TOPIC • 15 February, 2018 It was like a preview to a big boxing match last weekend, when Altior and Native River took centre stage on the jumps scene. The venue was Newbury Racecourse where Altior, unbeaten over fences and England’s hope to take the Queen Mother Champion Chase at the Cheltenham Festival next month, stepped up to take the Betfair Exchange Chase (Grade 2) with Nico de Boinville. There was some doubt about the horse’s fitness as this was his seasonal debut due to a wind operation, which delayed his reappearance. He faced only two opponents but the seven-year-old Politoloque, unbeaten in three this season, presented formidable opposition from the Paul Nicholls’ yard, with Sam Twinston-Davies on board and for most of the race they looked a danger. But Altior was not going to be denied and with a flourish after jumping the last, the 8- year-old put the race to bed. If Rich Ricci was watching this, he would have had cause for feeling nervous. His Min is the Irish challenger for the Queen Mother Chase and although a dozen lengths winner of the Coral Dublin Chase at the Leopardstown track recently, most of the money is on Altior for their clash next month. It’s going to be a big one and although Altior is expected to improve, Min will put it up to him for sure. Native River is Colin Tizzard’s Gold Cup contender and in our view, he will Mullingar greyhound Stadium notes MULLINGAR GREYHOUND REPORT FROM SATURDAY EVENING There was a good turnout at the track on Saturday evening for another great night of live entertainment. A variety of parties in attendance made for an enjoyable atmosphere, while the racing on the track didn't disappoint! Kilrues Romance and Alien Sharia won their respective semi-finals in Races 2 and 3, with Abbeyville Lily increasing her tally in the eighth for Egan. Powerful ALTIOR AND NATIVE RIVER SERVE IT UP Altior in action. spearhead the English defence for the coveted Chasing prize next month together with favourite Might Bite. Third in the Gold Cup to Sizing John last year, Native River is a year older and with Richard Johnson in the saddle, he took the Denman Chase on Newbury’s card last Saturday with a superb exhibition of jumping and stamina. He is rock solid guaranteed to get the trip and has been trained especially for the big one next month. With nothing emerging from the Irish Gold Cup at Leopardstown won by 33-1 shot Edwulf, it is another case of the English having the upper hand in the Gold Cup picture. Jessica Harrington made the decision to keep Sizing John for the race after his flop at Sam had the pick of the night's performances in the finale. Race 1, S9/10 400 Owner of the Year David Murray put one on the board in the opener with youngster Moneybags Felio having a debut to remember. First to show, he led cosily to the first and opened up to score by 11 lengths for owner Annmarie Daly. The winning time was 22.35. Race 2, Mullingar GOBA A9/A10 525 Semi-Final, A9 525 Oliver O’Sullivan’s Kilrues Romance led this contest from start to finish to break her maiden tag. Leading by a length to the first, she opened up a five length advantage along the back straight. She stayed on well from there to win by five lengths in 31.05. Live Flame and Maggies Magic stayed on for second and third respectively. Race 3, Mullingar GOBA A9/A10 525 Semi-Final, A9 525 Terence Hannon’s Alien Christmas behind Road To Respect. However, it could be that her horse has peaked and may not be as good this year as he was last year. It’s going to be somebody else’s turn. Gigginstown hope Looking ahead to Cheltenham, which is now little more than a month away, it is probably true that the best hope for a Gigginstown success in the high profile division is the 6-year-old Samcro. The unbeaten Irish-bred chestnut, by Faugheen’s sire Germany, Samcro came to the Dublin Racing Festival from Gordon Elliott’s stable with a lot of confidence Sharia made the most of the inside draw here to record a debut success here in gutsy fashion. Showing some decent early speed to lead up, he grabbed the rails to lead into the back straight. Home Little Lite stayed on late to go close, but to no avail. Alien Sharia won by a length in 30.70, with Fits Flyer staying on for third. Race 4, A5/6 525 Castlehill Elmer was a comfortable winner of this contest for the Euro-Dollar- Syndicate. Pacing up well early doors, he put her paws in front at the first and soon opened up a three length advantage. He kept that cushion all the way home, sticking it out to score by four lengths in 30.16. Race 5, S7 350 Roys Gabriel hit the lids here to earn a three length advantage as they turned for home. However, Bective Robbie had other ideas! Rallying home with gritted teeth, Joe