JP double as Races start in sunny style!

Roscommon’s racing year resumed on Monday last, when a competitive card and a very fine evening drew a large attendance to Lenabane. This, incidentally , is the 250 th anniversary of  horse racing taking place in the town.   Declan McDonogh and Kevin Prendergast combined to take the first two races, The Ballybride Maiden and the fillies event half an hour later. Tamimi’s History was a well-backed winner of the former, coming home a length clear of the beautifully bred Dance the Classics, who should soon be winning at least a small event; while the third, Honolulu, made a fine debut and was possibly a shade unlucky. McDonogh had to work much harder to nurse the heavily supported Alexander Goldmine home from Knysna, the two of them coming well clear of the rest.   Harry Rogers’ stable dominated the finish of the Connolly’s Red Mills Handicap (Div I), with the outsider of his two runners, Tin Town Boy, under veteran Pat Shanahan just touching off travelling companion Tipolino after the latter had looked sure to prevail. They were ten lengths clear of the rest.    Division Two saw a result for the bookies as the unconsidered Lynott was a decisive winner for Gerard Keane’s team. This was much improved form and this gelding is entered at The Curragh at the weekend.   JP McManus also recorded a double on the evening, taking both the chases. The Frank Hannon Memorial was won well by Team All Star with a well judged ride by Slippers Madden, but he was made to pull out all the stops by the very game Sum Leader, whose rider Philip Enright was later to gain some compensation in The Martinstown Hurdle on Whycanti. The hot favourite, Stage Manager, took a heavy fall in this race.    Christy Roche trained the other JP winner, Arigna, in the Sherry Fitzgerald Handicap, in yet another thrilling finish with Connemara Rose. Arigna came in for some significant support at double figure prices.   The evening  closed with the Kepak bumper, to which Cuchulain’s Son brought  grade one form. Unsurprisingly, he was sent off at odds on for the Willie Mullins’ stable, and won like it.   This weekend the Irish classic season begins at The Curragh. On Sunday Jim Bolger’s remarkable star filly, Finsceal Beo, attempts to put her Longchamp blip behind her in the 1,000 Guineas, where she will again have something to fear from Arch Swing. On Saturday there is an intriguing contest in store for the colts’ equivalent. Newmarket winner tries to record a notable double, but this race often sees significant form reversals.   Duke of Marmalade was finishing best of all in the English race, having failed to handle the dip, and will be much better suited by this track. He and Eagle Mountain have a great chance of upsetting the favourite, while the admirable Creachadoir is also in with a shout, though the suspicion remains that he is really a seven furlong horse.