ONE, TWO THREE - JUMP! Cant Pay Wont Pay, ridden by Donal Delahunt (right), jumps the last during the 2m 7f hunters chase at Downpatrick with Mullaghmurphy Blue and Isn’t She Lovely.
Aidan O’Brien made history at Newmarket on Saturday as Churchill gave him a record-breaking eighth win in the Qipco 2,000 Guineas.
Churchill lived up to his name quite brilliantly as the 6-4 favourite stormed up the rail to beat Barney Roy by a length under Ryan Moore.
French raider Al Wukair was a strong-finishing third, while O’Brien also took fourth with Lancaster Bomber.
Twenty-four hours later, O’Brien completed the big double as Winter scampered clear to take the Qipco 1,000 Guineas in stunning style under Wayne Lordan, giving the Upton rider a first taste of Classic success.
The former David Wachman-trained filly was always travelling sweetly under Lordan and proved too good for better fancied stable companion Rhododendron.
O’Brien also won the Group Two Dahlia Stakes with Somehow and the Group Two Jockey Club Stakes with last year’s Irish Oaks heroine Seventh Heaven.
While Aidan O’Brien was winning all around him at Newmarket, the Ballydoyle maestro was also making hay on home soil as Douglas Macarthur led home a 1-2-3 for him in the Group Three Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial.
Emmet McNamara made the most of a rare opportunity to shine on the big stage as he made all on the son of Galileo and bravely clung on in the closing stages to beat stablemates Yucatan and Capri, earning himself a quote of 20-1 from 40-1 with most firms for the Investec Derby at Epsom.
What a difference a week makes! The previous Sunday Bean Feasa was beaten in a 1m1f maiden on rain-softened ground during torrential downpours at Gowran Park. Now, with the sun was shining on the hottest day of the year, punters saw a different side to the daughter of Dubawi at Leopardstown.
Despite the fact she was a five-race maiden against previous winners, Bean Feasa was sent off the 100-30 favourite and justified her slot at the top of the market with an emphatic success over the front-running Asking. Next stop is the Irish 1,000 Guineas at the Curragh.
Custom Cut loves Leopardstown and registered course win number three in the Amethyst Stakes. The victory was achieved in typically brave fashion, as he fought off everything from the front, clinging on by half a length from Raymonda with Cougar Mountain a nose further back in third. It was his 13th success from 59 starts.
Jessica Harrington can do no wrong as she won the opening two maidens on the card with Brother Bear and Pincheck.
Brother Bear booked his place at Royal Ascot when quickening up smartly to deny the odds-on Sioux Nation.
Damian English continues to excel with cheap purchases and Geological was the latest chapter of his success story as the 800gns buy made all in the 7f handicap at 20-1.
Willie Mullins was the toast of punters at Wexford on Saturday as he sent out Miss Sapphie to land the opening 2m4f mares maiden hurdle under Danny Mullins.
Tellthemnuttin continued her love-affair with Wexford as she made it four from four at her local course with a four-length win under 5lb claimer Dylan Robinson in the 3m handicap hurdle.
Twenty-two-year-old James O’Sullivan rode his first winner since turning professional when Soul Season, trained in Camolin by Tom James, got up close home for a neck win in the second division of the 2m handicap hurdle.
Drakaina sprang a 20-1 surprise in the first division of the 2m handicap hurdle for her trainer-rider Paul Power. Meanwhile, Your Busy, who won the Kerry National at Listowel in September 2014, was retired after severing a tendon in the race.
Owned and trained by James Nash, the 14-year-old won eight races, four over hurdles and four over fences.
The €60,000 Ken Condon paid for Mamba Noire at the Deauville Yearling Sale last August looks a bargain now as the two-year-old scampered clear in the closing stages to win the first Foran Equine Irish EBF Auction Series Maiden of the season at Cork on Saturday.
This imposing daughter of Wootton Bassett lived up to her hype as she quickened away, and despite showing plenty of greenness she decisively accounted for the more experienced Summerseat Mist by two lengths.
Royal Ascot looks on the cards for Mamba Noire now where she could tackle the Queen Mary.
Willie McCreery continued his hot streak with Peticoatgovernment in the opening 6f handicap. She is on an upward curve and a decisive victory under top weight in the opening sprint handicap could well be her last appearance for a while in that sort of contest.
Billy Lee always looked in control and she was value for a bit more than the length margin of victory over the staying-on Art Nouvelle.
McCreery went on to complete a double with the Micheal Ryan-owned Tommy Hallinan in the 1m2f rated race under Declan McDonogh. He made all and found plenty from the front to hold off Chronicles and Harbour Beacon by a length and the same.
Downpatrick provided Gordon Elliott with ten of his 193 winners last season and the Meath trainer continued his love-affair with the venue on Friday night as he helped himself to a treble.
Westland Row got the ball rolling in the opening 2m3f maiden hurdle at odds of 2-1, while Presenting Julio justified 6-4 favouritism in the 2m6f handicap hurdle.
The hat-trick was completed in the concluding 2m1f bumper as Penny Jane made every single yard of the running and battled to a neck win over Frankiefiveangels. All three were ridden by champion amateur Jamie Codd.
Elliott had to settle for second in the 2m6f maiden hurdle as Polymath was unable to withstand Fly Rory Fly who scored narrowly for Noel Meade and Sean Flanagan.
Mullins Off The Mark
Just a few days after denying Gordon Elliott a first ever trainers’ title, Willie Mullins opened his account for the new season at Cork on Friday evening thanks to Royal Hawk in the opening 2m maiden hurdle.
The 2-5 favourite found just enough in the closing stages under Ruby Walsh to beat Delta Work by half a length.
Ellmarie Holden took her tally to four for the new season as Look Closer justified 2-1 favouritism in the 2m novice hurdle under champion condition Rachael Blackmore. The pair were three quarters of a length too good for main market rival Little Folke at the line.
The feature 2m4f handicap hurdle went the way of the easy-to-back Prince Charmin’ from the Tony Martin stable.
As short as 5-2 in the morning, the four-year-old drifted all the way out to 8-1 at the off but that did not stop him from winning by two and a quarter lengths, completing a double for Walsh in the process.
Racing returned to Ballinrobe for the first time on Tuesday evening and the feature 2m1f handicap chase went to Hello Sweetie.
Pat Collins, whose stable is based in County Down, now has Galway on his radar for his good ground-loving eight-year-old who was four lengths too good for Eight Till Late. It was another feather in the cap of J.J. Slevin, who had a top campaign last season.
Fresh from her two winners at Down Royal on Bank Holiday Monday, young Ballyhale trainer Ellmarie Holden made it three wins for the new season courtesy of Coolmeen Hill who took the opening 2m1f maiden hurdle under Davy Russell.
Today (Wednesday) - Dundalk (first race 5.45pm). Thursday - Tipperary (5.40pm). Friday - Kilbeggan (5.15pm), Dundalk (5.30pm). Saturday - The Curragh (2.10pm). Sunday - The Curragh (1.55pm), Killarney (2.05pm).