THREE other North of Ireland-based trainers sent out winners in the past eight days, starting last Friday week at Fairyhouse where the James Lambe-trained Ever Rock landed the six-furlong handicap under Seamie Heffernan.
This was a sixth career success for the six-year-old Society Rock mare and her third victory in the red and black colours of Armagh’s Richie Behan, a staunch supporter of the Lambe yard, who was on hand to greet his winner.
With just a neck between them at the line, it wasn’t too surprising to see the Stuart Crawford-trained Island Mahee being promoted to first following a lengthy stewards’ enquiry into an incident on the bend turning for home in Cartmel’s two-mile, one-furlong mares’ maiden hurdle on Saturday.
Another winner for owner-breeder, Elizabeth ‘Hammy’ Hamilton, the eight-year-old Doyen mare is the fourth of eight foals out of the Bob Back mare Lough Coyne who is dam of one other track winner, the 2017 Getaway gelding Henry Box Brown. This is the family of Mendip Express, Fiddling The Facts, etc.
On Sunday at Kelso, the Gerald Quinn-trained, Noel McParlan-ridden Cirque Royal justified odds-on favouritism by five lengths in the opening two-mile novices’ hurdle. This was a second win in the month of May for Philip McBurney’s six-year-old Cape Cross gelding following his maiden success at Perth.
The two-mile handicap hurdle at that Kelso meeting was won by the Karl Thornton-trained Rich Belief. This five-year-old Make Believe gelding is owned by Ivon Keeling who, at one-time, rode regularly on the northern point-to-point circuit and was regional champion in 1983.
Co Sligo-born jockey Derek Fox rode a winner on the same card as did Downpatrick’s Danny McMcMenamin while Brian Hughes was on the mark at Uttoxeter.
Staying over jumps, Simon Torrens continues to record successes at home, visiting the winner’s enclosure once at Limerick last Friday and twice at Ballinrobe on Tuesday.
On the level, there were wins for Co Sligo’s Darragh Keenan at Yarmouth last Thursday week and at Salisbury on Saturday while Co Tyrone-born Barry McHugh scored at Carlisle and at Thirsk on Tuesday.
Of more interest however were the wins notched up at Ayr on Monday and at Ripon on Wednesday for Co Donegal native Oisin Orr as these were both for Co Louth-born, north Yorkshire-based Richard Fahey who this week parted company with longtime jockey Paul Hanagan.
On the breeding front, there was a Group 3 success at Haydock on Saturday for the Thomas Foy-bred Pogo. Trained by Charlie Hills and ridden by Kieran Shoemark, the six-year-old Zebedee horse made all over the seven-furlong trip to record his sixth career success. He is out of the Diktat mare Cute.