DANNY CELEBRATES GRADE ONE BIRTHDAY - It was a very special birthday to remember for Danny Mullins at the Punchestown Festival last week, as he piloted Mount Benbulben to an impressive victory in the Grade 1 Growise Champion Novice Steeplechase on Day 1 of the Festival.
Danny celebrated his 21st birthday last week, and he received the perfect present as Mount Benbulben destroyed his rivals to run out a resounding 22 length winner, and in the process provide Danny with his first Grade 1 success.
In a highly competitive contest of 8 runners, Mount Benbulben was ranked 7th in the betting at 14/1, and his prospects would have been very difficult.
The Willie Mullins duo of four mile National Hunt Chase Cheltenham winner Back in Focus, and Boston Bob who was a final fence faller in the RSA Chase at the festival were vying for favouritism, while the Dessie Hughes trained Tafino Bay who was runner-up to Back in Focus in that afore mentioned 4 mile race, and his stable companion Lyreen Legend who was runner-up in that RSA Chase behind Lord Windermere were also fancied.
However, Mount Benbulben was always travelling strongest throughout, and with Willie Mullins two market principals under serious pressure before the home straight, the prospects of a surprise victory looked increasingly likely.
Jumping fluently and travelling sweetly, the Gordon Elliott trained 8-year-old was cantering alongside Tofino Bay on the approach to the second chase, and he began to open up an advantage.
With just the final fence to be negotiated, Mount Benbulben was well clear, and he accelerated further clear on the run-in to land a deserved victory, and claim the first prize of €49,600.
Danny is in a rich vein of form in his new role as first choice to Barry Connell.
Last month, he partnered the Connell owned and Gordon Elliott trained gelding Pineau De Re to a mightily impressive success in the Ulster National, while two weeks ago, he was aboard another Connell horse Murt Lane who ran out a 4 length winner of a beginners steeplechase in Fairyhouse.
HEARTACHE IN TRAMORE - Danny endured final flight heartache in Tramore last Saturday week for a fellow local trainer Kevin O’Donnell.
Dubh Go Leir had made all in the 2 mile 5 furlong Tramore Family Fun Day Maiden Hurdle and having been challenged briefly by eventual winner Clara McCloud coming down the hill, the Kevin O’Donnell owned/trained 6-year-old regained control and was on course for victory coming to the final flight.
However, heartache occurred as he stumbled on landing, and the await for a first O’Donnell winner goes on which stretches back to October 2010.
GOWRAN ATHLETIC CLUB SPRING SERIES - Following last year’s success, Gowran Athletic Club staged their spring series of fun runs in Kilkenny Castle with a 2km, 3km and 5km run occurring over three Sundays.
This years event proved to be an even bigger and better success with more Athletes participating, and following the conclusion of the three runs, these were the following winners.
Susan Kelly was 1st female, Martin Mosley 1st male, Annie O’Connor was 1st Juvenile girl while Brogan McAvaney was 1st Juvenile male.
Meanwhile, Sophie Parkinson set a personal best of 45.61 metres to win the Discus competition in the Spring Throwing event held in Athlone 10 days ago, while also last Sunday week, David Murphy came 1st in the 80 metres of the St Laurence O’Toole Sport.
The club will be heavily involved in the coming weeks, as the County Track and Field Championships commence next Sunday morning May 5.
The 2nd stage of the County Championships takes place on Sunday week May 12, with the 3rd and 4th stages taking place on Friday, May 24 and Friday, June 7 respectively.
Also, next Monday, on the Bank Holiday Monday, the Leinster Road Novice Championships take place.
YOUNG IRELANDS GAA CLUB LOTTo - The winning numbers for the Lotto drawn last week were 3, 5, 15 and 20. The jackpot wasn’t won and this week’s jackpot is worth €9,450. The 5 x €35 winners were Mary Carroll (Cloghala), Mick Nolan, Lorraine Greene, Alice Lennon and G Doyle.