Trainer Tim Doyle, owner/breeder Claire Doyle and winning jockey Cian Quirke with Metamorpheus at Punchestown. PHOTO: PATRICK MCCANN/RACING POST

Hogan holds opponents to Ransom at Dundalk

Tim Doyle and Cian Quirke shared the first winner at Punchestown on Monday week last as Metamorpheus scored an easy success in the two-mile maiden hurdle.

Owned and bred by the trainer’s wife Claire, the 14/1 chance led shortly after jumping the final flight and raced clear to win by five lengths from the Denis Hogan-trained Almuhit.

Jake Coen rode his first winner of the new year when taking the eight-furlong handicap on the Shane Crawley-trained Iva Feeling at Dundalk on Wednesday. In the trainer’s own colours, the favourite led just before the furlong pole to score by two lengths from the John McConnell-trained Mulgrave.

Gavin Ryan joined Coen as a first-time winner in 2023 when teaming up with Meath trainer Keith Clarke to take the opening division of the six-furlong handicap with 6/1 shot Kuwait Direction. The six-year-old led over a furlong from the finish and held the determined No Speed Limit by three-parts of a length.

Willie Browne won the concluding seven-furlong conditions’ race with the Seamie Heffernan-ridden Stormy Entry. A strong chance, the three-year-old led early in the straight and battled well to see off the Adrian Murray-trained Miami Thunder by half a length.

Hollyford jockey Joey Sheridan gave Mullingar’s Ciaran Murphy his second winner of the week as Stardayz scored a narrow win in the second division of the eight-furlong handicap at Dundalk on Friday. The five-year-old battled well to pip the David Marnane-trained Jered Maddox by a short-head in the colours of the Zoom Buddies Syndicate.

The Denis Hogan-trained Ransom was next into the winners’ enclosure as he also landed a handicap over the same eight-furlong trip. Daniel King had a far easier time on the strong favourite which readily brushed aside the Johnny Murtagh-trained Final Voyage to win by a length and a quarter for owner Liam Mulryan.

Nathan Crosse and Luke Comer took the fillies’ maiden over the same distance with Angel Above. It was tight all the way up the straight but the 12/1 chance battled well to gain a definite advantage inside the final furlong and win by a neck from the Willie McCreery-trained Lily Maguire.

Rachael Blackmore and Henry de Bromhead were on the mark at Thurles on Sunday where Belle The Lioness took the auction maiden hurdle. Victory for the strong odds-on favourite, owned by Michelle Doyle and Sean Barton, didn’t come in perhaps the manner her supporters envisaged and the six-year-old was all out to hold off the late surge of the Michael Grassick-trained Mollys Glory by half a length. Connections will now let their winner take her chance in the mares’ novices’ hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.

Upcoming Meetings

Fairyhouse – Wednesday, January 25 (First Race 12.53)

Gowran Park – Thursday, January 26 (First Race 1.05pm)

Dundalk – Friday, January 27 (First Race 4.30pm)

Fairyhouse – Saturday, January 28 (First Race 12.26pm)

Naas – Sunday, January 29 (First Race 1.20pm)