A late season Monday meeting at Gowran Park had all the feel of an “industry day” about it, and perhaps just as well, for the hardy punters who were present were on the ropes throughout.
The big players and the heavy hitters were only interested in the first race, where Ballydoyle’s Il Paradiso was considered banker material. Just pipped by a John Gosden hotpot at Newmarket, this was seemingly a penalty kick.
Only Paddy Power and Betfair were brave enough to offer even money in the morning trading and that was devoured quicker than anyone’s toast and marmalade.
At the track he was sent off at the highly restrictive odds of 4/11. Not for the first time lately however their former stable jockey Joseph O’Brien spoiled the party.
Of course as ever Aidan is delighted to see his son prosper, but Millswyn, a 10/1 shot under 7 lbs. claimer Shane Crosse beating Il Paradiso left the rest of the Ballydoyle contingent stunned.
Many of the serious punters headed for the car park after that early reverse and that proved an inspired decision.
Next local trainer Jim Bolger sent out Leagan Gaeilge to score at 14/1 while Noel Meade’s Art Of America took the mile handicap at 20/1.
Ace jumps trainer Meade started out on the flat and his runners “on the level” have a fair strike rate.
To prove the point he followed up straight away in the nursery with Harvest Bow.
That certainly wasn’t a great result for all bookmakers as she was clipped from 16/1 to “eights” in some lively ring trading.
“She ran a cracker at Galway” Meade said “but couldn’t handle Dundalk at all.”
“I knew if we got a small bit of soft ground today that she had a chance and she may go in another nursery though I’m more concerned about our jump horses at the moment” he added.
Littlevix at “tens” beat well fancied 11/2 jolly Stormy Air in the first division of the handicap, but punters got some relief in the second leg when well backed 6/1 chance Solomons Seal beat 25/1 “rag” Kodianne by a short head.
If Aidan O’Brien had let punters down in the opener they didn’t avail of a chance to redress the balance as they allowed the Seamie Heffernan ridden Aircraft Carrier win at 11/1. Ouch.
They turned to local hero Willie Mullins for consolation in the last with Causey Arch a very well backed 4/1 chance.
Alas, he was beaten a neck by Jessica Harrington’s versatile Neverrushacon.
The bookmakers in attendance had a real spring in their step as they headed for home.
While there was an armada of Irish runners in the Cesarewitch last Saturday – including an Aidan O’Brien trained favourite and seven from Willie Mullins – Declan’s Irish Racing Service only wanted to know about 10/1 winner Low Sun.