THE good news story of the week was undoubtedly the win of Wesley Joyce aboard Trueba in Division 1 of the Follow Us On Social Media Handicap at Cork on Wednesday afternoon. It was a first success for the young Limerick jockey since returning to race-riding last month after over a year out following serious injury.
Joyce produced the John Linehan-owned gelding with a well-timed run to win by a neck at odds of 9/2. He later said: “It’s been a while coming. I’ve been hitting the crossbar and in the past three or four weeks, I’ve had three or four seconds and a couple of thirds. I was thinking when was the winner going to come! Trueba gave me a winner early in my career, in Limerick, so he’s been a good servant for me and thanks to Eddie (Linehan, trainer), the team, and to everyone here for the support.
“Since the fall, the journey has been hard but to come back riding, that’s all I ever wanted to do. I just want to keep riding and whatever happens, happens. I’m so grateful to be here riding, especially riding a winner.”
Division 2 of the Follow Us On Social Media Handicap produced an even tighter finish, with Rock Dandy making all to just last home by a nose. The Jamie Powell ridden 8/1 chance was successful in the colours of owner David Webb. Winning trainer Pat Murphy reported: “He ran a good race in Roscommon two runs ago when I told Jamie to give him a little breather because I thought seven (furlongs) might stretch him. Afterwards Jamie felt he should have stayed going on him so stuck to that plan today. The blinkers kept him honest and got the extra bit out of him. We’re hoping he can build confidence now and win again.”
COLIN Keane extended his lead at the head of the Jockeys’ Championship with a double on the card. The first came via Van Demon in the opening Newmarket Maiden. After making all aboard the Mrs Patricia Hunt-owned 7/2 shot, Keane kept on to score by close to two lengths. The champion jockey subsequently reported: “He has improved with each run, he had a nice draw today, the ground was lovely and it was very straightforward. Nobody really wanted to go on and he relaxes anywhere you put him. He saves plenty for himself because he relaxes, gets this trip well and was due to do that today. If anything came to him I think he would have picked up again. He is fairly versatile distance-wise and he is just improving with his racing.”
The second leg of Keane’s brace came through Gypsy Woman in the featured Irish Stallion Farms EBF Fillies Handicap. Leading after two furlongs, the Meath man made the rest aboard the 11/4 favourite who won by one and a half lengths for owners Clipper Logistics Group Ltd. Shane Lyons said: “She is the filly we thought she was and is twice the filly that ran here in May. She shows us plenty of toe at home, she has a big long stride on her and hence we made the mistake of dropping her back in trip for the Scurry (Handicap) – she was never quick enough for that.
“She likes nice ground, doesn’t want it quicker than that and wants a galloping track. Steven (Parkin, owner) has been excellent and patient and given us the time we want with her. We always thought she was a blacktype filly and I’d be very confident she’d get blacktype, whether at the end of this year or next.”
STARRY Eyed was another winner to make all on the day, keeping on strongly under Seamie Heffernan to land the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Fillies & Mares Maiden by a length and a half. The Aidan O’Brien trained 8/13 favourite carried the familiar silks of owners Westerberg and the Coolmore partners.
Chris Armstrong, Ballydoyle representative, said: “She is a lovely filly but has taken a bit of time to come to hand. She had a very good run in a very strong maiden at the Curragh the last day and Seamus gave her a straightforward ride today. A mile and a quarter is probably her trip, we’ll step her up and look for blacktype now. She has a hell of a pedigree, she is very good physically and will be one for the broodmare shed - if we can get blacktype it’ll be even better.”
Ameerat Jumaira followed up her Killarney win with a decisive success by over two lengths in the CorkRacecourse.ie Rated Race. Despite being sent off at 8/1, the Isa Bin Haider-owned filly had so much in hand jockey Ronan Whelan could afford to ease her down close home. Trainer Michael Halford reported: “She’s a lovely placid filly but she’s fierce green. She’s probably better suited to going left-handed but I couldn’t find a race for her.
“She wasn’t an ideal candidate to be drawn on the wide outside, but Ronan rode her particularly well. She’s tall and weak but she’s getting her act together. She’s getting her head in front, which is the important thing, and you’d say that she has the size and scope that if the owners were thinking of keeping her in training for next year, there might be even more to come.”
Elsa’s Pride was the longest priced winner on the card when leading close home under Andrew Slattery to land the Mallow Handicap by half a length. The 25/1 outsider carried the colours of owner Sir Francis Brooke. Brooke, the King’s representative at Royal Ascot and chair of Ascot’s Racecourse Company, added: “We bought the mare in-foal to Roaring Lion, she was an early foal but had a few problems and wasn’t able to run as a two-year-old. Dick Brabazon had her (in pre-training) and got her straight before she was sent to Fozzy. We previously had Pita Pinta with Fozzy, who won three times, and the colours were my late grandmother Mabel Arnott’s, who was a Cork lady. The colours were registered before World War I.”