Racing in Dundalk and Fairyhouse at weekend

TOM RED Irish racing this weekend is on the all-weather at Dundalk on Friday night, an all national hunt card at Fairyhouse on Saturday and on Sunday there is a flat card at headquaters in the Curragh and a card at Tramore.     US Ranger is likely to spearhead the Ballydoyle challenge for the featured Group 3 Castlemartin and La Louviere Gladness Stakes at the Curragh on Sunday. He won the Waterford Testimonial Stakes at this venue last year and was fourth place behind Toylsome in a Longchamp Group 1 race. US Ranger is reported to be in terrific form by his trainer Aidan O’Brien.     O’Brien also has Abraham Lincoln, Astronomer Royal and Honoured Guest in the race and could run some of these. There is a strong English trained challenge including Major Cadeaux, Captain Marvelous, Lady Grace and Silver Touch trained by former Southampton and England striker Mick Channon, a man who likes to win in Ireland. Hard to see the Ballymore selection beaten.   On last Friday night local trainer Niall Moran was disappointed with the running of all 3 of his runners Johnstown Lad, Aiphreda and Nora Chrissie. Of the three, Johnstown Lad, an unlucky 2nd on his penultimate run, finished 4th of 5 behind An Tadh trained by Ger Lyons and ridden by Johhny Murtagh. It is noted that Johnstown Lad is entered again this Friday night.    At Leopardstown on Sunday the two main races, the 1000 and 2000 Guineas Trials were won by Dermot Weld with Pat Smullen in the saddle. Caribbean Sunset won the 1000 Guineas trial by a head from Ballymore’s Aiden O’Brien trained Halfway to Heaven with Jim Bolger’s Saoirse Abu 2½l back in third. In the 2000 Guineas trial Famous Name again gave Weld and Smullen a double from the Kevin Prendergast trained with Moiquen and Ballymore’s Hedridean in 3rd.    At Aintree on Saturday in the Grand National the joint favourite trained by David Pipe and ridden by Timmy Murphy ran out a good winner having been well backed all day on Saturday. Irish trained horses had to settle for 2nd, 3rd, and 4th places. Arthur Moore’s King John’s Castle under Paul Carberry finished 2nd, Willie Mullins’ Snowey Morning 3rd and the most fancied Irish runner Slim Pickins was 4th for Tom Taaffe.   The dangers to jockeys in all National Hunt racing was again underlined when Mick Fitzgerald, 37,  was seriously injured in a fall from L’Ami in the Grand National. Let us hope this does not see a premature to Mick’s career. Speculation of compulsory retirement for the senior jockey due to the injury would be mistaken said Dr Michael Turner, medical adviser to the BHA. The column wishes Mick a quick and full recovery and looks forward to seeing him back in the saddle.    Al Eile provided relief for the Irish punters in the Aintree Hurdle running out a 4l winner fron Osana again in the hands of Timmy Murphy with Straw Bear 3rd.   On Friday, over the Grand National fences in the Topham Chase Oodachee owned by the Modreeny Syndicate some of whom are based in Oran, trained by Charlie Swan and ridden by David Casey paid his way by fnishing 6th.  POINT TO POINT: The point to point circuit provides Roscommon with it’s first taste of racing in 2008 when the Co Roscommon Hunt hold it’s Spring point to point meeting at Lisbride on Sunday. There is an entry of 190 horses and with divisions it looks like there will be 8 or 9 races run so a busy day for the organizing committee.    Last Sunday at the Westmeath point to point at Castletowngeoghan Flash Freddie finshed 2nd in the older horses maiden for Roscommon’s Brian Keenan and trainer Martin Lynch. He is entered in Roscommon if he has recovered from his exertions.   The Co. Down Hunt hold their meeting on Saturday at Loughbrickland the first race is at 1.30 and on Sunday, as well as Roscommon, there are meetings at Tallanstown, Co. Louth, Kilmallock in Limerick and at Dromahane in Cork.    In the Open Race in Castletown on Sunday last The Barbour Cup, one of the most valued trophies in the game was won by Ballintue Road owned by the very popular local TD for Westmeath Longford Willie Penrose.    The 9-Y-O is trained in Mullingar by Dot Love and was ridden as usual by Ciaran Murphy. In the riders championship Derek O’Connor with 2 winner last weekend moves on to the 63 mark with Jamie Codd who had 6 winners closing the gap to 11 on 52 and M J. O’Connor with 3 winners in 3rd on 42.