Captain Guinness related to Celtic Shot

CAPTAIN Guinness went one better than last year and stole the honours in Wednesday’s feature, the Queen Mother Champion Chase, yet again catapulting Rachael Blackmore and Henry de Bromhead into the limelight. This must be the trainer’s favourite race, as it was his fourth winner of the contest.

More than anything, it was a joy to see this victory for owner Declan Landy. He and his family and friends will celebrate this success for some time. It was a first victory for Captain Guinness since he landed the Grade 2 Fortria Chase at Navan for the second year running back in November. Between those two wins he was runner-up in three Grade 1 chases.

Bred by Arthur Fennelly, Captain Guinness is a son of the sprinter/miler Arakan who stood at Ballyhane Stud, but from a female line that has left its mark on National Hunt racing. He is the best runner in the family since the Grade 1 Champion Hurdle winner Celtic Shot (Celtic Cone) some four decades ago.

Now winner of seven races and some £540,000, Captain Guinness has won five times in blacktype races, adding a pair of Grade 3 wins at Naas to his Grade 1 and 2 successes. He has also placed a number of times at Grade 1 level, including the Arkle Trophy Chase at Cheltenham.

Captain Guinness is one of a pair of multiple track winners out of his dam, the other being Brookie (Policy Maker), while his full-brother Captain Broomfield (Arakan) won a point-to-point. At last year’s Goffs Arkle Sale agent J.D. Moore bought a three-year-old full-sister to Brookie for €54,000.

A half-brother to Captain Guinness’s dam Presenting D’Azy (Presenting), Jerrysback won the Listed Summer Cup Chase at Uttoxeter for J.P. McManus. Twice runner-up in Grade 2 novice chases, this was his sixth time to visit a winners’ enclosure, once at a point-to-point, twice over hurdles and the rest of his successes have come over fences.

Celtic Shot

Back for a moment to Celtic Shot. Owned and bred by David Horton, the gelding made his mark as both a top-class hurdler and chaser, regularly partnered by Peter Scudamore, and he beat Classical Charm when winning the 1988 Champion Hurdle. Fred Winter trained him for his hurdling career, while Charlie Brooks looked after his chasing career.

In total, Celtic Shot won eight races over hurdles and nine races over fences, and other big race wins included the Grade 2 Charlie Hall Chase twice, and he also placed in both the Grade 1 Champion Hurdle and Aintree Hurdle.

Bobby McCarthy over the Moon with Ballyburn

THE undisputed Cheltenham King, Willie Mullins had a second treble on Wednesday, took his tally of wins at the Festival to 100, and opened and closed the day with Grade 1 wins.

Twenty years ago, at the Goffs Land Rover Sale, Bobby McCarthy spent €7,000 to purchase a three-year-old daughter of Old Vic (Sadler’s Wells) out of the unraced Moon Storm (Strong Gale).

He took the filly, Old Moon, back to The Beeches Stud and she was covered weeks after by Flemensfirth (Alleged). This proved to be a winning formula, responsible for a long list of winning offspring. Old Moon had 13 foals by him in 15 years, and it was one of the last who is the best.

Ballyburn is the twelfth produce of Old Moon, her sixth winner on the racecourse, and now winner of the Grade 1 Brave Inca Novice Hurdle at Leopardstown, and the Grade 1 opener on Wednesday. He was found as a foal by Ian Ferguson for €80,000 at the 2018 Tattersalls Ireland November Sale.

By then two of the colt’s full-brothers had blacktype, Noble Endeavor (Flemensfirth) as a Grade 2 chase winner, while Minella Daddy (Flemensfirth) was placed in a few listed chases.

Seven of Old Moon’s siblings were winners, Warden Hill (Presenting) being the best of them. He was runner-up in the Grade 1 Feltham Novice Chase. They are out of the unraced Moon Storm (Strong Gale), and that mare was a daughter of Luminous Run (Deep Run). The latter mare had three winning offspring, while her grandson Tully East (Shantou) won at the Cheltenham Festival.

French Fact

Fact To File added the Grade 1 Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase to his bloodless Dublin Racing Festival Grade 1 win, and added to his owner’s Cheltenham haul. JP McManus’ achievements as a National Hunt owner will never be bettered.

Bred by Michel Pehu, Fact To File is a son of Poliglote (Sadler’s Wells) and cost Donnchadh Doyle €40,000 as a yearling at Arqana. After he won his point-to-point, he was runner-up to A Dream To Share last year in the Grade 1 Weatherbys Champion Bumper. A hurdling career was bypassed, with justification, and a defeat to American Mike on his chasing debut has been followed by three wins.

The best of three winners from his unplaced Trempolino (Sharpen Up) dam, Fact To File is the second blacktype winner in his family for a few generations. The only other nestles in the third dam.

Crawford graduate

The Mullins finale came in the Grade 1 Weatherbys Champion Bumper, won by Jasmin De Vaux.

Bought by the Crawford Brothers for €28,000 only at the Goffs Land Rover Sale, he moved to Closutton after winning his only point-to-point, and is now unbeaten on both of his bumper runs.

Jasmin De Vaux is already the best performer for his listed-winning sire Tirwanako (Sin Kiang), whose handful of other blacktype performers include Grade 2 hurdle winner Adrimel, and Gabynako who was runner-up in both the Grade 1 Arkle Challenge Trophy Novices’ Chase and Drinmore Novice Chase).

Jasmin De Vaux is one of three winners out of the twice-raced Que Du Charmil (Grand Seigneur).

Skelton pair found at Fairyhouse

TWELVE months ago, connections of Langer Dan, winner of the £100,000 Coral Cup, said that a love of Cheltenham was the main reason for the seven-year-old gelding’s improvement in form. He has shown little since, but stormed to a repeat win in the race this year.

Bred by Hugh O’Connor, and sold at Tattersalls Ireland as a foal for €12,000 to Ballinaroon Stud, this was Langer Dan’s sixth hurdle win, and five have been in blacktype races. These wins come in the Grade 3 Imperial Cup Hurdle at Sandown, two edition of the Grade 3 Coral Cup Hurdle, the Grade 3 Aintree Handicap Hurdle, and the Listed Weatherbys Wensleydale Juvenile Hurdle at Wetherby.

Langer Dan, a son of Ocovango (Monsun), gave his sire the perfect start as a National Hunt stallion when the Dan Skelton-trained gelding won at Wetherby, and along with Grade 1 winner Champ Kiely he is the best of the winners to date for the sire who is now at Alne Park Stud.

He is the son of an unraced Milan (Sadler’s Wells) half-sister to the Grade 1 Punchestown Festival winner Klept (Great Palm) and listed hurdle winner Welsh Shadow (Robin Des Champs). Their dam What A Mewsment (Persian Mews) is a full-sister to Grade 2 Betfair Bowl winner Celestial Gold, and half-sister to dual Grade 1 winning hurdler Fiveforthree (Arzanni).

Doubled up

The Skeltons doubled up with the Gilles Forien-bred Unexpected Party in the Grand Annual. The nine-year-old grey son of Martaline (Linamix) was a €48,000 yearling purchase at Arqana by Five Star Bloodstock and a €155,000 Derby Sale buy by Tom Malone.

He has won twice each over hurdles and fences and placed in the Grade 1 Henry VIII Novices’ Chase at Sandown Park.

Unexpected Party is the best of six winners from Reform Act (Lemon Drop Kid). She visited top flat stallions before having her focus changed to jumps. Reform Act raced for Joe Higgins when trained in Ireland by Dermot Weld, and she won the Listed Give Thanks Stakes at Cork.