Category: News

IRISH RACING PREVIEW: Rocky Court out to record another Ballinrobe shock


Tuesday, August 27

First Race: 5.10
Last year, Rocky Court ripped up the form book as he gave 2lb and a beating to Listen Dear even though he was rated 26lb inferior to Willie Mullins’ charge in the Hollymount Nursing Home Chase (7.10) at Ballinrobe.
The ten-year-old bids to repeat that shock result for new trainer Tony Martin on Tuesday evening, having made the switch from Stephen Mahon’s yard late last year.
Mahon, who trains an hour away from Ballinrobe in County Galway, loves nothing more than winners out west, and will bid to topple his former inmate with Carrig Cathal, another who seemingly has work to do on paper given he is rated just 129.
Henry de Bromhead’s Ordinary World, a horse who has genuine Grade 1 form, is the highest rated in the line-up (150), closely followed by stablemate Moon Over Germany (147), who has the profile of a progressive chaser.
The field is completed by Listen Dear, an eight-time winner, and The West’s Awake, who is being turned out quickly by Edward O’Grady after his saddle slipped at Killarney on Friday.
With racing underway at 5.10, the going at Ballinrobe is yielding. 

Irish racing previews and news bulletins are brought to you by Horse Racing Ireland and the Racing Post

Enhancements made to the National Hunt Pattern programme

Horse Racing Ireland (HRI) has today announced a number of enhancements and alterations to the Irish National Hunt Pattern race programme for the remainder of the 2019/2020 season.
The Metal Man Steeplechase at Tramore on New Year’s Day, famously won by Cheltenham Gold Cup hero Al Boum Photo this year, is one of three Listed races upgraded to Grade 3 status.
Owen Byrne, Manager of Tramore Racecourse, said: “The Tramore Racecourse Board and myself are thrilled that our chase has been awarded Grade 3 status. It is a testament to the horses that have run here over the years and we are very grateful to the owners and trainers who have supported us. We would love to think the race would produce another Gold Cup winner and we will be going all out to find one.”
In addition, the Listed Quevega Mares Hurdle at Punchestown in February 2020 is now a Grade 3 race as is the Pierce Molony Memorial Novice Chase, registered as the Native Upmanship Novice Chase, at Thurles the following month.
A significant enhancement to the Irish National Hunt race programme for mares for the 2019/2020 season is the introduction of a new Listed Mares Novice Hurdle at Punchestown on Sunday, December 8 2019. The race will be named after Voler La Vedette, a 13-time winner for trainer Colm Murphy.
The T.A. Morris Memorial Irish EBF Mares Chase (Listed Race) at Clonmel on November 14 2019 will be run as an open mares’ chase having previously been confined to first and second season chasers.
Looking ahead to the 2020/2021 season, the McHale Mayo National Handicap Chase has been awarded Grade B status and becomes the first Pattern race to be run at Ballinrobe. John Flannelly, Ballinrobe Racecourse Manager, said: “Everyone in Ballinrobe is delighted with the news that the McHale Mayo National is to be upgraded next season and will be run with a total value of €75,000, an increase of €25,000. We are so grateful for the continued support of McHale which has made this upgrade possible.”
Jason Morris, HRI’s director of Racing, said: “Ireland now has a well-balanced programme of jumping Black Type opportunities and consequently there will only be modest enhancements to the National Hunt Pattern for the 2019/2020 season even though many races could potentially qualify for upgrading given the quality of the Irish horse population.
“We are delighted that Ballinrobe’s efforts to improve the quality of the McHale Mayo National can be reflected in the allocation of Grade B status for the race, while Tramore will also deservedly gain a first Graded race with the promotion of its Metal Man Chase from Listed to Grade 3 status.
“The Black Type programme for mares also continues to be developed as a further encouragement to promote the purchase of National Hunt fillies and their retention in training.”

