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HRI Fact Book 2008 - Horse Racing Ireland

HRI Fact Book 2008 - Horse Racing Ireland

APRIL

APRIL 2008 Having landed six of the previous nine renewals, hopes were high that a strong Irish challenge in the John Smith’s Aintree Grand National at Liverpool in early April would bring further success, but David Pipe’s Comply Or Die ultimately proved the best horse on the day as he defeated the Arthur Moore-trained King Johns Castle in an exciting finish, with the Willie Mullinstrained Snowy Morning in third and the Tom Taaffe-trained Slim Pickings in fourth. It was a memorable day for winning jockey Timmy Murphy, who earlier recorded a fine triumph on the John Queally-trained Al Eile in the Scottish and Newcastle Pub Enterprises Aintree Hurdle as this top class performer recorded a third victory in this event in the last four years. In the aftermath of Aintree, the winner of the 2005 Grand National, Hedgehunter, was retired by his connections. On the Flat, Dermot Weld continued his fast start to the season by having a notably successful day at Leopardstown’s Guineas trials meeting, winning the Leopardstown 1,000 Guineas Trial Stakes (Group 3) with Carribean Sunset, who prevailed by a head RUBY WALSH WAS CROWNED CHAMPION NATIONAL HUNT JOCKEY FOR THE SIXTH TIME WITH 131 WINNERS, JUST PIPPING DAVY RUSSELL ON 125 WINS from Halfway To Heaven, before Famous Name positively bolted up by four lengths in the Leopardstown 2,000 Guineas Trial Stakes (Group 3). The following weekend at the Curragh, it was the Jessica Harringtontrained Jumbajukiba who stole the headlines, winning the Castlemartin & La Louviere Studs featured Gladness Stakes (Group 3) in great style under Fran Berry. The latter part of the 2007/8 National Hunt season was dominated by the Punchestown Festival and for the first time it was held over the course of five days. British-trained raiders enjoyed an excellent time of it with seven winners during the week, while they were also responsible for victories in the feature events on the first four days with Twist Magic, Neptune Collonges, Punjabi and Blazing Bailey respectively. The Guinness Gold Cup was also notable as it was the final race run by the ten-time Grade 1 winner, Beef Or Salmon, who was retired after the race. It wasn’t until Saturday’s two feature events that the Irish triumphed, with the small stables of Leonard Whitmore and Sabrina Harty enjoying excellent successes with Brave Right and Won In The Dark, who took the honours in the Ballymore 25th Anniversary Handicap Hurdle and the Eventus Marquees Champion 4-Y-O Hurdle respectively. Trainer Willie Mullins was on fire at Punchestown ending the season on a high note with eight winners to bring his seasonal total to 111. The €2.23 million prize money he earned was enough to give him a third Champion Trainers’ Title, while Ruby Walsh was crowned Champion National Hunt Jockey for the sixth time with 131 winners, just pipping Davy Russell on 125 wins. Over at Longchamp, Aidan O’Brien opened his Group 1 account for the year with Duke Of Marmalade winning the Prix Ganay and, the day after the curtain was brought down on the Punchestown Festival, Yeats made a winning start to what his connections hoped would be a history-making campaign for him by winning a listed event at Navan. 10 FACTBOOK 2008

APRIL ATTENDANCE FIXTURES TOTE BOOKMAKERS SP SHOP NO OF RUNNERS 2008 153,189 27 6,542,488 19,562,304 1,821,702 2,791 2007 188,026 28 7,930,663 26,678,142 2,213,847 3,142 VARIANCE -34,837 -1 -1,388,175 -7,115,838 -392,145 -351 % VAR -18.5% -3.6% -18% -26.7% -17.7% -11.2% FACTBOOK 2008 11

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