APOLOGIES for missing this earlier in the month but congratulations to Downpatrick-born property investor David Maxwell who was one of seven new members elected to the Jockey Club following its winter meeting.

Best known to readers as an enthusiastic, able and very fit Corinthian with a wonderful turn of phrase, Maxwell has ridden over 70 winners under rules and over 40 between the flags.

He was champion amateur over jumps in Britain for the 2019/’20 season with 15 wins to his credit and in 2018/’19 when he partnered 18 winners.

Also elected to the Jockey Club at the same time was Simon Munir who, in partnership with Isaac Souede, is one of the leading NH owners with horses carrying their ‘double green’ colours to victory in Ireland, Britain and France.

The most recent in this country is the Willie Mullins-trained It’s For Me who, on his first racecourse start, justified odds-on favouritism by 10 lengths in the bumper at Navan last Saturday and, at time of writing, is favourite for the Weatherbys Champion Bumper at the Cheltenham Festival.

A first winner in Ireland for his sire Jeu St Eloi (a son of Saint Des Saints), It’s For Me landed a four-year-old geldings’ maiden at Loughanmore last April when trained for the same owners by Stuart Crawford whose brother Ben was in the saddle.

Third in Saturday’s bumper, a further one and three-parts of a length adrift, was another racecourse newcomer, the Tom Gibney-trained Ballystone.

In common with It’s For Me, this five-year-old Shirocco gelding had just the one start between the flags when finishing second under Noel McParlan to the then Crawford-trained Kinbara in a four-year-old maiden at Broughshane.

At that time, early May, Ballystone was trained by Colin McKeever for Wilson Dennison but, shortly afterwards, was consigned to Goffs UK’s Spring Sale at Doncaster where he was knocked down to Gibney for £120,000.


What didn’t win at Navan on Saturday was my Nap, the Michael Mulvany-trained Gold Haven, in the two and a half-mile handicap hurdle.

Beaten a short-head, the 25/1 shot was ridden by Sam Ewing who partnered a lot of placed horses during the week including the Gordon Elliott-trained Dunboyne who, again at odds of 25/1, was beaten a short-head into second in the Goffs Thyestes Handicap Chase at Gowran on Thursday.

While this was a very frustrating result for Sam (who also got five days for his use of the whip), we should note that the winner, Carefully Selected, was purchased by his trainer, Willie Mullins, and Culcavy bloodstock agent Harold Kirk at Tattersalls Cheltenham May Sale in 2017 for £100,000.

The Well Chosen gelding had at that stage won a Monksgrange maiden under Katie Walsh on his second start between the flags.