There’s plenty to get stuck into at Down Royal this weekend with the Festival of Racing throwing up a number of intriguing storylines.
I’ve been busy taking a look Friday’s card and it’s our Willie and two girls well-known to the Mullins stable who get the bulk of attention.
Here’s my take on the action…
Birds do it, bees do it, and so did the favourite for the 13:15 at Down Royal…
The Mares’ Novice Hurdle doesn’t look unusual at first glance. But, dig a little deeper and it is.
Airlie Beach is the obvious favourite – she’s unbeaten; trained by Willie Mullins and ridden by Ruby Walsh. That combo has taken the last two editions of the race, AND she’s owned by last year’s winning syndicate.
Nothing strange there…
However, what is peculiar is that this horse has had a foal… by accident. That foal is now a three-year-old in training.
Willie bought what he thought was a gelding from France, which turned out to be a stallion.
He subsequently got his hooves on this mare and well, the rest is history.
What isn’t history is her racing career, which has seemingly remained unaffected.
In addition, Willie might have particular affection for this horse as her mother, Screaming Witness, was his first ride on the track.
No sour grapes about Apples?
Willie Mullins said of Apple’s Jade “she’s the best juvenile I’ve trained” but following the much-publicised fees dispute with Gigginstown, she’ll be lining up under another tutor in the WKD Hurlde at 13:50.
As a lover of horses, I’d say Willie wouldn’t begrudge seeing this mare reach new heights and fulfil her potential, although it does give his nearest challenger in the Champion Trainer battle, Gordon Elliot, some hefty ammunition…
Pink can be profitable
Mrs Patricia Hunt is a racehorse owner with bright pink colours that are a regular in the winner’s enclosure at this meeting in Down Royal.
Her Monskland and Apache Stronghold have given her four victories there over the past five years, and Moulin A Vent is a nice representative for her in the opener.
He was placed on his debut in the Land Rover Bumper and duly delivered in Galway the next time. He has hurdles to jump this time and has Monbeg Notorious to contend with.
But I have a feeling backing pink will pay in the first. Her Monksland looks to have a tougher task tomorrow but shouldn’t be discounted at a track he clearly loves.
Enjoy the racing!
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