There is no shortage of local racing next weekend. Down Royal stages racing on Friday evening [first race 4.20pm] with an all National Hunt card comprising of all hurdle races plus the concluding bumper on the Musgrave Retail Partners race day.
Downpatrick have their Ladies Day fixture on Bank Holiday Monday with an array of prizes including a luxury cruise for the various competitions. Racing gets under way at 2.55pm while gates open at 12.30pm. Contestants for the various events can register in the marque for contestants.
Meanwhile, the standard of flat racing at Down Royal this year was highlighted last weekend.
Order of St George, which won Her Majesty’s Plate, was very impressive winning the St Leger Trial at a very wet Curragh on Sunday and is now possibly on track for the St Leger at Doncaster.
Winning trainer, Aidan O’Brien said: “He handles an ease in the ground well and is maturing lovely. Seamie (Heffernan – winning jockey) was very happy with him.
“Bondi Beach ran well at York on ground he wouldn’t like and he wants good ground – this fella (Order Of St George) handles an ease. The ground will decide where they go but it’s quite possible they could both go to Doncaster.”
Independence Day, which won the two year old maiden on Ulster Derby day, appears the best juvenile to have run at the Maze course in recent times and endorsed his status when finishing runner-up in the Group 3 Curragh Stakes on Saturday.
The form of the Ulster Derby this season got a boost when the winner, Botany Bay, finished fourth – just a length behind Polarisation in the Melrose Stakes at York on Saturday while the runner-up, Fields Of Athenry, ran a fine race to finish fifth in the York feature – the Ebor – the most valuable handicap in Europe.
Caledon trainer Andy Oliver introduced a very promising type when Plot Twist despite his 25/1 price win in good style in the finale at the Curragh on Sunday.
Oliver said: “We’ve been waiting on him for a while. He’s a big horse and was very immature last year. He was barely ready for a run and Chris said he blew up twice. He’s a lovely mover and Chris was very impressed. It’s possible he could go for a Group 3 at Leopardstown on Irish Champions Weekend.”
Point to point
The stewards of the INHS. Committee announced last week that it will introduce a new weight structure for the upcoming 2015/2016 point to point season.
The changes are as follows:-
i. The weights for all Four-Year-Old Maiden races and Lady Rider races has now been set at 11st 10lbs (up from 11st 9lbs).
ii.The weights for all Five-Year-Old and upwards Mares Maiden races has been set at 11st 10lbs (down from 11st 11lbs).
iii.The weights for all Winners and Open Lightweight races has now been set at 12st 1lb (down from 12st 2lbs).
In announcing the changes, John Powell, senior steward of the INHS committee, said: “The stewards met with the various representative bodies involved in point to points in recent weeks and we would like to acknowledge their contribution to ongoing improvements in the running of point to points.”
The 2015/2016 point to point season commences with the Mid Antrim Harriers fixture on Saturday, 26th September at Toomebridge.