Listed to Grade 3

TramoreJan 1, 2020  Metal Man2m 5f Chase
PunchestownFeb 19, 2020Quevega2m 4f Mares Hurdle
ThurlesMarch 21, 2020Native Upmanship2m 2f Novice Chase

New Race

PunchestownDec 8, 2019Voler La Vedette 2m 4f Listed Mares Novice Hurdle

Distance Change

Gowran ParkOct 4, 2019 Pat Walsh Memorial2m Mares Hurdle
(Previously 2m 2f)

Conditions Change

Clonmel Nov 14, 2019TA Morris MemorialOpen Mares Chase
(Previously confined to 1st and 2nd season)

New Race for 2020/2021              

BallinrobeMay 26, 2020Mayo National 2m 7f Grade B
Handicap Chase

Deletion for 2020/2021

Gowran Park Kilkenny Festival                    3m Handicap Hurdle

IRISH RACING PREVIEW: Monday evening action at Ballinrobe

Irish Racing Preview


Monday, August 12

First race: 5.40pm (7 races)

Jumping action takes place at Ballinrobe on Monday evening starting at 5.40pm with the Burleigh Accountancy Handicap Hurdle the richest race down for decision at 7.10pm.

Champion Hurdle-winning trainer Gavin Cromwell has enjoyed several wins in Britain this term with Lever Du Soleil, who heads the eight-runner field for the feature, and the recent Galway runner-up is partnered by promising 7lb claimer Conor McNamara. Cromwell also runs light-weight Father Ailbe in the hands of Jonathan Moore, runner-up on the Flat at Galway last time.

Gordon Elliott holds a strong hand and is doubly represented too with Smiling Eliza, who only got as far as the first fence on her chasing debut, and Authorizo carrying the famous Gigginstown House Stud.

Ireland’s champion trainer Willie Mullins sends just one runner to the western venue with newcomer Pencreek facing six rivals in the Cummins Homevalue Hardware Bumper (8.40). His champion amateur son Patrick takes the mount and the field also includes another notable newcomer Tuatha De Dannan from the in-form Joseph O’Brien stable with Tom Hamilton in the saddle.

The going at Ballinrobe is soft.

Irish racing previews and news bulletins are brought to you by Horse Racing Ireland and the Racing Post

Corofin native wins ladies day at Ballinrobe Racecourse

At Ballinrobe Races Ladies Day, winner of Best Dressed Lady was Karen Leonard from Corofin. Pic:Trish Forde.

Karen Leonard a retail sales assistant from Corofin in County Galway was celebrity judge Mandy Maher’s stand-out winner at the ladies day at Ballinrobe Racecourse on Monday June 24. Karen collected the top prize of €1,500 cash and each of the nine runners-up received a goody bag to the value of €150.

Karen bought her navy dress with floral embellishment from ASOS and wore the dress back-to-front to showcase the floral patterns. She added a v-neck to the dress and a red ribbon as a waistband. Her bespoke headpiece was designed by Galway-based milliner Caithriona King around the dress. Karen paired the outfit with a pair of block heel red sandals from New Look.

On winning the ladies day, Karen Leonard said: “I was so shocked when Mandy called out my name. I work in fashion, it’s my passion, I love coming to the races and taking part in ladies days so it’s a dream to win the ladies day at Ballinrobe this evening. Everyone looks fantastic, it’s a huge honour to win – I’m over the moon.”

At the Ballinrobe Races Ladies Day, Best Dressed Lady was Karen Leonard from Corofin, pictured here with Donal Vaughan (Vaughan Shoes:Sponsors) and Race Committee Chairman John Staunton. Pic:Trish Forde.

Donal Vaughan from said: “Sponsoring ladies day at Ballinrobe Racecourse is the perfect fit for us. Once again, we were overwhelmed with the turnout – it was brilliant to see all the ladies who made such an effort to dress-up and come to Ballinrobe this evening. Congratulations to Karen and all the finalists – they looked fantastic.”

At Ballinrobe Races, Best Dressed Lady was awarded to Karen Leonard from Corofin, pictured here reciving her prize from sponsor Donal Vaughan of Vaughan Shoes. Also pictured were Race Committee Chairman John Staunton and Mandy Maher of Catwalk Modelling Agency(Judge). Pic:Trish Forde.

