The season has started well for us with ten winners so far and doubles on two occasions,
things are tootling along and hopefully the horses will keep running well and winning more races. As well as the ten winners, we had 31 places so plenty of our runners have been hitting the bar, now we need them to hit the back of the net.
It is good to be in double figures at this stage of the season and at the moment the yard is lying fifth in the leading trainers’ table but it is at the end of the season where statistics and leagues really count. It would be a fantastic achievement to be in the top five come the end of October, as it would be the first time to break through into the top five. We finished sixth last year, and each year has been an incremental improvement on the last. The aim would be to go one higher again this year and we have started the season in the right way.
Peticoatgovernment has supplied us with two of our early season wins and was part of our double at Cork last Saturday, 6 May. She started off the season with a fifth place over seven furlongs at Dundalk in late March but dropped back in trip she has improved every time. A third place in the Slane Handicap at Navan has been followed by two wins in quick succession.
The first of these was on 24 April in the five furlong Slane Handicap at Navan and it was the second win of the season, and career, for our young apprentice jockey Nathan Crosse. Nathan is still only 16-years-old and comes in to the yards at the weekend and during the school holidays.
Young Nathan Crosse leads the chase on Peticoatgovernment in Navan
Billy was in the saddle when Peticoatgovernment won at Cork last Saturday when we stepped her back up to six furlongs for the Fillies’ Handicap but the result was the same.
She is entered in the Group 3 Ballyogan Stakes at the Curragh next month and we might let her take a chance in group company if she is well and the ground suits her. I think she has earned her chance.
Virtudes is also entered for Ballyogan Stakes after she performed very nicely when winning her maiden at Naas on May Bank Holiday. A daughter of Invincible Spirit, she is a Darley homebred and it was nice to get a win with her. She learned a lot on her debut and the good ground at Naas really helped her to come on.
Realt Rua was third behind Virtudes at Naas and she is a very honest, little filly but I wouldn’t want to run her on fast ground, she needs a bit of cut in the going. A daughter of Showcasing, she is owned by the Irish National Stud’s Racing and Breeding Club.
At Gowran the day before, Sunday 30 April, Bumbasina won the mile maiden beating some well-bred horses. I was delighted she won for her owner and breeder Renzo Forni who is a good supporter of the yard. He also owned and bred her half-sister Dolce Strega who won a Group 3 with us last season. Renzo retired her to stud and she was covered by Sea The Stars this spring.
Bumbasina could run at Killarney on Tuesday next week, 16 May, in the Median Auction Fillies’ Race which we won last year with Erysium. We have three other horses who could make the long trip to Kerry on Tuesday as well as Bumbasina. Diarist was third in a seven furlong maiden at Cork last weekend and we could step him up to a mile for the three year old colts’ maiden in Killarney.
Buttermere is a well-bred four year old filly who joined the yard this year and was placed in a maiden at Limerick last month. We could run her in a maiden at Killarney on Tuesday as well.
Hushing ran very well behind two good fillies in a maiden at Tipperary last month and she might make her handicap debut in Killarney on Tuesday.
On the same day that Bumbasina won at Gowran, Lovemenot made a promising debut at the same meeting, finishing well to take third in a competitive race. She will appreciate an ease in the ground and should step up from that good effort to win a maiden. She has a very good attitude and is not ground dependant, which is a very good trait to have in Ireland! We will probably try her over 1 mile 2 furlongs next and see how we go.
Tommy Hallinan joined Peticoatgovernment on the trip to Cork last Saturday, 6 May, and like her he came home a winner. Declan McDonogh rode him in the rated race over a mile and two furlongs and he really got the job done. We decided to jump him out in front and he stuck well to his task all the way to the line. He had been placed on all four of his starts so it was great to get a win with him for his owner Michael Ryan, who also bred him.
The ground at Clonmel on 4 May was in very good condition, lovely good ground and we kicked off May with a double from just two runners, both fillies and both of them ridden by Billy.
Elm Grove is keeping pace with Peticoatgovernment in the race for Miss Consistency and she also won her second race of the season, taking the mile handicap.
Aurora Butterfly is a lovely filly owned by Madeleine Burns and she had put in two good showings on her first two runs. A daughter of Born To Sea, she won well at Clonmel last week and we will try to get black type with her next.
Our latest winner was Zamira in Roscommon on Tuesday. She only came to us this season as John Malone bought her from the Aga Khan’s draft at Goffs’ November Sale. Zamira was placed on her first two runs for us and improved again to win over a mile and a half at Roscommon on 9 May. Again the ground in Roscommon was absolutely beautiful and they had done a very good job with the track.
We took part in the trial races at the Curragh ahead of the first meeting of the season at the track as it undergoes an enormous redevelopment. I sent a couple of horses to the track to run through the temporary layout while the demolition of the old stands continues.
The real thing is tomorrow, Saturday 13 May, and we have Outside Inside to run in the two year old fillies’ maiden. She is a lovely daughter of Holy Roman Emperor owned by Garret Freyne, who had a good work out on the Old Vic early Tuesday morning to prepare her for her debut.
Solar Halo makes her seasonal reappearance in the Genepak Handicap, a race we won last year with Downforce. A three-year-old daughter of Dynaformer, she comes from a brilliant Niarchos family.
On Sunday at the Curragh Ostatnia runs in the Listed Sole Power Sprint and he was third in a Listed contest over five furlongs at Tipperary towards the end of last season. Sunday’s race is also five furlongs so it should suit him well.
Sweetest Taboo tackles five furlongs again for the PG Duffy Citroen Handicap at the Curragh after finishing in the podium places on her last two starts. She completed her preparations on the gallops in Tuesday morning’s sunshine.
Vale Of Light is the third of our three runners at the Curragh on Sunday, making her racecourse debut in the Keadeen Hotel Fillies’ Maiden. A daughter of Sea The Stars, she is owned by Godolphin and she is starting out over a mile and a quarter.
Billy Lee rides all of our runners at the Curragh this weekend and he is in great form, with seven winners in the last 14 days and an impressive winning strike rate of 23 per cent.
On the subject of jockeys, we were thrilled for Wayne Lordan winning the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket last Sunday on Winter. It’s great that he is getting the recognition and success he deserves.