well during the week. Peter Casey his faithful work rider, was very happy with Trading Point. He ran well at Leopardstown last time out despite sustaining a cut as well as getting a haymaker of a bump early on. Trading Point went up in trip here. We believed he could stay the extra tip we, of course, couldn't be certain before the race. We also believed Navan would suit him. Trading Point went well at a racecourse gallop at Navan last year. The recent rain was a help. The long straight at Navan would allow us to creep into contention we hoped. We had Colin Keane to aid our cause he knows the horse well. Patrick Sarsfield looked a very good horse, he walloped us at Leopardstown. This was a different day. We believe in our horse and we were looking forward to running him. In the end, Patrick Sarsfield confirmed his tall reputation winning the race well. It was not all bad news for ourselves

Trading Point ran a brilliant race for a long way. Colin Keane was delighted with him. We had a stamina doubt going into the race there is no doubt now Trading Point did not stay the extra distance. There is no shame in that we had to try. We will bring Trading Point back in trip at Galway. Our horse has a lot of talent and for much of the race looked like he would be involved. Trading Point has still much to play for in 2020. Colin Keane gave great feedback as well as a suggested plan .The team at Grougha and ourselves agree with this plan. We will cross the Shannon next to Galway with Trading Point, we will look forward to that hoping Trading Point can show his undoubted quality on the big stage at Galway. That is up to the team at Grougha Stables to peak Trading Point for his next important target.


Saturday, it was Derby day at Epsom along with the OaksSerpentine sprang a 25-1 surprise as he made all for a famous victory in the Investec Derby at Epsom. One of six runners for Aidan O’Brien – who was winning the race for an incredible eighth time – Serpentine only shed his maiden tag at the third time of asking last weekend. What happened here caused much debate. Aidan O'Brien saddled six in the premier Classic — but it was Emmet McNamara's mount who prevailed.

Serpentine appeared to be employed to help set the pace at the head of affairs, but the field allowed him to build up a huge lead and he was still well clear at Tattenham Corner, with Khalifa Sat and fellow O’Brien runner Amhran Na Bhfiann sitting in second and third. The main players were all trying to make their move in behind, but the winner had flown, coming home five and a half lengths clear, to give O’Brien a record eighth win in the race.

Khalifa Sat took second at 50-1, with Amrhan Na Bhfiann third at 66-1, ahead of 5-2 favourite Kameko in fourth and fifth-placed English King. Aidan O'Brien said: "We try to give each horse the best chance of winning and ride them all accordingly."This horse (Serpentine) made the running last time and was very happy to go forward if nobody else wanted to. He won a maiden very impressively and he ran through the line over a mile and a quarter at the Curragh — to do that you have to have class."We all watched the race together at home and Donnacha (O’Brien, son) said after five furlongs 'Emmet wins here'. He was in front and there was no one going to challenge him — he was not going to stop."Emmet gave him a brilliant ride and judged the pace well."On setting a new record for Derby victories, he added: “We’re so delighted, but we’re in a privileged position to have such unbelievable horses and to work for and with such special people.

I am not being wise after the event something like this was inevitable at some point. These well-bred Galileo horses always have the potential to stay going. It happened with Sovereign in last years Irish Derby the cautionary tale was there to be seen. I did not think it looked a great race beforehand. I certainly did not want to have a bet in it. Having watched it back I suspect Serpentine might be better then he is getting credit for. I also think some of the TV pundits carried on ridiculous Derby or no Derby its a horse race this stuff happens.  Emmet McNamara did look slightly stunned, however, it is a lot to take in for anyone. I also wish the media would stop calling these talented Ballydoyle based jockeys, work riders. These lads can ride otherwise they would not be at Ballydoyle. They have opted to take a salary for working at Ballydoyle, knowing they will be riding the best of horses in the best of facilities. There is nothing wrong with that, it certainly does not diminish the ability of them as jockeys. They have opted to avoid the grind of fighting for a very limited number of rides in Ireland.

The Oaks was a special performance. Love made it a Classic double as she ran right away with the Investec Oaks at Epsom. Winner of the 1000 Guineas for Aidan O'Brien and Ryan Moore last month, Love was sent off the 11-10 favourite to follow up over 12 furlongs. Love was ridden with restraint by Moore in the early stages, as stablemate Passion and outsider Tiempo Vuela set the early gallop, with the pair pulling well clear of the field until the home turn. However, Love could be noted making her move around three furlongs out and while main market rival Frankly Darling tried to follow her, the winner had far too much pace. She shot clear in the final quarter-mile to eventually come home nine lengths clear of fellow O’Brien runner Ennistymon, with Frankly Darling back in third for Frankie Dettori. Moore said: "She was exceptional today. We’ve always thought she’s very good and she proved that in the Guineas, but today she’s taken a step forward.“Almost her best furlong was her last furlong. She’s got a great temperament and I don’t think she could have been any more impressive.“You never expect to win an Oaks by that far - I don’t know how far she won, but it felt like a very long way. My view is Love is simply a brilliant Filly this was an amazing performance


Sunday, The Coral-Eclipse took centre stage at Sandown.  Ghaiyyath wrested away Enable’s Coral-Eclipse crown with a relentless front-running victory at Sandown. Charlie Appleby’s remorseless galloper led after the first furlong and was never headed as he added his second successive Group One following last month’s success in the Coronation Cup at Newmarket. Enable, having her first run of the campaign and absent since finishing a gallant second in last year’s Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, was held up off the pace by Frankie Dettori and could never get to the winner — eventually finishing a two-and-a-quarter-length runner-up.

At Fairyhouse, it was a day to remember for our friends at Hilltop. Lincoln got the seventh win of his career when taking the finale. It was a double on the card for Sceptical’s owner James McAuley, having owned and trained 20/1 winner Timemakesitfine earlier on the card. It was James first winner since taking out his licence again. Congratulations lads, the best of luck in the build-up with Sceptical as he bids to win the July Cup at Newmarket on Saturday. Speak In Colours is thriving on a busy schedule and readily won the feature Ballycorus Stakes for Joseph O’Brien and Shane Crosse. Racing for the fourth weekend in a row proved no problem for Joseph O'Brien's charge. At Cork, Snow won the Munster Oaks. This completed a good day for our members. With three bets Charlie Bassett 355 Fairyhouse (1pt each way) 5/1 placed Snow 515 Cork (1pt each way) 7/2 won 0.5pt each-way double placed. Finally winning Galaxy jockey and all-round gentleman Chris Hayes rode a 965/1 four-timer at Cork.