It’s not often we hear of drought conditions in Ireland but that’s very much the case this summer with a sub-tropical like climate which shows no signs of easing off just yet.
There was a very brief lull at Killarney on Sunday on the opening session of their five day Racing Festival, a nice dress rehearsal for Galway the week after next.
Like Galway it’s a mixed jumps and flat racing jamboree so there was ample watering at this scenic lakeside venue in the build up.
That combined with some badly needed but all too brief rain showers meant that, for once this summer, horses that like some give in the ground got their opportunity.
The Dermot Weld trained Bella Estrella took full advantage in the day’s feature the Cairn Rouge Stakes, the previous course winner clinging on gamely for Declan McDonogh at 12/1.
Favourite backers never stood a chance with recent smart Curragh winner Petticoat the first one beaten.
The 11/4 jolly was out the back door all the way, lost a hind shoe and had mild colic post race.
Mind you the day had kicked off well for followers of the money as the 10/11 hotpot Anthony Van Dyck absolutely scooted home for Donnacha O’Brien.
The Ballydoyle team have won juvenile races at the track in the past with budding stars like Wings Of Eagles and Kew Gardens.
While nobody would put Anthony Van Dyck – named after a famous Flemish portrait artist – in that kind of category just yet, he could be a bit special.
Beach Bar had his rivals all at sea as Sean Davis kicked the 8/1 shot a mile clear from flagfall and they won doing handstands.
Tony The Gent was the 2/1 market leader and stayed on well in second, but is becoming hard to win with.
It’s no coincidence that by far his best performance this season was his close second to Band Of Outlaws at The Curragh.
That was the only time this year that he raced at a right handed track, he’s much better going that way and should prove the point at Galway.
Classy 7 lbs. claimer Davis was also on board one of two John Oxx trained winners Miss Zizi, a 12/1 shot who also made all on a track that suits front runners.
Oxx’s other winner Shringara did the layers a huge favour as the 25/1 chance held off the strongly supported 5/2 fancy Echo Park.
The bookies were certainly having the better of things but nicely backed 2/1 chance Dawn Hoofer got many punters the petrol money in the last.
Overall though the layers were on good terms with the world on the short journey back into the town – but the tide turned big time on Monday evening.
Six winning favourites and a strongly supported 11/4 fancy also obliging had the bookies crying into their gin and tonics well into Tuesday morning.
Yet in ways both the layers and players were merely sparring and shadow boxing at Killarney.
The real action will begin when the high rollers cut loose at around teatime at Galway next Monday week.
Pat Smullen is happily very much on the mend and already once more very involved with the Weld team, and no doubt he’ll be giving Declan McDonogh the instructions at Ballybrit.
Another good week for Declan’s Irish Racing Service with Padraig O’Conaire 3/1 (won 7/4), Beautiful Citi 11/4 (w 6/4); Miss Sapphire 5/2 (w 11/8); Waikuku 2/1 (w 11/10) and Longhouse Sale 10/11 (w 1/2).
Sign up today for Irish Oaks weekend at The Curragh and of course the big gambles at Galway like Plate winner Lord Scoundrel 33/1 (w 10/1).
Special Deal – Get 12 months membership with NO recurring subscription for a one-off payment of just £95… only £8 per month!