It may not have matched last Wednesday’s coup in England, which renowned Fermanagh-born punter and former trainer, Barney Curley, is said to have been behind; but there was still a nice few quid won at Dundalk Stadium last Friday night on a horse owned by Frank Lynch.
The coup first. Four horses that hadn’t been seen on the track for yonks all won at tracks throughout England. Each had a different trainer, and attracted such a weight of money their odds tumbled from double digits to favouritism. They’d been taken in multiple bets, doubles, trebles and accumulators - and though the bookies are believed to have been alerted, thus avoiding an even bigger pay-out, it’s reckoned that upwards on £3 million was taken out of their satchels. Bravo to all who were behind this perfectly-executed scheme; pity I wasn’t one of them.
But I copped a few quid at Dowdallshill two days later, taking heed of the good vibes there were about the place for Cristys Call.
Even in the days when he was running football teams as well as the Louth Co Board, Frank Lynch had an interest in horses. He had them in training with some of the best at The Curragh, and enjoyed a good degree of success. The John Oxx-handled Fantastic Flyer was one who dotted up at Dowdallshill when there was grass, as well as hurdles and the bigger fences, on the track.
One of Frank’s latest, Cristy Call, named after a former Geraldines colleagues of his, the late Christy Watters, is not by any means the best he has owned, nor is he the luckiest, the gelding regularly getting a bad draw. But he’s genuine, and that counts for a lot.
Recently switched to Gavin Cromwell’s stable in Balrath, Co Meath, Cristys Call was out to gain compensation for two recent seconds when he took his place in the Crowne Plaza Hotel Handicap on Friday night. He was first chalked up at 10/1, but before jockey Michael Hussey guided him into the stalls, that price had contracted, no better than 6/1 being available at the off. The word was about.
Although again poorly drawn – 13 in a field of 14 - Cristy Call, carrying the Louth red-and-white colours, got a prominent position early on, and was always in the vanguard after that. He was confidently ridden by Hussey to gain one of the night’s easiest wins.
It was like the week after the ‘57 All-Ireland final all over again as Lynch, and his wife, Lily, accepted the congratulations from locals, all of them, no doubt, having steamed in.