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Tuesday, December 14, 2004



On Sunday the leading Irish three-year-old filly Alexander Goldrun registered a famous victory in the Group 1 Hong Kong Cup, the centre-piece of the International meeting at Sha Tin on Sunday. Trained and ridden to perfection by Jim Bolger and Kevin Manning respectively the ever
improving filly burst into the lead inside the final furlong and held the late challenge of the Hong Kong-trained Bullish Luck to become the first of her sex to win this prestigious ten-furlong event.

In a field littered with top-class international performers Aidan O'Brien's Powerscourt also ran well in fourth place after meeting with some interference during the race. The win was not a surprise to trainer Jim Bolger. "I was happy with her this week but you couldn't be confident in a race of this nature. Kevin gave her a brilliant ride." Jockey Kevin Manning paid tribute to his partner saying, "She has a great turn of foot and that's what really counted in the end."

In her previous race Alexander Goldrun had out pointed the best fillies in France when winning the Group 1 Prix de l'Opera on 'Arc de Triomphe day in October. Earlier in the season she had been runner-up in the Group 1 Irish 1000 Guineas. She was sold as a foal at the Goffs November Sale by her breeders Forenaghts Stud for 40,000 Euros. Bolger confirmed that she is to stay in training next year.


In the Hong Kong Vase over a mile-and-a-half there was a 1-2-3 for Irish-breds when Phoenix Reach recaptured the form which won him the Group 1 Canadian International Championship last year.

Trained by Andrew Balding in Britain this four-year-old son of Alhaarth had been suffering from a virus during the Summer but showed signs of returning to form last time out when sixth in the Group 1 Japan Cup. Taking up the running in the straight Phoenix Reach quickened well and held off the late runs of Sights On Gold (Indian Ridge) and Vallee Enchantee (Peintre Celebre)
to take his earnings to over a million pounds.

His jockey Martin Dwyer commented: "I was travelling so well, got a great position and then he really quickened well. He's a Group 1 winner so he wasentitled to win." Bred by Miss Christine Kiernan he was sold by JK Thoroughbreds for IR£16,000 as a foal at Goffs November Sale in 2000 and is to stay in training next year with a view to contesting the world's best middle-distance races.


The remarkable "little" mare Solerina won her 17th race at Navan on Sunday by repeating last year's triumph in the Giltspur Scientific Tara Hurdle and in the process beating the reigning champion hurdler Hardy Eustace.
Setting out on her customary role as front-runner in this two-and-a-half mile test the James Bowe-trained mare quickened the tempo up the backstraight and was never seriously challenged coming home by two-and-a-half lengths.

Her jockey Gary Hutchinson never had an anxious moment, saying, "I quickened the pace down the back[straight] because we weren't going fast enough but I never had any doubts. She was very good." Her owner John Bowe has pencilled in the Bewleys Festival Hurdle at Leopardstown on December 29th as her next race but reiterated that she will only run in the Champion Hurdle if
the going is soft.

She faces a rematch with Hardy Eustace in the Bewleys Hurdle at Leopardstown on December 28th for which the defending champion will strip a lot fitter than on Sunday when he looked a bit burly. His trainer Dessie Hughes intimated this afterwards, saying, "I have to be pleased with that. Conor gave him a nice sympathetic ride and he will wear blinkers next time to sharpen him up." With current Champion Hurdle favourite Harchibald also a probable for that race it is shaping up into a mouth-watering clash.


Having his fourth race in the space of a month has not taken the edge off the tough and talented Rathgar Beau, indeed on the evidence of his display in Sunday's Grade 2 O'Connell Warehousing Hilly Way Chase at Cork he seems to be thriving on the action. Having been runner-up to King George VI favourite Kicking King the previous Sunday at Punchestown the eight-year-old Beau Sher gelding franked that form with a cosy win from a field that included 2002 Champion Chaser Flagship Uberalles which finished fifth.