Judge, Mandy Maher, owner of Catwalk Modelling Agency and stylist with Ireland AM, remarked: I had a brilliant evening at ladies day at Ballinrobe racecourse. I was blown away by the style. The attention to detail and the colour was exceptional and the headpieces particularly stood out for me, showing casing the amazing milliners we have in Ireland, particularly in the West of Ireland. I really struggled to short-list the 10 finalists from the huge turnout but I thought Karen ticked all the boxes. Her outfit was elegant and fresh and she really stood out for me.”

At Ballinrobe Races, finalists and winner of The Best Dressed Lady are pictured with Donal Vaughan of Vaughan Shoes, Sponsors, and Judge on the day Mandy Maher of Catwalk Modelling Agency:Left to right: Katie Curran(Athenry), Denise Manning(Oranmore), Julie Caulfield(Wexford), Michelle Manning(Ballinasloe), Donal Vaughan(Vaughan Shoes), Winner Karen Leonard(Corofin), Mandy Maher(Judge), Aoife Manning(Headford), Mary Butler(Galway City), Fiona Coleman(Shrule), Sarah McDermot(Newbridge), Susan Mannion(Castlebar). Pic:Trish Forde.
Winner at Ladies Day at Ballinrobe Races, of Best Dressed Lady , was Karen Leonard from Corofin. Pic:Trish Forde.

Fashion Stylist Mandy Maher to judge Ladies Day at Ballinrobe

€1,500 cash prize up for grabs

Details have been announced for the Best Dressed Lady Competition at Ballinrobe Racecourse on Monday June 24, the Ladies Day.  Mandy Maher of Catwalk Model Agency and fashion stylist on Ireland AM, will be guest judge, with the lucky winner scooping a cash prize of €1,500, plus goody bags for nine runners-up.

The Ladies Day at Ballinrobe is a hugely popular event, won last year by Galway girl Colleen Brady. Colleen wore a white off the shoulder trouser suit from Asos and her headpiece was by Galway-based milliner Edel Ramberg.

At Ballinrobe Races, winner of The Best Dressed Lady 2018 at Ladies Day was Colleen Brady from Mincloon, Galway. Pic:Trish Forde.

This will be the sixth year of sponsorship for local company, Vaughan Shoes, one of the leading shoe store chains in the west of Ireland, with shops in Ballinrobe, Claremorris and Castlebar.

Donal Vaughan of Vaughan Shoes, commented: “Once again we are delighted to sponsor the Ladies Day Best Dressed Competition at Ballinrobe Racecourse. It continues to grow in popularity every year and we are always blown away by the effort the ladies go to.  We’re looking forward to a great day on the 24th of June with John and all the team at Ballinrobe.”  

Mandy Maher with Laura Vaughan

John Flannelly, Manager of Ballinrobe Racecourse, said: “Ladies Day at Ballinrobe has become one of the highlights of the season with record crowds every year. We would like to thank our Ladies Day sponsor for their continued support and we look forward to another great evening here at Ballinrobe on June 24.”

The feature race is the Treacy’s Pharmacies Irish EBF Fillies Handicap valued at €25,000, with the first of a seven-race Flat card off at 5.50pm.   There will be live music by Streetwise in the Mask Pavilion after racing.

Raceday tickets can be purchased online at, or contact the office on 094-9541811, email:

At Ballinrobe Races, Finalists in the Best Dressed Lady 2018 at Ladies Day were:Left to right:Michela Manning (Ballinasloe), Karina Hynes(Sligo), Gemma McDonagh(Headford), Caroline Hennigan (Ballinrobe), Nicola Kelly (Roscommon), Winner was Colleen Brady(Mincloon, Galway), Fiona Coleman(Shrule), Lisa Griffin (Ballaghadereen), Ashling Hanley(Headford), Katie Duffy (Kilmovee). Pic:Trish Forde.