Only six runners turned out in the Vinegar Hill Chase at Bettyville Park today, but there was drama galore throughout the race won by the Willie Mullins and Paul Townend team by 28 lengths with Pont Aven, (9/10 fav.)
Half the field exited at the first fence. Westland Row (Keith Donoghue) was the first to go, unseating on the approach, while Baily Gorse (Jody McGarvey) was hampered and unseated and Sizing Joshua unshipped Philip Enright independently in rear. All jockeys were safe and well after their ordeal.
All horses galloped away to their hearts content at the head of the field, however, the drama wasn’t over yet as Sizing Joshua decided to do a u-turn before the second last flight and champion jockey Paul Townend on the winner had to take evasive action.
Townend said: “The fences were the easiest part, navigating through the loose horses was the hardest part. I saw the loose one coming at me turning into the straight and I just thought he is going to turn at some stage. It was a matter of whether I took a pull and went outside or inside, so it was a game of chicken for a little while. I had the horse to get through so it was fine.”
It was a good day for Mullins and Townend as they completed a double following the earlier success of Great White Shark, (11/10 fav) by 11 lengths in the Mount Leinster Hurdle.
Racing began with the Welcome to Wexford Racecourse Maiden Hurdle where Paul Nolan’s Shawshank was in the lead he when he swerved sharply after jumping the penultimate flight and parted company with Bryan Cooper. Araukan (10/1) trained by Sean Treacy for his wife, Geraldine, at Borris emerged the three lengths winner with Katie Farrell in the saddle.
Charle Brune (10/1) lead from start to finish to give owner/trainer Tom Shanahan, from Templemore, Co. Tipperary, his first track success in the Loch Garman Handicap Hurdle. Donagh Meyler was aboard the winner and the runner-up was Soul Season, owned by Eoin Banville and Tommy James, who trains at Norrismount, Camolin.
Joseph O’Brien saddled Deilginis, (9/4 fav.), (which is the Irish word for Dalkey, owner Martin O’Sullivan’s home place) who won the Rosslare Mares Handicap Hurdle for jockey Shane Shortall, coming home two and half lengths ahead of Trans Wood, trained by Gordon Doyle at Knockmullen House, New Ross, and ridden by young amateur Tiernan Power-Roche from Tacumshane.
Perfect Leader (3/1 fav) scored by five lengths in the Wexford Handicap Chase for trainer Margaret Mullins and jockey Danny Mullins.
Patrick Cronin from Doneraile, Co. Cork was the owner, breeder and trainer of Celine Soprano, (3/1), ridden by Willie Cronin, who completed an uncle and nephew success by 13 lengths in the bumper.
Good day’s racing. Weather was fabulous. Back at Bettyville Park for the next meeting on Wednesday afternoon, June 5th.