Wednesday night was a big success for all concerned. (Pic: Healy Racing)
Wednesday was a big day at Dundalk Stadium this week as a bumper crowd gathered to enjoy a good card of racing and support a fundraising night for Team Ireland Equestrian as it prepares for the World Equestrian Games in September.
Ireland’s success at Show Jumping has been huge over the years and a key target now of the current squad is to complement this by capitalising upon improved performances in both Dressage and Cross-Country.
The Event Riders Championship Challenge, sponsored by Horseware – who also sponsor Team Ireland - was the final race of the night. Before that, Chris Hayes rode three winners, each one for a different trainer.
Firstly, Oneoveryou (a well-backed 5/4 favourite), ridden by Billy Lee, was an impressive winner of the Event Riders Championship Challenge Race At Dundalk for trainer Richard O’Brien, who also landed the €50,000 Madrid Handicap at Naas on Sunday.
Chris then won on Fozzy Stack’s well-regarded daughter of So You Think, Harvestfortheworld (5/2f), who won what looked like a good contest for the Dundalk Stadium Light Up Your Night Maiden, and the hat trick was completed by Schoolboy Error (9/1) in the Irishinjuredjockeys.com Handicap for trainer Shane Nolan, who only acquired the five-year-old gelding in December.
The card’s opener, the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Fillies Maiden (for two-year-olds), saw Willie McCreery’s Jungle Jane (6/1) score for owner Madeline Burns, who also stands the winner’s sire, Bungle Inthejungle. This was a very good start to the first-season stallion’s career.
The highest-rated horse on the card was Now You’re Talking (2/7f) and she comfortably landed the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Maiden for trainer Joseph O’Brien, who was recording an eleventh Dundalk win of 2018.
The winner earned a rating of 106 as a juvenile through finishing fourth in the Group 1 Cheveley Park and Group 2 Queen Mary Stakes, ending her campaign with a creditable run at the Breeders’ Cup meeting in Del Mar.
Punters took the hint when Newmarket trainer Sir Mark Prescott decided to make the trip to Ireland with Elysees Palace (11/10f, Declan McDonogh) for the Dundalk Business Club 2018 Maiden. The big, powerful, gelded son of Champs Elysees was a workmanlike winner, but he got the job done.
So did Tom Mullins’ Nam (6/1), although more comfortably, in the Dundalk Stadium On Twitter Handicap under Niall McCullagh.
Then, with a huge crowd offering vocal and good-natured support to the Eventers for the card’s finale, Toni Quail, who regularly rides out at Brian Hamilton’s Downpatrick yard, put that experience to good use by jumping out and making all on Kevin O’Donnell’s Bobeska to win by two-and-half lengths at odds of 20/1.
After the race, each rider received a memento of the evening from Horse Sport Ireland’s CEO, Ronan Murphy, and Horseware’s Chief Operating Officer, Gerry Boyle. The plan is to stage the race again in 2019.
"This night has been a great way to promote ourselves, have fun, raise funds and show people that we are prepared to work hard to achieve our goals," Sally Corscadden, Senior High Performance Director and Chef d’Equipe of the Irish Eventing Team said.
The World Equestrian Games take place in Tryon, USA, in September this year.
Toni Quail was in triumphant mood after winning the Horseware event on Wednesday night.