Quirke’s charge got up by a length and a half to score in 19.92. behind him. Ridden by Jack Kennedy, he started odds-on despite the presence of some high-class horses and the reduction in the trip to 2 miles from his previous success on the Navan track in a Grade 2. Going clear before the last, he maintained his advantage comfortably promoting trainer Elliott to remark that a rethink would be made concerning the Supreme Novice Hurdle for his charge. “I would have said that the Ballymore was his target before today, but his performance is something else.” No doubt the O’Leary boys would prefer to have a 3-mile chaser, but just for the present they will have to make do with a 2-mile Supreme Novice Hurdler. Samcro is so good, he might even do both jobs. If it’s the Supreme Novice Race 6, A4 525 Settle For Red was quickest away here to lead for much of the way around in the red jacket. However, chasing intently in behind was Paddy McCormack’s youngster Timeless Art. Reeling in the early leader as they rounded the final turns, he bombed home to get up by a length in 30.31. Race 7, S6 330 The Margaret Bolton trained Daniels Desire made the most of his early speed here to secure the goods for the Eager- Costello-Syndicate. First to show, she took the inside track to lead as they turned for home. She stayed on well to win by two lengths in 19.15. Race 8, A3 525 Tom Egan’s Abbeyville Lily racked up her 19th career win in fine style here despite the unfavourable orange jacket. He Rocks showed some fine early zip to lead up before extending four lengths clear down the back. However, he went wide at the last and the Queen of Mullingar was on for Samcro, he will face Willie Mullins’ Getabird and the smart 5-year-old Kalashnikov, who came out best in the Betfair Hurdle (Grade 3) at Newbury where he beat 23 others for the €100,000 prize for the stable of Amy Murphy and jockey John Quinlan. The Irish-bred had his name reserved by owner Paul Murphy for three years and this is something that is worth knowing. When you come across a good name, you can reserve it with Weatherbys. The winner of the Novice Hurdle at Punchestown on Sunday, Hardline was another for Gordon Elliott and Gigginstown. Well beaten by horses of the calibre of Wiskey Sour and Mengh Khan in higher grade. Those horses are inferior to Samcro and Getabird since, so the form line is strong. At Punchestown on Sunday, there were four Gigginstown runners in the BoyleSports sponsored Grand National Trial, but victory went to the Gordon Elliott trained favourite Folsom Blue, ridden by Jack Kennedy, owned by the Core Parternship. The winner of the 3 and a half mile event is an eleven-year-old by Old Vic, who won the race in 2014 when trained by M. Morris. Not a bad record for an oldtimer and well backed at 5-1. Another for Gordon. Powerful Sam makes it ten! hand to take full advantage. Abbeyville Lily finished strongly to score by two lengths in 30.12. Race 9, A4/5 525 Tsali Vidich put in a gutsy display here to take home the spoils for Thomas Kerrigan. Rounding the opening bends well, he led by a couple only the back straight before going wide at the last to allow Rappers Queen back into the mix. Kerrigan’s charge found more on the run in, quickening up when questions were asked to score by two and a half lengths in 30.24. Race 10, A1 525 The 2-year-old Powerful Sam secured his tenth career win in the finale with another impressive performance for Joe Bray. Fahy Ripley showed the best early speed to build an early two length advantage. However, Powerful Sam was looming large in second before pouncing to take it up around the final turns. He stayed on stoutly to score by two and a half lengths in 29.82. MULLINGAR GREYHOUND REPORT FROM SUNDAY There was a great turnout at the track on Sunday for another successful afternoon of racing. As usual, carvery dinner was served in the upstairs bar area with free admission at the door. Bawn Lad was an impressive winner of Race 4 for Byrne, with Ardera Bonus following that up with a fine success in Race 5 for Browne. Crackling Honey rounded the card off with a strong performance in the finale. Race 1, A6 525 Home Tulip showed a fine early turn of pace to snap up the lead into the opening bends here for Campbell. However, Lord Ashfordly had other ideas. Sticking to the task well in second, he bided his time before rallying late on the run in. Liam O'Rourke's charge got up on the line to score by half a length in 30.65. Race 2, A6 525 Berlynn Cutie was a gutsy all the way winner of this contest, taking the double step up in class in her stride to secure back to back gold. First to show, she rounded the opening turns well to lead into the back straight. Dreamers