A ROAR seldom heard at Graun Hill emanated from the estimated crowd of 5,500, as Minella Indo and Rachael Blackmore just prevailed in the Savills New Year’s Day Chase.

With the third race named in memory of the late Jack de Bromhead, it was highly fitting that his father Henry trained the winner of the Grade 3 feature.

Sent off a 7/4 chance, the 2021 Cheltenham Gold Cup hero was settled in second behind the front-running Roi Mage, taking over from that rival before two out.

Soon challenged by the 4/5 favourite Stattler, the Barry Maloney-owned victor pulled out all the stops on the run-in, holding off the market leader by a neck.

Fighting back tears, de Bromhead commented: “It’s an emotional day when you see pictures of Jacksy up around the place. Often these things don’t happen in racing but to win the big race at our local track on this day is fantastic.

“It’s brilliant to see the crowd here and the roar he got was amazing. We know everyone is thinking of us and the support really helps us through it.

“The horse deserved it and Rachael was brilliant. I thought we were going to get done but Rachael really got him over the line.

“We were thinking about the Irish Gold Cup, but we might just head straight to Cheltenham – we’ll see.”

The aforementioned Jack de Bromhead Memorial Maiden Hurdle went the way of Cardamon Hill, on what was his debut over flights.

Sent off an easy-to-back 13/2 chance (9/2 early), the Gordon Elliott-trained gelding was never far from the pace and kept to the inner throughout under Jordan Gainford

In a share of the lead from the third last, he got to the front after the next and kept on strongly from there, going on to register a nine-length success.

Lisnagar Fortune (4/5 favourite) was disputing the lead when making a bad mistake two out and he eventually had to settle for the runner-up berth.

“He is a grand big straightforward horse,” Gainford said of the Denis Gallagher Racing Syndicate owned winner. “He jumped well today and kept at it nicely. He looks a nice one going forward.”

De Paris pulls out all the stops

FROM 8/13 to a starting price of 1/5, Quais De Paris was made to work harder than expected for his win in the opening David Flynn Construction Maiden Hurdle.

Bought for €180,000 after finishing third on his debut at Compiegne in October of 2021, the Willie Mullins-trained bay tracked the front-runners on the outer and was pushed along to lead shortly after two out.

Soon ridden, he kept on well away from the last and came home three and a quarter lengths to the good under Paul Townend, in the colours of Susannah Ricci.

Winning this race for the fourth year in succession, Mullins reflected: “I think he is a nice horse, but he didn’t win like I thought he would.

“The ground out there is very testing after the rain last night. Paul kept it simple, went around the outside and kept out of trouble.

“I think he is a horse you can follow for the rest of the season.”

Whiskeywealth also justified favouritism in the Core Bullion Trade Rated Novice Chase, as he readily dismissed his seven rivals.

Sent off an 11/8 chance under Mike O’Connor for the Eamonn Hickey and Ger Finn Partnership, the son of Yeats led from the fourth and extended his advantage on the run to the last, coming home 15 lengths clear of his nearest pursuer.

“He has won on this ground before and two miles might be his trip,” trainer Eoghan O’Grady remarked. “The ground suited him and it mightn’t have suited the rest of them. He’ll probably go for a handicap now.”


Ardera Ru (9/2) also relished the underfoot conditions, coming home six lengths to the good in the Tramore Medical Clinic Handicap Hurdle.

Just six of the 13 who set out for this near two-mile–six-furlong contest managed to complete the course, with the Eoin Doyle trained bay settled in mid-division by Shane O’Callaghan.

She took closer order after the third last and led from the next, stretching clear on the run-in in the colours of Doyle’s mother Pauline.

“Patrick Mullins rode her in a listed bumper and thought she was a lovely mare,” the winning handler stated.

“She was placed then in a few bumpers but just wasn’t getting home. I got her wind done and she seems to be getting home a lot better now.”

Cromwell and Donoghue double up

GAVIN Cromwell and Keith Donoghue got 2023 off to an ideal start, combining for a double, with both of their winners well-supported.

Returned the 2/1 favourite from early shows of 9/2, Of The Posse provided the Co Meath pair with their initial success in the Ryan’s Cleaning Services Handicap Hurdle.

Stepping into handicap company for the first time, the Noel Crahan-owned six-year-old was always towards the head of affairs and improved into a share of the lead after the third-last flight.

He had a good tussle with Knocknagappagh away from the next and just three-parts of a length separated them at the line.

“He battled on well. The ground is heavy out there and he probably just got away with it,” the winning rider divulged.

The Christy Reynolds-owned Tyre Kicker completed the Cromwell/Donoghue brace in the concluding Tom Carroll Memorial Handicap Chase.

Patient ride

Sent to post the 5/2 favourite, having earlier touched 7s, the Network bay was given a patient ride, making steady headway on the final circuit.

He came with his challenge approaching two out and soon got to the front, pulling clear in the closing stages, coming home three and three-quarter lengths to the good.

“This fella disappointed us a little bit over hurdles,” Donoghue revealed. “We knew he was a good jumper and he had the experience from running in a couple of point-to-points. He jumped brilliant today and hopefully he can progress now.”