CURRAGH GOLD CUP LOSING ITS GLITTER
HEFFERNAN’S NOT SO ROUGH RIDE
LUKE COMER CASHES IN
MONEYBAGS Luke Comer enjoyed probably his finest moment as a trainer when Raa Atoll pulled off a well-executed plan in winning a Group 2 race in Berlin recently.
There are many elements that add significance to this event for Comer, among them the fact the 2-mile Oleaner Rennen outing at Hoppegarten racecourse was sponsored by the Comer Group and, in winning the prestigious prize with Raa Atoll, Comer relegated none other than Willie Mullins and Rich Ricci into second spot.
GOOD NEWS FOR HENRY BEEBY
JAMES GOUGH’S LEGAL COSTS
MEMBERS OF the Association of Irish Racehorse Owners (AIRO) must be wondering if a missive from Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed this week is set to land the organisation with a hefty legal bill. The matter will be adjudicated on tomorrow (May 31) and the odds on a setback for AIRO have been shortening.
It will be recalled (see here) that an attempt by AIRO’s governing council to nominate Caren Walsh for membership of the board of Horse Racing Ireland (HRI) came a cropper earlier this year. Walsh is a member of the governing council and AIRO had changed its rules a couple of years ago to limit the selection of its HRI nominee to members of the 12-person council.
HAYES OUT FOR THE COUNT
The Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board (IHRB) introduced more stringent whip rules recently and jockeys, especially those riding on the flat have been finding it tough to adapt to the new regime.
Since the first week of April, the maximum number of strikes permitted has been reduced to eight. If a rider exceeds that number, a stewards’ enquiry follows, with the stewards given the freedom to either caution or ban a rider, depending on the circumstances and each jockey’s record with regard to whip bans.
Continue reading here.
NAAS’S LUCK OF THE DRAW
WITH CURRENT Naas Racecourse manager Tom Ryan about to head off to the Middle East to take up an advisory role within Saudi Arabia’s racing industry, the next Naas manager will be faced with an increasingly thorny issue when he or she takes up the baton.
Find out why in the latest issue of The Phoenix.
O’LEARY’S QUIET LANDING
DESPITE BEING crowned leading jumps owners for the fifth year in a row, Mick O’Leary’s Gigginstown House Stud had a rather poor Punchestown Festival, welcoming back just two winners from 42 runners over the five days.
BARRY CONNELL’S NEW NAGS
ONE JUMPS owner whose enthusiasm has been tested in the latest season is Barry Connell. After a disastrous performance that yielded only seven winners – his worst in 10 years – Connell seems undeterred, having just invested heavily in new blood at the Goffs Punchestown Sale.
Read more about Connell’s new nags in the latest issue.
Fans of Goldhawk will be familiar with the trials and tribulations experienced on the turf by Connell. You can read more about some of them here for free.
IT’S THE MONEY, STUPID
IT IS almost 18 years exactly since Mick O’Leary landed his first significant race as an owner, when the David Wachman (John Magnier’s son-in-law) trained Tuco won the Goffs Land Rover Bumper at Fairyhouse and since then O’Leary’s Gigginstown House Stud has scooped almost every race worth winning over jumps, even some, such as the Aintree Grand National and Cheltenham Gold Cup on multiple occasions.
It is this reason – O’Leary has literally nothing left to win – that racing insiders are suggesting is the real catalyst for O’Leary slow-motion pull out from racing, rather than the politician’s answer of ‘wanting to spend more time with his family’.
A more likely reason is that O’Leary has got tired sick of writing cheques for an operation that has, in recent years, become far too bloated. Ireland’s champion owner in Ireland for the last five years, Gigginstown’s prize money haul last season in Ireland and Britain amounted to €5 million. With an estimated 300-plus horses in training that prize money figure wouldn’t even cover the training fees, despite O’Leary’s publicly flouted parsimony.
JAMIE MORRIS VS MICK O’LEARY
THE TRAINER Mouse Morris has had one of the longest serving relationships with Gigginstown and Mick O’Leary, but that relationship looks like it’s being put to the test following a twitter outburst by Morris’s son, Jamie.
Mouse’s Beyond The Law won a chase at Cork on Easter Sunday, relegating the Gigginstown-owned Rathure Rebel to second. Young Morris posted a picture of the winner on Twitter and accompanied it with a comment along the lines of the win being even sweeter given the connections of the defeated horse.
