WARRENPOINT-based Leanne Breen saddled her first winner of 2023 when, by a head in first time blinkers, Betrayed made all to land division two of the six-furlong handicap at Dundalk on Wednesday under 7lb claimer, Robert Whearty.

The five-year-old British-bred mare by Lethal Force was winning for the fourth time in her career, her three previous successes (two at Dundalk over a similar trip and one at Sligo over five and a half furlongs) coming in 2021 when she was in the care of Ado McGuinness.

A real dark bay, Betrayed looked particularly well under the lights at Dundalk Stadium and, no doubt, will do so again on Friday next, January 27th, having been reported fit and well by Breen on Thursday morning. “I was delighted to get off the mark for 2023,” commented the Newry-based trainer. “This mare is as sweet as anything and the more running she gets, the better she’s getting.”

Also on the flat, the Colin Kennedy-bred five-year-old mare Western Beat (Mehmas – Western Sky, by Barathea) notched up her second career success when landing the opening 10-furlong amateur handicap at Newcastle last Friday. On Wednesday at Wolverhampton, the Max Ervine-bred seven-year-old gelding Broughtons Flare (Rip Van Winkle – Purple Glow, by Orientate) brought up win number five in the extended mile handicap.

Brian Hughes hits a 100

BRIAN Hughes, the dual, and reigning, champion jumps jockey in Britain, wrote himself into the history books last Saturday when he became the first rider to partner 100 winners at Wetherby.

His century at the west Yorkshire track came up in the mile, seven-furlong handicap chase when the Donald McCain-trained Richmond Lake justified 5/2 favouritism by five and a half lengths in the colours of the late Trevor Hemmings.

A seven-year-old gelding by Westerner, the winner, who has two hurdle victories to his credit, was racing over fences for just the second time in his track career following his debut at Carlisle in late November.

Hughes’s first success at Wetherby was recorded in December 2005 when he landed a two-mile handicap hurdle on Bob Justice who was making his British debut. Previously trained by the late Dessie Hughes and then Ted Walsh, the Bob Back gelding was having his first start that afternoon for Howard Johnson and owners Graham and Andrea Wylie.


Hughes had a frustrating afternoon at Kelso on Sunday as, from five rides, he partnered four second-placed horses while pulling up his other mount.

Sligo native Derek Fox won the two-mile handicap hurdle at that Scottish fixture on the Lucinda Russell-trained favourite Thereisnodoubt (a son of Tullyraine House’s Giant’s Causeway stallion Primary) while there were wins at Punchestown on Monday for Simon Torrens and Dara McGill.

On the flat, Oisin Orr recorded a double at Chelmsford on Saturday evening and Patsy Cosgrave visited the winner’s enclosure the following afternoon at Meydan.

Even further afield, we were relieved to learn that, while he will be on the sidelines for a long time, Donegal native Martin Harley should make a full recovery from the fractures he suffered in a horror fall at Doomben racecourse in Brisbane last Wednesday week. See page 43 for further details.

Northern points beginning again

POINT-to-point action in the northern region is due to resume next Saturday, January 28th, with the first of two spring meetings being staged by the East Down Foxhounds at Tyrella.

Thirty years ago, there was just the one fixture at the seaside track, that taking place on Saturday, March 13th, when Tony Martin won three of the six races including the open on Joey Kelly. Now training in Derrylin, David Christie looked like landing the winners of two only for his mount, La Greine, to fall in the lead at the last, gifting the race to the Ian Buchanan-ridden Mr Goldfinger.

Ten years later, there were two meetings at Tyrella with the first held on Saturday, February 1st, when there were eight races with divides in the five and six-year-old geldings’ maiden and the seven-year-old and upwards geldings’ maiden.

The bookies had a very bad day but got some relief in division two of the younger geldings’ maiden which was won by Warren Ewing on Holey Moley.

Ten years ago, more or less, on Saturday, February 2nd, the opening mares’ maiden was won by William Thompson on the Westerner bay Onceuponathyme who was trained by Ian Ferguson for Graham and Andrea Wylie who are mentioned elsewhere in this page. Patrick Turley and Ben Crawford recorded a double apiece.