Conor McNamara notched up his first winner for champion trainer Willie Mullins at Punchestown on Tuesday. The pair landed the €100,000 Grand National Trial Handicap chase with 14/1 chance Ifyoucatchmenow which got up in the dying strides to win from the Mags Mullins-trained Agusta Gold. The narrow winner is unlikely to get into the Irish Grand National itself and the champion trainer is already eyeing up a race on the final day of the Punchestown festival for the seven-year-old. It was a second valuable handicap chase success for the young Rathkeale conditional rider in recent weeks, coming soon after his Joan & Dan Moore Memorable Handicap Chase win on Charlie Stout at Fairyhouse.
Oola jockey Cathal Landers won the 3m handicap hurdle on the Martin Hassett-trained Mary Frances at Punchestown on Wednesday. On the heavy going, she raced to a four- and three-quarter length win over outsider Blast Of Koeman to give Landers his seventh win of the season.
Billy Lee and David Marnane took the opening division of the 7f handicap at Dundalk on Friday night where Poet’s Pride beat Denis Hogan’s Mulzamm by half a length at odds of 9/2. It was a fourth winner of the New Year for the jockey.
Other Racing News
Horse Racing Ireland launch summer Student Internship Programme
Horse Racing Ireland (HRI) have launched their 2020 summer student internship programme which returns for its seventh year. There are a number of paid placements available, commencing in June 2020 and running for 12 weeks throughout the summer to the end of August. The programme is open to all Third Level students in any college year of any course. Students will benefit from mentoring by experienced professionals which will allow them to develop their practical skills in a fast-paced environment while gaining valuable experience of the work which goes on behind the scenes in the Irish racing and breeding industry. HRI Education and Training Manager, Grainne Murphy, said: “The student internship programme plays a key role in the strategic aim of HRI to attract new entrants into the thoroughbred racing and breeding industry. We hope that, for the successful applicants, this is the just first step to a fulfilling and rewarding career within this great industry.” Further details and the application form are available at www.workinracing.ie/ internships. Closing date for applications is March 20, 2020.
Clonmel – Thursday, February 27 (First Race 2.15pm)
Dundalk – Friday, February 28 (First Race 5.00pm)
Navan – Saturday, February 29 (First Race 1.45pm)
Leopardstown – Sunday, March 1 (First Race 2.00pm)