The Eamonn "Dusty" Sheehy-trained gelding travelled well through the race and took the lead with two fences to run never needing much assistance fromjockey Shay Barry who was impressed with the performance. "That was very impressive today, as good as I've ridden him", he said. According to Sheehy his next race will be the Paddy Power Dial-A-Bet Chase at Leopardstown on December 27th.


Progressive geldings Homer Wells and Petertheknot won the two graded novice hurdle events on Sunday in Ireland.

The Willie Mullins-trained trained Homer Wells won the Grade 3 O'Connell Transport Stayers Novice Hurdle at Cork having just recently won his first race over hurdles. He is a progressive hurdler who looks up to competing with the best of his peers at two-and-a-half miles and up.

At Navan PeterTheKnot reversed course and distance form with Sweet Kiln in the Grade 2 Barry and Sandra Kelly Memorial Novice Hurdle. Trained by Patrick Sinnott and ridden by Conor O'Dwyer he beat his old rival by three-quarters of a length but was not pressed to do so thus registering a turnaround in form of four lengths from their last meeting when Sweet Kiln beat PeterTheKnot by three-and-a-half lengths. Both winner and runner-up are by the stallion Beneficial and are top-class novices at two-and-a-half miles.


In winning the Grade 2 Brian M Durkan Flat Race at Navan on Sunday Publican showed that he is among the best bumper horses in Ireland by accounting for a strong field in this Euro 35,000 event.

Trained by Pat Fahy, whose horses are in tremendous form at the moment, the four-year-old beat six other winners in the two-mile event staying on well after leading two furlongs out. According to his trainer the plan is to now go novice hurdling with this promising young gelding.


Back In Front returned to the scene of his greatest triumph last Saturday when winning the Grade 1 Bula Hurdle at Cheltenham thereby elevating himself to the front rank of Champion Hurdle contenders. Winner of the Supreme Novices Hurdle at the 2003 Cheltenham Festival the Edward O'Grady-trained gelding was on the sick list since last Christmas but showed all his old sparkle in accounting for Inglis Drever and 2002 Champion Rooster Booster.

Taking charge at the last hurdle when front-runner Rooster Booster started to tire Back In Front ran on strongly up the hill to finish four lengths clear at the line. Russell remarked: "That was a very good performance and he really likes it around here. I wasn't worried when Rooster Booster
went so far clear because the hill makes a big difference to my horse." O'Grady was delighted that his charge had returned to his best form and plans to give Back In Front one more run before the festival though is undecided on what race to go for.

The son of Bob Back seems to run better at Cheltenham than anywhere else, a fact that could give him that extra edge on his rivals when he lines up for the Champion Hurdle next March.


Also at Cheltenham on Saturday the Roselier gelding Brewster won his second race over hurdles when winning the Grade 2 Brit Insurances Novices Hurdle over three miles. Trained by Ian Williams and ridden by David Dennis the rapidly improving seven-year-old powered up the hill to win by 12 lengths showing himself to be one of the best staying novice hurdlers in Britain.


The December Breeders' Flat Sale, the final sale of the year takes place at Tattersalls Ireland's Fairyhouse complex on Tuesday 14th, starting at 10.30AM. This is a sale for horses of all ages with foals, yearlings and mares in foal on offer. There are foals by such sires as Carrowkeel, Danehill Dancer, Fantastic Light, Key of Luck and Marju.

There is also a strong selection of yearlings on offer including by such top-class sires as Alzao, Cape Cross Daggers Drawn, Dr Fong, Giant's Causeway, Halling, Kalanisi and Xaar.

In addition there are mares in foal to such as Choisir, Desert Prince, Golan, Invincible Spirit, Orpen and Val Royal.

ITM are once again offering their Inward Buyer Program for overseas purchasers. If you require any assistance with transport, accommodation or any aspect of your trip to Ireland for the Irish sales then please contact ITM on +353 45 443060 or visit www.itm.ie.

For old articles (from 1st March 2000) go to the Newslink Archive

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