World harried well in behind, but to no avail. Patrick J Coleman's charge opened up on the run in to make all by four and a half lengths in 30.27. Race 3, A6 525 There was another to add to the tally for the Slevin kennel here, with Jamie Slevin's Another Step making the most of the drop in class in impressive fashion. Level away, he paced up well to lead by a couple into the back. He found an extra gear on the run in for home to score by six lengths in a decent 30.24. Race 4, A4 525 Home Bunty was first to show here to lead up, and she was soon joined by the prominent Knockmant Rebel as they ran the back straight. However, Bawn Lad got himself into the equation as they entered the final bends. Dan Byrne's charge finished strongly to score by a half length from Home Bunty in 29.99. Race 5, A3 525 Pride Of Luck paced up well here to lead narrowly, but it was Ardera Bonus who nipped up the rails to lead into the back straight. Leading around the final turns, James Browne's charge repelled the efforts of Sunfield Jimmy to score by half a length in 30.31. Race 6, A5 525 SPORT It was a fairly level getaway here, with Bed Rock Lass leading narrowly around the opening turns. Abbeyville Grace soon closed in though, rounding the final turns well to join issue as they turned for the judge. Tom Egan's charge marched home in style to win by an extending six lengths in 29.93. Race 7, A6 525 It was all plain sailing for Georgina Horan's Curtistown Vicky in this contest. Quickest away, she made the most of the red jacket to lead into the back straight. Going from strength to strength, she went through the gears to score by six and a half lengths in 30.23. Race 8, A6 525 Killahara Eagle was rapidly into stride here to lead comfortably around the opening turns. However, Bective Abigail showed tremendous back straight pace to join issue into the final turns. The pair locked horns, with Joe Quirke's Bective Abbigail getting up to score by two and a half lengths. The winning time was 30.23. Race 9, A5 525 Robinstown Rev put in a fine shift here to lead from start to finish for P.J. Cleary. Pacing up well in the stripes, he swooped around the opening turns to lead by a couple into the back. Home Jess refused to relent her efforts in second, but came up a length and a half short at the line. The winning time was 30.21. Race 10, A5 525 There was little to separate them in the opening stanzas here, with Flicker Fusion leading by a length and a half into the back straight. Crackling Honey soon stamped his authority however. Taking it up into the third turn, he stayed on stoutly to score by five lengths in 30.02 for Paddy McCormack. One to watch 41 Ardera Bonus bounces back Mullingar greyhound Stadium notes Moneybags Felio won Saturday's opener for Owner of the Year David Murray, skipping clear on the run in to score by 11 lengths. Runner of the Week Powerful Sam took the accolade for a second time running this week. Flaunting his staying prowess once more, he finished strongly in Saturday's finale to take home the spoils in style.
42 SPORT A large crowd attended the St. Mary’s GAA victory dinner dance and presentation of medals in the Bloomfield House Hotel, Mullingar on Saturday last, 10 February. The night was a great success and most enjoyable with many young and not so young attending. Special guests on the night were Dublin footballer Denis Bastic and Mullingar entertainer Conor ‘Sketches’ Moore. Denis congratulated the lads on their victory and encouraged them to stay focused and he also congratulated the club on all the facilities that are provided for players and community. Denis then presented the medals to the victorious Westmeath Intermediate Champions, St Mary’s Rochfortbridge, for 2017. Well done to Conor ‘Sketches’ Moore on providing a great laugh on the night. TOPIC • 15 February, 2018 ST MARY’S GAA CLUB PRESENTATION OF MEDALS AND DINNER DANCE Pictured at the St Mary’s GAA dinner dance in the Bloomfield House Hotel were Joe Bradley, Vinny Bagnall, Paddy Whelehan, Liam Gavin, Tommy Colgan and Tom Judge. Frank and Catriona Duffy were at the St Mary’s GAA celebrations in the Bloomfield House Hotel on Saturday night. Eugene and Cathal Coyle were among those attending the St Mary’s GAA dinner dance in the Bloomfield House Hotel. Enjoying the St Mary’s GAA dinner dance on Saturday night last were Andrew Doyle, Shane Whelehan, Billy Arthur, Kehn Nizzie Ravaueno, Sean McDonagh and Padraig Carroll. Kathy Whelehan, Deirdre Kelly and Celine Colgan Murphy were among those at the St Mary’s GAA dinner dance in the Bloomfield House Hotel. Attending the St Mary’s GAA dinner dance on Saturday night last were Faye Gorman, Aoibhin Kenny, Emily Carey and Sinead Hanlon.