Come rain or shine, the racing show must go on! The 67 horses were declared to run for last week’s meeting on ground described as Good to Firm, Good in Places ground. Following 18mm of persistent rain between 7.30am and 5.30pm on raceday, the ground went through 3 ‘going’ changes and ended up as officially ‘Soft’ according to the Clerk of the Course and the jockeys alike.
As would be expected with such a swing of conditions, there were some non-runners, however the soggy weather did not dampen the quality of the racing or the thrill of the finishes. Five of the 7 winning distances were recorded as less than 2 ¼ lengths.
The day really belonged to Noel Fehily who rode a treble, including a double for trainer, Harry Fry.
Fehily is a master of his craft especially on the younger, more inexperienced horses, expertly educating them in the early stages of their racing careers. All three of his winning races were for horses at the grass roots end of the sport, a bumper, a novice and a maiden hurdle.
The first of Fehily’s wins was the race of the day for me. With a keen interest in national hunt breeding, mares’ bumpers always catch my eye.
The 9/4 favourite for the race, purchased last year for £75,000 was the 6 year-old King’s Theatre mare, Annie Angel trained by Amanda Perrett. Her only previous form was an Irish maiden point to point win on her debut last December.
Expected to win the race, Annie Angel came up against the sole Irish trained raider at the meeting, A Three Eighty who is named after an aircraft. A strapping 17hh filly, A Three Eighty made a solid start to her future in a Fairyhouse bumper in April.
The two horses pulled 13 lengths clear of the opposition and battled in impressive style all the way to the line. The 20/1 shot, A Three Eighty just managed to put her nose in front and snatched victory by a short head.
A Three Eighty is trained in County Tipperary by Tom Hogan, who interestingly, is famed for training Gordon Lord Byron, bought as a foal for just 2,000 Euros in 2008, to win over $1.8 million in prize money in flat races all over the world.
Even more astonishing in the light of this, is the fact that Gordon Lord Byron fractured his pelvis as a 2 year-old leaving the stalls on his debut run at Roscommon in 2010.
Determined to save him, Hogan filled his stable with car tyres to prevent him from lying down and straining the injury trying to get up, which almost certainly would have proved fatal. He remained standing for 4 months.
The following year, he posted his first win at Dundalk followed by international success in Australia, Hong Kong and France, as well as Britain and Ireland.
Evening racing at Pitchcroft opens tomorrow night with the annual Hargreave Hale Investment Managers Hunters Chase, due off at 5.50pm.