AMONG the many former northern-trained point-to-pointers who were recently successful on the racecourse, pride of place across the water has to go to Blaklion.
The 2009 Kayf Tara gelding followed up his win at Haydock in November with another at the same track last Thursday week. The bay is now trained by Dan Skelton whose brother Harry was in the saddle for these two wins which were both recorded on heavy ground.
The British-bred Blaklion started his racing career at Loughanmore where he was trained by Colin McKeever for Wilson Dennison whose colours he carried to victory at Tinahely in early January 2014. The bay was having his fourth and final start in Ireland before joining Nigel Twiston-Davies for whom he won nine times, including at Grade 1 level. In last season’s Randox Grand National, Blaklion finished best of the British-trained runners in sixth.
At home, the classy Mount Ida recorded her fourth win over fences, and her second at Grade 3 level, when the Gordon Elliott-trained bay landed the John and Chich Fowler Memorial EBF Mares Chase at Fairyhouse on Saturday. Winner also of a mares’ bumper and a mares’ maiden hurdle as a five-year-old, the 2014 daughter of Yeats runs in the colours of KTDA Racing who were featured in Ronan Groome’s The Big Interview in this newspaper last weekend.
Mount Ida was trained by Jerry Cosgrave when she won a division of the Devenish Nutrition four-year-old mares’ maiden at Tattersalls in early December 2018 under Mark O’Hare. Days later, she came under the hammer at Cheltenham where she was knocked down for £70,000 to Aidan O’Ryan and Elliott.
Also at Fairyhouse, Ronan McNally maintained his recent run of success when, in bringing up a riding treble, Donagh Meyler partnered the 8/13 favourite, Full Noise, to victory in division two of the extended three-mile Tote+ Pays You More Handicap Hurdle. The 2016 Carlotamix gelding was having just his second start for Armagh-based McNally having previously been trained by David Dunne for whom he won at Punchestown in May.
The first division of that handicap hurdle was also won by Meyler on the 2016 Court Cave gelding Where’s Frankie. This was a first success on his fifth start over hurdles for the winner who is trained in north Co Dublin by Karl Thornton for the north of Ireland-based Derby Bar Syndicate.
The next day, the Irish action moved to Naas where the opening Irish Stallion Farms EBF Mares’ Beginners Chase was won by the Gavin Cromwell-trained Jeremys Flame.
This Jeremy eight-year-old, who had finished second last time out in a Grade 2 mares’ novice chase roughly a month earlier in Cork, was bred by Anne Kirkwood out of the unraced Beneficial mare Supreme Beneficial. This is the family of a host of blacktype winners including Miller Hill, Mighty Mogul, Ballynagour, Line Ball, etc.
The two-mile INH Stallion Owners EBF Maiden Hurdle at Naas saw Simon Munir and Isaac Souede’s Bronn just about justify favouritism on his jumping debut. Now trained by Willie Mullins, the 2017 Notnowcato gelding had been in the care of Stuart Crawford when, on his only previous start, he won a bumper for the same owners at Ballinrobe in April.
On Monday, Crawford sent out Munir and Souede’s Holmes St Georges to win the bumper at Musselburgh. This was a second start for the five-year-old Saddler Maker gelding who was followed home, five lengths adrift by Champagnesocialist. That six-year-old Fame And Glory mare’s trainer, John McConnell, and rider, Simon Torrens had earlier won the two and a half-mile maiden hurdle with the Downpatrick bumper winner, Drumbear.