By Dan Walsh
It was the last race of the day before a local winner obliged at day two of the October racing festival at Bettyville Park on a fine and dry Bank Holiday Monday afternoon, but once again a competitive card and, possibly, the seasonal debut of the next Gold Cup winner?
Eleven fixtures are run at Wexford every year and the richest event is the Grade 3 M.W. Hickey Memorial Chase over two miles and seven furlongs. Today’s renewal saw a classy winner in Minella Indo (8/13 fav.), trained in Waterford by Henry de Bromhead, who is quoted at 8/1 for the Cheltenham Gold Cup next March
A winner of the Albert Bartlett at the 2018 Cheltenham Festival meeting, Minella Indo was runner up in the RSA Chase at the same track last March, and the plan is to aim for the Cheltenham Gold Cup next year.
Minella Indo only faced three rivals today in soft conditions where Rachael Blackmore had a comfortable ride all the way and cruised past the winning post 25 lengths ahead of everything else.
The de Bromhead/Blackmore combination enjoyed a double with Kapard (3/1) taking the Kehoe Farming Rated Novice Hurdle. Third was Fortune Street for Paul Nolan and Sean O’Keeffe.
The local winner was IlCourra (6/1) in the bumper for owner/breeder Mary Griffin, trained at Ballypreacus, Bunclody, and ridden by Simon Cavanagh. In third place was Mercury Lane for Paul Nolan and Barry O’Neill. The winning distance was three quarters of a length.
The next race meeting at Bettyville Park is scheduled for Wednesday, March 17th, 2021, St. Patrick’s Day.