Tinandali ridden by Chris Hayes wins The Mercury Engineering Colts and Geldings Maiden from Grandmaster Flash ridden by Donnacha OBrien, 2nd Leopardstown Wed 3 April 2019 Photo.carolinenorris.ie
Limerick's Chris Hayes shared two winners with legendary Curragh trainer Dermot Weld at Leopardstown on Wednesday. Weld was responsible for four winners on the afternoon and Hayes helped him on his way when partnering the first two in an opening race double. The pair won the opening fillies’ maiden with even money favourite Tarnawa and then took the colts’ equivalent with 5/1 chance Tinandali.
Hayes followed up at Cork on Sunday and along with trainer Fozzy Stack, has loads to look forward to with Lady Wannabe which impressed with a two-length win in the opening fillies’ maiden. The daughter of Camelot disappointed on her sole run last season but looked a completely different proposition here as she easily saw off 2/1 favourite Alezia at odds of 20/1. Billy Lee teamed up with Dungarvan legend John Kiely and presenter Brian Gleeson to win the 8f handicap with The Names Jock which built on a hugely promising run at Navan a week previously. A very strong 11/8 favourite, the three-year-old was never far off the pace and had a little in hand as he beat Bellepower by a length and a quarter.
Tiger Roll had already secured legendary racing status and his place in the history of the sport was certainly confirmed as he became the first horse since Red Rum in 1973 and 1974 to win the Aintree Grand National for the second consecutive year on Saturday.
The undoubted star of Gordon Elliott’s yard, Tiger Roll gave Davy Russell a dream ride, and won well from the Jessica Harrington-trained Magic Of Light. Rathvinden came through to take third for Willie Mullins, making it an Irish-trained one-two-three.
Elliott was overcome with emotion as he won the race for the third time, he also trained Silver Birch to win the 2007 renewal. “We work very hard for this the whole time. I've got a brilliant team behind me, and all my family at home. Davy Russell's mother died last year, and this was for her, and my uncle Willie Elliott died this year, and this was for him.
“It's unbelievable. We had 11 runners in the race. When Silver Birch won, I probably didn't appreciate it enough, and when Tiger Roll won last year it was unbelievable. This year, if any of the 11 horses had won, it would have been great, but Tiger is a bit special. The stats were against him, and we were hoping and wishing and praying he could win, but I thought it was probably impossible, so for him to do it... Hopefully he will now get the recognition he deserves and go down as one of the greats.”
39-year-old Davy Russell remarked: "I can't believe it! At my age now, to win two Grand Nationals - it's madness! He's one hell of a horse. The O'Learys have been so good to me throughout my career and Gordon. What can I say? This horse is amazing and this place is amazing. People go one about certain sporting events but Liverpool and Aintree are just so far ahead. People come here in their droves to cheer on such a fantastic event and they can be so proud of what they have, it's so well run. It touches so many people around the world and I am so proud to be part of it. I can't believe it, I really can't.”
Irish trainers were back at Aintree in force this year and the first big winner for the visiting team came in the shape of the Willie Mullins-trained Kemboy in the Grade 1 Betway Bowl Chase on Thursday. The Ruby Walsh-ridden 9/4 favourite made all the running and was not for stopping as he powered clear to beat Clan Des Obeaux by nine lengths with the Henry De Bromhead-trained Balko Des Flos in third place. Supasundae gave Jessica Harrington and Robbie Power another top-flight success when landing the Betway Aintree Hurdle, the fabulous nine-year-old winning by a length and a quarter from Buveur D'air at odds of 15/2. At Grade 3 level, Henry De Bromhead and Rachael Blackmore won the Close Brothers Red Rum Handicap Chase with 11/2 shot Moon Over Germany which sports the colours of Philip Reynolds.
Friday started well for subsequent Grand Notional hero Gordon Elliott as he landed a quick double, two winners he shared with Jack Kennedy. The pair landed the opening 2m4f handicap hurdle with the Frank McAleavy-owned Three Musketeers and followed up in the Grade 1 Betway Top Novices’ Hurdle with Felix Desjy which made all the running to beat the Mullins-trained Aramon by a length and a half. Robbie Power got his second Grade 1 winner of the festival as he partnered the Colin Tizzard-trained Lostintranslation to win the Betway Mildmay Novices’ Chase.
Willie Mullins’ day got better when Min bounced back to winning ways under Ruby Walsh in the Grade 1 JLT Chase, the eight-year-old scoring by all of 20 lengths from Politologue. Paul Townend was in the saddle as Cadmium followed up for the champion trainer in the Grade 3 Randox Health Topham Handicap Chase, the 8/1 putting in a near-flawless round of jumping over the big Aintree fences to score by six-lengths from the Henry De Bromhead-trained, Rachael Blackmore-ridden Sub Lieutenant.
Robbie Power landed his third Grade 1 of the week when once again combining with Colin Tizzard to win the Betway Mersey Novices’ Hurdle with 20/1 chance Reserve Tank. Power ended the three days at the Festival’s leading jockey. Henry De Bromhead and Davy Russell took the Grade 1 Doom Bar Maghull Novices’ Chase with Ornua which made all the running to beat the Joseph O'Brien-trained Us And Them. It was fitting that Gordon Elliott landed the final Aintree winner when the Jamie Codd-ridden Chief Justice just held on to win the concluding handicap hurdle.
Gowran Park - Tuesday, April 9 (First Race 4.35)
Limerick - Thursday, April 11 (First Race 2.05)
Ballinrobe - Friday, April 12 (First Race 4.50)
Naas - Saturday, April 13 (First Race 1.50)
Dundalk - Sunday, April 14 (First Race 2.00)
Tramore - Sunday, April 14 (First Race 2.15)