Monday 18 February 2019

Enright delight at plate success

Against the odds: Jockey Mark Enright celebrates as he crosses the line to win the the Tote.com Galway Plate Handicap Steeplechase on Clarcam at Ballybrit yesterday
Against the odds: Jockey Mark Enright celebrates as he crosses the line to win the the Tote.com Galway Plate Handicap Steeplechase on Clarcam at Ballybrit yesterday

They say you need a potential Grade One winner to win the Galway Plate nowadays but it was an overlooked two-time past Grade One winner in Clarcam who stole the spoils yesterday.

Mark Enright, riding the biggest winner of his career to date, made most of the running on the 33/1 shot and after jumping the last fence built up a sizeable lead turning into the straight.

From there on Clarcam was never going to get caught.

"I just don't win big races," a delighted Enright said the Galway Plate. "This is very special."

These big race victories are becoming very much common practice for Gordon Elliott although even he admitted afterwards; "I've had a quiet summer so I needed that!"

"It is easy to ride for Gordon Elliott because whether it is a big price or a small price he just tells you to go out and enjoy yourself," Enright continued.

"I am very grateful to Gordon. I went to him one day in Naas and just asked him for a job. I needed a base as things were gone quiet and it was nearly the end of the road for me.

"I was on my last legs, but Gordon is great to work for and I've really enjo yed my time there."

The Meath trainer went two weeks without a runner in the middle of May but has since continued as normal, sending out plenty of winners and he has now won his second Galway Plate.

"We thought Clarcam was a blast from the past but he was probably the class horse in the race if you look back through the form. Mark gave him a great ride and the horse jumped from fence to fence for him.

"Fair play to Mark. He came to me looking for a job with the guarantee of no rides and he said, 'I'm not expecting any rides, I just want a job and if you give me a ride it'll be a bonus' and he works hard.

"He only got on this horse at 11.30am yesterday morning, so it worked out great for him."

First reserve Patricks Park got a run late in the afternoon when his stable companion Ballycasey was taken out and the 9/2 favourite stayed on best of all but only for minor honours.

"He made a very bad mistake at the fifth last and missed the fourth last so I had no chance from there. I had a grand position up until then but that was it."

A day with little expectations yesterday morning turned into be the most memorable yet for Enright following the earlier success of another 33/1 chance, Rovetta, who won the Tote Irish EBF Mares Handicap Hurdle.

Tough day

"She is owned by a good friend of mine, Sean O'Brien, so that will hopefully mean we are good for tickets to the Six Nations" joked the Limerick jockey, who is also searching for All-Ireland Hurling Final tickets. "It could be a good couple of weeks," he beamed.

Favourite backers had a tough day in Ballybrit, as odds on favourite Debuchet could only finish third in the opening race but the winner of that, City Island could have a very bright future.

Mark Walsh rode the Punchestown bumper winner to a debut success over hurdles for Martin Brassil and the Grand National winning trainer has every right to expect a bright future.

"He's a nice horse. He was a bit weak last year. We gave him his first run in the unraced bumper at the Punchestown festival and he ran very well to be second and followed up there after that," said Brassil.

"He's strengthened up since then and had a couple of schooling hurdles before he ran in bumpers so it was always going to be a help to him today.

"You need to know your job going around here. He is the best young horse I've had for quiet a while. He might get us somewhere bigger an better."

Rachael Blackmore kept her momentum at the head of the Irish jockeys' championship going by landing the Tote.com Handicap Hurdle on Black Key for Henry de Bromhead.

The Gigginstown-owned runner was a facile winner of the 2m5f contest and was a 27th winner of the season so far for Blackmore.

Patrick Mullins got his first winner of the week when Diamond Hill overcame a horrid run throughout the qualified riders maiden to get up late home and deny Diamond Hill by a head to give owner Annette Mee a third winner for the week.

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