Ukraine the winner at Downpatrick meeting

Ukraine the winner at Downpatrick meeting

11 May 2022

LARGE fields in all seven races was the order of the day at Downpatrick’s first evening meeting of the year on Friday.

First race on the card was the Downpatrick Racecourse raises £50,000 for the Ukraine Crisis Appeal Maiden Hurdle and here Co Meath 

trainer John McConnell, who has a great record at the track, saddled his second winner of the year at the popular local venue when Ottoman Style came home ahead of The Flier Begley, owned and trained at Larne by Stuart Crawford and Toss Again.

For successful rider Tom Reilly it was a welcome success as his last winner was back in 2019. 

It is interesting that he rode his first ever winner under rules at Downpatrick when an amateur jockey. Tom is based with John, but has had a lot of support over the years from Newry trainer Liam Lennon, SP 2/1 fav, 9/2, 7/2.

The second race, a handicap hurdle over two mile five furlongs, saw a 28/1 shock success with Building Bridges, coming home clear having made a lot of the running to beat Lily Light Foot and Marshalled.

For Maghera-based trainer Gary McGill, it was his first success in some time, while for his amateur jockey son, Oran, it was his second winning ride under rules to add to his good tally in point-to-points, where he is based with Noel Kelly at Draperstown.

For the Taphouse Syndicate it was their first success with their first runner.

Co Kildare trainer Andrew Kinirons doesn’t have too many N.H. horses but last year his Hidden Land was a winner for him at the track, and the horse was again a winner for him in the ITBA Mares Handicap Hurdle, when, with amateur Johnnie Barry, whose claim has just been reduced to 31B, it won by 13 lengths over Trevena, ridden by Barry Browne and Reverse Polarity, SP 10/3, 16/1 6/1.

This race saw only four of the twelve starters still in contention with just the last flight to take John McConnell, who may challenge Gordon Elliott for the top trainers prize at the track this year and recorded a double when the Cathal McGuckin owned Wild Shot with Shane Fitzgerald in the saddle took the Helping Festina 

Lente find a home maiden hurdle the combination proving too good for the Elliott runner Wee Willie Nail and 100/1 shot, Aghinagh, SP 11/4.

The racing TV Handicap Chase was the first of two chases on the card and here Irish Grand National winning jockey Paddy O’Hanlon kept up his good recent 

run when he rode Golden Ferret to success over the fast finishing Follow The Crowd, ridden by Mark Walsh, with Shantou Sisu in third.

This victory was a welcome one for Dublin trainer Paul Stafford.

Harry Smyth’s Zagnzig ran well to finish in fourth. Harry is one of Ireland’s most senior trainers based at Ballyclare. SP 9/2, 7/1, 9/1.

Co Sligo trainer Mark McNiff has a fine record at the track and he had yet another success when his Nuttoridge, with Philip Enright in the saddle, took the Down Royal Corporation Handicap Chase at 10/1 over the Liam Lennon trained School Lane, ridden by Barry Browne as regular rider Sam Ewing is out of action with a pelvis injury following a bad fall at Down Royal on Bank Holiday Monday. Back in third was Trickey Trix.

The long trip from Cork paid off for trainer Eugene O’Sullivan and his amateur jockey daughter, Maxine, as Meetingofthewaters in the well-known colours of Manchester based Mrs Alvrie O’Sullivan (no relation) proved to be a ready winner of the bumper race, proving too good for the Gordon 

Elliott runner Ellis Boyd Redding, with top jockey Jamie Codd in the saddle, close for third with Housemartin, just making it by a nose over Magheralin Mick, owned by Michael Lynch of Magheralin, SP 7/2, 7/4 fav, 9/2.

Sad to learn that the wife of former top trainer and racecourse director Leslie Crawford had passed away suddenly.

Acting stewards: Robert Steele, chairman, Raymond Martin and Frankie Fitzsimons, plus professional Peter Matthews. Next meeting at the track is on May 20 (evening meeting).