By Dan Walsh
This afternoon’s seven-race card at Bettyville Park get off to a perfect start with a local winner in Mt Leinster Gold (15/2) trained by Colin Bowe by three quarters of a length in the Brendan Cullimore Electrical Contractors Rated Novice Hurdle.
A seven-year-old bay mare Mt Leinster Gold is owned by international tenor Anthony Kearns from Kiltealy and before today had won a maiden hurdle at Fairyhouse and three of her four starts in point-to-points.
Bred by Kearns’ fellow performer with The Three Tenors, Ronan Tynan, this was a winning opportunity for Barry O’Neill who returned from Aintree where he rode in the foxhunters’ chase over the National fences yesterday.
Speaking after the race O’Neill said; “She jumped great and has done it nicely. She loves every bit of the three miles. “Whatever she does over hurdles, fences will be her game.”
Former jockey and American trainer Keri Brion saddled her final runner The Mean Queen (4/5 fav), which landed the Slaney River (Mares) Maiden Hurdle with Carlow rider John O’Neill up.
Brion, currently based in Enniscorthy but returning to Maryland, said afterwards; “I’m going out with a bang as I’m heading back to America on Sunday and there are nine horses including this mare coming back with me.”
Paul Nolan, who will be hoping for a big run with Discorama in tomorrow’s Aintree Grand National, got a little appetiser when Fortune Street (10/1) scored by one and a half lengths with Richie Deegan up in the M&T Plant Hire Maiden Hurdle.
Paul Nolan’s brother and assistant James Nolan said Fortune Street was winning at Wexford for the second time having won his bumper here. “He said he loved that ground. They have done a brilliant job here with the ground and it’s lovely, safe jumping ground.”
Sean Flanagan, (Tout Et Permis) who flies himself with Jody McGarvey (Alpha Des Obeaux) as his passenger, to Aintree for the National tomorrow, each had a Wexford winner. The Robinstown rider was aboard Getaway Queen (4/1) in the handicap hurdle and McGarvey was aboard The Cool Dude (11/2) for John ‘Shark’ Hanlon in the Traynor’s of Wexford Handicap Chase. The verdict was five and a half lengths.
Ricky Doyle who won last Monday’s Irish Grand National on Freewheelin Dylan for Meath trainer Dermot McLoughlin was aboard Campagne Beauty (4/1) who beat McLoughlin’s charge The Echo Boy in a photo-finish to the Traynors of Wexford Novice Handicap Chase. Great success for Youghal-based breeder, owner and trainer Pat Fitzgerald.
And in the only other race on the card – the Garryrichard Stud Veterans Handicap Chase – top trainer Henry de Bromhead saddled Aintree Grade 1 winner Ornua (11/4 fav.) with Dylan Robinson up and enjoyed another Wexford victory for the Waterford man. There was only a neck in it at the finish with Ornua and de Bromhead depriving local trainer Paul Nolan of a double with the runner-up Fine Theatre ridden by Taghmon jockey Sean O’Keeffe, who has his first ride in the Aintree Grand National tomorrow on the Willie Mullins trained Cabaret Queen.