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HRI Fact Book 2008 - Horse Racing Ireland

HRI Fact Book 2008 - Horse Racing Ireland

NOVEMBER

NOVEMBER 2008 Paul Nicholl’s quest to dominate the major races in Ireland as well as Britain clicked further into gear at Down Royal early in the month when combining with Ruby Walsh to complete a memorable big-race double there, with the mighty Kauto Star undoubtedly being the star on show. Sent off at 2/5, the former Cheltenham Gold Cup winner was not extended to win the JNwine.com Champion Chase (Grade 1) by eleven lengths. In the very next race, the same team combined with Noland to win the Killultagh Properties Ltd Chase (Grade 3) by no less than twelve lengths. The opening day of the Cheltenham Open meeting witnessed two Irish winners, but both were surrounded in controversy. The amateur riders’ handicap chase saw the Gordon Elliott-trained Hoopy prevail narrowly, but not before his rider Jason McKeown “borrowed” the whip of a weakening rival having dropped his own earlier in the race. The cross country chase is often a controversial event and Davy Russell ensured that this year’s renewal was one of the most memorable ever. Riding the Paul Nolan-trained Dix Villez, Russell THE HUGELY POPULAR HARDY EUSTACE SHOWED THAT HE WAS NO BACK NUMBER AT THE AGE OF ELEVEN BY GAINING A SHOCK VICTORY IN THE FEATURED MAPLEWOOD DEVELOPMENT HURDLE (GRADE 1) AT PUNCHESTOWN appeared to take the wrong course when cutting a corner at the halfway point, but having gone on to prevail by three lengths, Russell informed a confused media and public, that he had spoken to the Stewards before the race and they had confirmed the route he planned to take was entirely legal. The hugely popular Hardy Eustace showed that he was no back number at the age of eleven by gaining a shock victory in the featured Maplewood Development Hurdle (Grade 1) at Punchestown. Ridden by Paddy Flood, Dessie Hughes’s charge looked beaten for all money as Sizing Europe swept to the front at the fourth last, but he rallied in typically game fashion to regain the lead before the final fl ight and forge on to prevail by 2½ lengths. Kicking King, the winner of the 2005 Cheltenham Gold Cup and the 2004 and 2005 renewals of the King George VI Chase, was retired by his connections in mid-November. The ten-year-old had been nursed back into action last season following a serious tendon injury and hopes were high that he had retained his ability following an encouraging return after a 759-day absence, but in four subsequent starts he failed to show his old sparkle and connections understandably decided to call time on his career. Trained by Tom Taaffe, he was ridden by Barry Geraghty on all bar his first two starts. Over at Navan, the williamhill.ie Troytown Chase saw the Jim Dreaper-trained Notre Pere run out the game winner under Andrew Lynch, much to the delight of the local crowd. The following week at Fairyhouse, the Bar One Racing Hatton’s Grace Hurdle (Grade 1) was the feature race and it was the Edward O’Grady-trained Catch Me that emerged on top. Ridden by Andrew McNamara, the six-year-old just got the better of the gallant Brave Inca, who himself made a tremendously encouraging return from an absence of 19 months. 24 FACTBOOK 2008

NOVEMBER ATTENDANCE FIXTURES TOTE BOOKMAKERS SP SHOP NO OF RUNNERS 2008 58,552 24 2,310,981 8,093,612 867,436 2,475 2007 63,535 25 1,717,628 8,439,753 911,650 2,282 VARIANCE -4,983 -1 593,353 -346,141 -44,214 193 % VAR -7.8% -4.0% 34.5% -4.1% -4.9% 8.5% FACTBOOK 2008 25

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