Lawlor’s Of Naas Novice Hurdle (Grade 1)

BEATEN at odds-on in the Royal Bond Hurdle, Champ Kiely bounced right back to stamp himself as a top class novice when leading from the start to finish in the Grade 1 Lawlor’s Of Naas Novice Hurdle at Naas on Sunday.

Owned by Michael and Margaret Masterson, Champ Kiely’s win owed plenty to another masterful front-running ride from Danny Mullins, who dictated the pace perfectly on Willie Mullins’ gelding and held enough in reserve to see off Irish Point in second, with the J.P. McManus-owned pair of Dawn Rising and Inothewayurthinkin back in third and fourth.

Frustratingly, the two flights in the straight were omitted due to the low-lying sun, which the winning rider would later suggest was more of a hindrance than a help to him. That made sense because Champ Kiely hurdled fluently in the main though he did have a tendancy to hang to his right.

It was noticeable that Mullins allowed him something of a breather as they came out of the back straight. That stacked the field up again as they turned for home, but Champ Kiely looked in control, and with the exception of Irish Point and Jordan Gainford, deputising for the injured Jack Kennedy, everything was in trouble in behind.

The jumping was done from here, and hard as the runner-up tried on the stands’ side, he couldn’t peg back Champ Kiely, who had two and a quarter lengths to spare in the end. He was greeted by an overjoyed groom Emilie Siegle.

This race is usually a fine trial for the Ballymore, with two of its previous three winners scoring in that contest at Cheltenham, and Champ Kiely’s prices for that contest ranged between 5/1 and 8/1 on Sunday evening.

With the winning trainer away on holidays, assistant David Casey was on hand to reflect.

“I’d say tactically the race didn’t work out for him in Fairyhouse, he went back to what he’s good at today,” he said. “I’d say the step up in trip was a help as well as the soft ground. Danny gave him a great ride and said he was very happy with him.

“You know he was tough to battle it out up the straight and I think he would be better with the two hurdles in.

“I’d say he could go either trip. Tactically I don’t think we got it right with him in Fairyhouse over two, and back over two and a half today, he made the running.”


Irish Point ran a fine race but had to settle for another Grade 1 second, but alongside the winner, he gave the Royal Bond form a really solid look - Barry Connell will likely have been pleased for the winner of that contest, Marine Nationale.

The disappointment of the race was the favourite, Grangeclare West, who seemed to travel strongly before cutting out in the straight, eventually finishing fifth.

Paul Townend reported: “I was disappointed. I was out of the race so early. If I had have beaten from the the last, I’d have thought we weren’t good enough but I was out of it way before that.”

The horse was examined by the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board Veterinary Officer at the request of the stewards and was reported to be blowing hard post race and coughing.

Telme defies poor jumping display to win again

THE opening Irish Stallion Farms EBF Mares Beginners Chase saw a return to the winners enclosure for Telmesomethinggirl, who scored in spite of an unconvincing round of jumping.

From the beginning of this two-and-a-half-mile contest, it was between the two market leaders, with Instit and Paul Townend leading Telmesomethinggirl and Rachael Blackmore, and the pair establishing a healthy lead.

Telmesomethinggirl took over the lead as they passed the stands, but relinquished it again with a slow jump at the six and then proceeded to jump carefully down the back.

Rachael Blackmore still had her upsides Instit into the straight, and Henry de Bromhead’s mare just about jumped the last two fences better than her main rival, before gradually establishing a clear advantage after the last.

She was left unchanged at 14/1 with most firms for the Mares Chase at Cheltenham and she’ll certainly have to jump a lot better than she did here, though there was an excuse in the offing from connections.

Wonderful jumper

Peter Molony, racing manager to the owner Kenny Alexander, said: “It’s her first win in two years so it’s great to get her head in front again.

At home, Henry and Davy (Roche) have reported that she’s a wonderful jumper but she seemed to have a nasty overreach when she came back in there so that might have had something to do with it. We’ll get her checked out and see.”

The Adare Manor Opportunity Handicap Hurdle had a clear-cut winner in Cadatharla, who seemed to be attractively handicapped off a mark of 109 prior to the race and that’s how it panned out.

The J.P. McManus-owned five-year-old stuck out in parade ring beforehand, he’s a big and tall horse, and he travelled well in mid division for Aidan Kelly throughout. As they came into the straight, it was clear he was travelling much better than anything else but he slight scare when he fluffed at the last.

Kelly got him going then and he picked up nicely to go five and a half lengths clear from the long-time leader Justicialism in second.

Earlier the Edward O’Grady-trained Shakeytry took the Race And Stay Handicap Chase over two miles.

The 11-year-old was backed from 4/1 into 3/1 on course and provided Glebeland Farm Partnership with a fourth win.

Ridden by Phillip Enright, Shakeytry travelled in behind the front-running Indiana Jones, and jumped the second last alongside that rival before assuming the lead and kicking on to win by eight lengths from Kildorrery.

The owner partnership is made up of Michael Lowry and Martin ‘Shakey’ Troy who has been working with O’Grady for 45 years.

Mastersons Appreciate their big day in the sun

ON a red-letter day for the Masterson family, their Appreciate It made it two from two over fences in the two-mile Rathmore Stud Irish EBF Novice Chase but sadly the race was marred by a fatal injury sustained by Top Bandit, who fell heavily at the sixth fence, in an incident which also saw Jack Kennedy suffer a fractured led

Kennedy was taken to Tallaght Hospital for further assessment and his injury was confirmed on Monday. He was due to see a surgeon again during the week.

The race looked a straightforward task for the Willie Mullins-trained winner, and it worked out that way, as he made all the running for Paul Townend, fencing well in the main, if a little bit to his left early on, before pulling 21 lengths clear of runner-up Gaelic Arc in the straight.

Assistant trainer David Casey commented: “Paul said he was grand, he did everything right but he would have preferred something in front of him to learn a bit more. But he has loads of experience. Pat Doyle had him point-to-pointing, he’s jumped more fences than we’ve had hot dinners.

“I’d imagine he’ll get an entry for Leopardstown. I don’t know if there is much for him after that. Like all our winter horses, if the ground in Leopardstown was too dry, maybe he wouldn’t pitch up, but we’ll see.”

Hunters Yarn made it a treble for Willie Mullins when he won in a similar style to his stablemate when landing the INH Stallion Owners EBF Maiden Hurdle.

This was very easy for Paul Townend in front, with the Simon Munir and Isaac Souede-owned winner always travelling strongly. He held a comfortable advantage heading into the straight and went on to win by 13 lengths from Barry Connell’s Quirke’s Gate.


The closing Fifty Stars Standing At Sunnyhill Stud Flat Race is often an informative contest as the first four-year-old bumper of the year, and it produced a nice winner in Paul Nolan’s Cut The Rope.

He was yet another front-running winner on the card, with Eoin O’Brien, who won this race last year, dictating affairs from flagfall. The field was well stacked up in the straight but Cut The Rope gradually began to pick up in front and held on by two lengths from the favourite Ankud.

James Nolan, brother to the winning trainer revealed that Limerick trainer Richard O’Brien had preperated the Sea The Stars gelding, who had only been sold to them recently.

The winning rider reported: “He was always in his comfort zone and for a horse with a flat background, he can handle that bit of soft ground.

“I think he’ll improve a bit. It just took him a while to put his head down but once he did he really quickened up very well.”