IT may not have been the best evening weatherwise at Dundalk Stadium on Wednesday but the meeting ended on a good note for the John McConnell yard when, in a very close finish, the 25/1 shot Yokkell won by a neck.

A four-year-old Fast Company filly ridden by Siobhan Rutledge, Yokkell was having her second start for her Stamullen trainer (having previously been in the care of Jarlath Fahey for whom she scored twice on grass) and for her Cookstown owner Seamus Devlin.

Last Thursday week at Thurles, the concluding extended two-mile handicap hurdle was won by the Phidelma Elvin-ridden Woodstream Lad who was having his first start for Co Wicklow handler Philip Rothwell and Co Down owner John Leckey. The six-year-old Soldier Of Fortune gelding was winning for the first time on his 15th start.

Jockey front

On the jockey front on the same afternoon, there were wins for Danny McMenamin, Brian Hughes and Derek Fox (two) at Musselburgh. Last Saturday, Hughes recorded a double at Doncaster and the following day, the British champion recorded his 68th success of the season when winning a two-runner race on a very depleted card at Carlisle.

Here, Jody McGarvey won the 1 Bar One Racing Drinmore Novice Chase at Fairyhouse on the J.P. McManus-owned, Willie Mullins-trained I Am Maximus who, on his last outing, landed the BoyleSports Irish Grand National (Grade A) on the same track, but under Paul Townend.

The conditional jockeys’ training series mares’ handicap hurdle at Bangor on Saturday was won by the Alfred Buller-bred Shesupincourt, a six-year-old daughter of Court Cave.

This was a second career success for the highly-consistent bay who is out of the Supreme Leader mare Supreme Cove, dam also of the multiple winners Destroyer Deployed (by Deploy), First Drift (by Generous) and Tipalong Tyler (by Winged Love).

Down Royal ready to roll

IT’s all C&C at the moment and far from being disparaging of any other drinks brand bought in bulk at this time of year, it’s all about racing at Christmas and Cheltenham, forgetting that there are weeks – even months – in between.

For this column this week it’s the day after Christmas, Tuesday, December 26th, which is in focus as racegoers supporting their local track are making plans to attend the Boxing Day meeting at Down Royal where Lisburn-based company Metcollect is sponsoring the final three races on the card.

These are the Metcollect Handicap Chase which was won last year by the Pat Rooney-owned and trained Highstreetfashion, the Metcollect Oil Recycling Hunters Chase, won in 2022 by Vaucelet who is trained by David Christie for John Hegarty and Jenny O’Kane, and the Metcollect Metal Recycling (Pro-Am) INH Flat Race which last year went the way of the Gordon Elliott-trained Lucky Lyreen.

Christmas Charity Ride rolls to town

IRISH Horse World journalist Bree Rutledge was among those who participated in last Saturday’s ‘Saintfield’ Christmas Charity Ride which, for this year only, took place in Downpatrick, and you can read her report in page 98.

The ride commenced and concluded at the local racecourse whose patron, Eveleigh Brownlow, dropped in to see how things were going during the afternoon while one of the track’s directors, Adele Rea, was in Downpatrick town to cheer the ride along.

Local bloodstock agent Russell MacNabb was dressed up as Santa Claus to take part.