LOUGHBOY native Shane Gorey had a welcome change of luck on the opening day of the two-day Gowran Park meeting on Friday when he partnered Shu Lewis to a comfortable success, writes Ned Tierney.
A fine horseman who has never received the patronage that his talents deserved, Gorey was opening his account for the season when winning the mile and four maiden race for three-year-olds and upwards. Gorey has for some years been attached to the Dermot Weld stable, but joined forces with neighbouring trainer Monica Dowdall Blake on this occasion.
A decent bumper mare last season, Shu Lewis finished less than five lengths adrift in the Irish St Leger a few weeks ago and as a consequence started a warm favourite. She raced off the pace in the early stages, but made eye-catching progress to be in contention in the straight. Once Gorey popped the question she quickened up well to go away and win comfortably by four and a half lengths from Clara Bel La.
Described as a brilliant mare with plenty of speed by her trainer, Shu Lewis will now have the Irish Cesarewitch at the Curragh next weekend as her end of the season target. On this evidence she will beat more than beats her.
Aidan O’Brien combined with his son Joseph to capture the opening nursery with Hall Of Mirrors which was an easy to back 7/2 chance.
Coming from off the pace the Duke Of Marmalade colt picked up well when asked by O’Brien at the furlong marker and was a comfortable enough three and a half length winner from Ballyorban. Having finished second in three of his four previous outings when ridden from the front Hall Of Mirrors was sporting blinkers for the first time.
Dropping him in seemed to have the desired effect. He will have another outing before going into Winter quarters.
Willie Mullins had his customary winner when Reine Angevine ran out an easy winner of the four-year-old maiden hurdle.
Having run below expectations at Listowel, the French-bred was easy to back at 4/1. She put her best foot forward to lead at the penultimate flight and, in spite of not being exactly fluent there, she still managed to put nine and a half lengths between herself and Dumbarton at the finish.
On paper this looked a decent contest. It will be interesting to see how the winner progresses from here.
Sizing Europe was the big attraction on at Saturday’s session and the former Two Mile Champion Chaser did not disappoint, scoring an emphatic victory in the PWC Champion Chase over a two mile and four trip.
Robbie Colgan and I Hear A Symphony made the running, but the pair were stalked all the way by Sizing Europe. Travelling best of all turning to face the judge, once rider Andrew Lynch asked him to quicken the response was immediate. The combination went away to record a seven and a half success from a rejuvenated Forpadydeplasterer.
Winning handler Henry de Bromhead revealed post-race that he was extremely pleased with the display. There are plenty of options open to his charge, but he will wait and see how the horse comes out of the race before making any firm plans.
First Lieutenant, one of last season’s top novice chasers, was confidently expected to give Sizing Europe plenty to think about but proved to be a shade disappointing. He was near enough going to three out, but found nothing from there and finished a well beaten fourth.
It was suggested afterwards that the seven-year-old had an aversion to right hand tracks. He will campaign on left-handed ones in the future.
Willie Mullins was on the mark again as Bundle Of Fun landed the three-mile handicap chase in the hands of Paul Townend. Mullins also saddled the favourite Sicilian Secret but this one had to be content with third place.
After taking 19 attempts to open his account over fences Bundle Of Fun finally came good at Downpatrick. He showed that form was no flash in the plan by taking the lead three fences, pulling out plenty when push came to shove to beat Give Us A Hand by four and a half lengths.
This was the second leg of a brace for Townend, who had earlier partnered Heaney to success for the Tom Taaffe yard. Coming from off the pace Heaney took over at the final fence, but had to battle hard before getting the better of Bat Masterson by three-parts of a length.
While Camelot failed in his attempt to restore his pride in Sunday’s Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe it was good to see a Kilkenny horse capture a Group One contest at the meeting as Wizz Kid ran out a narrow winner of the two-year-old Prix de L’Abbaye.
Bred by Ballylinch Stud near Thomastown, the daughter of Whipper is owned by Maeve Mahony, whose late husband Tim was a founding member of the Mount Juliet Hotel and golf course - her Danesfort-based daughter Jenny Howes is very much involved in the running of the Ballylinch operation.
Wizz Kid comes from a strong Ballylinch family. Her sire is a former resident at the stud while her dam, the Listed placed Lidanski, is a daughter of Soviet Star, a long standing resident at Ballylinch.