Willie McCreery
Racehorse Trainer

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Performance Review
In Season Monthly Update. May 2017

Zamira, gunning for more blacktype this season.
Zamira, gunning for more blacktype this season.

THE first couple of months have the season are over and the good start we made is continuing thankfully. Our horses are running well and we are getting winners with the stats remaining positive.

So far this year we have 14 wins from different 10 horses, with Elm Grove, Bumbasina, Peticoatgovernment and Zamira all successful on two occasions. As well as our winners, the number of horses being placed is very strong too with 42 second, third and fourth places. When you add together our winners and placed horses we have 56 from 88 runners which is 64 percent. Almost two out of three horses are finishing in the money, which is a good statistic and pleasing but what would be even better would be getting more winners on the board.

I was delighted that Solar Halo made a winning seasonal reappearance at the Curragh last month. It was her first time in a handicap and she showed real tenacity to win. Solar Halo is a homebred for the Niarchos family from one of their great pedigrees and it was great to get that first win for her.

Bumbasina won her second race in as many runs when taking the mile median auction fillies’ race at Killarney on 16 May. It was the second year running that we have been successful in that race and it’s important for her owner-breeder Renzo Forni that he has bred two winners from the first two foals out of his mare New Plays.

Patuano put in a good performance at Cork three days later to make a winning start to her three-year-old season. The daughter of Choisir was successful in the five furlong three-year-old handicap and we could step her up to six furlongs in a handicap at Listowel on Sunday 4 June or go for a five furlong handicap at the Curragh on 11 June.

Vicky Cristina could join Patuano on the trip to Listowel for Sunday’s meeting and run in the median auction maiden for two-year-old fillies. Oaklodge, a three-year-old son of Sit Prancealot, who is owned by Downforce’s owner Donal Finnan might have his first start of the year in the seven furlong handicap at the north Kerry course.

Beaming has the option of a seven furlong maiden in Listowel on Sunday or wait for one in Gowran on Monday that I have also entered Belle Boyd for. She made an encouraging start to her racing career when third on her debut at Cork last month and both Godolphin fillies could take their chance on Monday. Marvellous Ways might join them in Gowran for the one mile and a furlong handicap on that card.

Zamira has been a fantastic purchase for John Malone from the Aga Khan’s draft at last year’s Goffs November Sale. She won her second race in a row when successful in a mile and a half handicap at Tipperary on 25 May. By New Approach, Zamira is a half-sister to a couple of listed winners and from the family of Zarkava so she has a fantastic pedigree. Zamira is in foal to Exceed And Excel but she still has some time left to race so we will do our best to get her some blacktype before she retires.

We had some nice performances at the Curragh on Guineas weekend and I was absolutely thrilled with Peticoatgovernment who ran an absolute blinder to finish second in the six furlong handicap on Saturday. I think that was the best performance of her career. She is stronger this year and loving her racing, she goes on any ground and I think she deserves to take her chance in the Group 3 Ballyogan Stakes at the Curragh on 12 June. Virtudes could also run in that race after winning nicely at Naas last time out.

Valentana made a big impression at the Curragh too, running a cracker to be third in the mile handicap on Sunday. There is a nice handicap for her in Fairyhouse in a couple of weeks or she could go for the fillies’ handicap back at the Curragh on 12 June, and hopefully after that we can look at getting blacktype for her.

I send a trio of runners to Navan on Saturday 3 June with Sweetest Taboo going for the apprentice handicap and young Nathan Crosse. She was third over the course and distance with Billy Lee last month but Nathan also rode her to be third in an apprentice handicap at Naas on 1 May. Mauricio will run in the three-year-old maiden and he represents the same connections as Patuano.

Perle De La Mer was fourth in a Group Three on her last start and I would hope the daughter of Born To Sea will go well in the mile contest at Navan on Saturday for her owner-breeder Anne Marie Burns.

Lovemenot and Snow Star are two nicely bred Godolphin fillies who were both placed in maidens on their latest runs. I would hope to get wins with both of them soon but Snow Star is ground dependent and needs good ground I would think. The five furlong maiden at the Curragh on Saturday 10 June might suit Snow Star if the ground was right for her and I will enter Realt Rua, owned by the Irish National Stud’s Racing and Breeding Club, in that race too.

The five furlong premier handicap on that card could suit a number of our horses if the ground conditions are right and mile and a quarter fillies’ maiden might be the right race for Covetous to start her season off. She is a three-year-old daughter of Queen Mary winner Jealous Again owned by Godolphin who had just the one run last year, in a maiden won by dual 1000 Guineas winner Winter.

On Sunday 11 June, the Listed Silver Stakes over ten furlongs that I might think about for Elm Grove who has won twice already this year for owner – breeder John Malone. The season has started very well for John with both his mares winning twice so far and it would be nice if we could get blacktype for Elm Grove too.

Our farrier Brendan has been busy here and he is in and out putting racing plates on the horses, taking them off after they’ve been to the track and putting work shoes back on. He was here on Wednesday fitting Cool Colonnade with his first ever set of racing plates. Cool Colonnade is a three-year-old gelding by Requinto, owned by John Donohue, and he made his debut at Fairyhouse on Thursday night. Brendan shoes the horses with their racing plates the day before they are due to race, and he particularly enjoys working with the two-year-olds who are getting their first set of plates!

There has been an awful lot of talk and debate about the arrangements at the Curragh especially after the Guineas weekend. On the positive side, the track is in great order and that is because there hasn’t been racing on it from the start of the season and also because you haven’t got 150 horses working on it after racing either.

However the same cannot be said for the rest of the course. The facilities for owners and trainers are farcical, an absolute joke and it doesn’t appear as if the facilities and space offered to racegoers are any better. People should not have to pay to go racing with the level of facilities and conditions offered at the Curragh, they should be let in for free.

On the racing side of things, Churchill is a fantastic horse and a fantastic-looking one too, trained by a master in Aidan O’Brien. The rest of us are trailing behind him. People may say that he gets the best-bred horses but he still has to produce them on the track and he does.

Kildare need to produce the goods on Saturday in their first outing of the Leinster Championship. Laois put up a good score against Longford in their first game of the championship but this is a match you would expect Kildare to win, not that they always do what is expected of them. A bit like one or two horses I have known!

Performance Review