When quizzed by a prominent Irish racing hack over the reasons for his Gigginstown schadenfreude, Jamie proceeded to deliver some very choice and colourful phrases about O’Leary that even the Ryanair boss’s biggest critics might have found a tad harsh. Morris junior maybe harbours some bitterness over Gigginstown’s policy shift last year, which saw O’Leary transfer a number of horses from Mouse Morris to Gordon Elliott and re-allocate Morris some young point-to-pointers instead.
PROFILE: MICHAEL O’LEARY
WITH THE news that Michael O’Leary has decided to bow out from National Hunt racing over the next five years, Goldhawk has been busy perusing his archives and spotted this profile of the Gigginstown supremo from back in 2011.
You can view it below for free.
DUNDALK’S BIG TRACK SURFACE BILL
PERHAPS IT should not come as a surprise that the manager of Dundalk’s racing track is set to lash out circa €3m to provide a replacement running surface. The question is, will it be in place for the autumn/winter season when alternatives are very thin on the ground.
Find out more in the latest issue of The Phoenix.
NIALL CRONIN’S STRATEGY
THE IRISH Horseracing Regulatory Board (IHRB) has decided to up its communications strategy, announcing the Herald’s former racing corr, Niall Cronin, as its new communications manager.
Read more about Cronin in the latest issue.
ALEXANDER THE GREAT
THIS SEASON has seen Scottish bookmaking supremo Kenny Alexander emerge as a growing force among the Irish jumps ownership ranks.
Read more about the Great Alexander in the latest issue.
RUBY’S NEXT RIDE
So what next for the greatest jump jockey of all time, Ruby Walsh?
The silver fox is also a wily fox and he has been expanding his extra-curricular activities over the last few years as he prepares for a life out of the saddle. Walsh has taken after his father, Ted, by going down the media route. He has been working as an ambassador for Racing TV for a number of years now, while also doing regular stints in front of the camera and his talents as a racing analyst will see him being in demand on that front.
DECLAN MCDONOGH’S DEMOTION
THIS TIME of year, as the flat season gets into full swing, a few jockeys sometimes get promoted – or vice versa – and one who is getting a rough ride is Declan McDonogh.
Read more in the latest issue out now.
SEAMUS ROSS’S RETURN
WITH A rejuvenated Sean Mulryan enjoying such high-profile success this year after his long hiatus, the developer’s re-engagement with the sport is being classed as a barometer for the health of the property development and construction sectors.
Read more in the latest issue.
MICHAEL O’LEARY’S ANIMAL WELFARE FANS
MICHAEL O’LEARY’S surprising idea of offering Don Poli and Outlander for sale two days before the Aintree Grand National certainly bore fruit.
PROFILE: BARRY CONNELL
Barry Connell is not well known outside of racing circles, despite the fact that he is one of the biggest national hunt racehorse owners in the country, with only the likes of JP McManus, Mick O’Leary and Rich Ricci finishing ahead of him regularly in the pecking order over the last decade.
Read Goldhawk’s profile of him in the latest issue out now.
And you can read about some of Connell’s bad luck here free of charge.
RICH RICCI’S PR COUP
RICH RICCI has pulled off something of a PR coup after personally teaming up with BetVictor to honour antepost bets that had been voided as a result of the £15m sale of Betbright to 888.
Read more in the latest issue out now.
And you can read why Ricci felt the heat recently here for free.
MICK O’LEARY’S CAST OFFS
With Tiger Roll’s back to back Aintree Grand National wins confirming Michael O’Leary’s status as the premier owner in the national hunt game, Goldhawk casts his eye upon two horses he is seeking to sell.
BOLGER’S BLAST OFF
NAAS RACECOURSE welcomed the Irish flat season back recently and while there was the usual domination by the ‘establishment’, there were also examples of how the ordinary punter can mix it with the big boys.
Read about how well the ordinary punter did here.
You can also read more about Jim Bolger’s two year olds here.
HEAVY GOING AT AIRO AGM
THE ASSOCIATION of Irish Racehorse Owners (AIRO) held their AGM last week, and the going was far from good. There could be changes afoot here.
Read all about it in the latest issue here.