Fakir D'Oudairies winner of the Grade 2 JCB Triumph Trial Juvenile Hurdle at Cheltenham

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 JJ Slevin riding Fakir D’Oudairies clear the last to win the JCB Triumph Trial Juvenile Hurdle at Cheltenham Racecourse. Photograph: Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images

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Fakir D'Oudairies hoses up at Cheltenham

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At The Races(Sky Sports Racing)




Denwork wins his novice hurdle

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There was a second winner on the day at Down Royal for Gigginstown House Stud when the Joseph O'Brien-trained Denwork (11/2) triumphed in the Cash Out On Horse Racing Multiples At BetVictor Rated Novice Hurdle.

Gigginstown also had Invincible Cave (6s into 9/2) in the mix but he could manage only sixth as Denwork did it well from the front.

With first-time cheek-pieces, Denwork, a grey son of Network, asserted from before the last under Rachael Blackmore and he disposed of the challenge of Count Simon by six and a half lengths.

"Joseph put on the cheek-pieces today and I think they helped him a lot" said Blackmore.

"Out in front too he was doing his own thing - he's been there or thereabouts so it's great to get one with him.

"He had a nice run the last day in Navan over two seven. The drop back in trip today maybe helped him a little bit.

"Joseph's horses are in fantastic order and it's great to get the leg-up on one.

"I'd say he'll be fine to step back up in trip. I'm sure Jospeh will put him in the right race anyway and I'd say he's versatile enough.

"The fact that he's got his head in front now should build his confidence. The form was there and one of these was ever only going to be around the corner.


Konitho another fascinating 4 year old for Joseph

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The bookmakers knew all about it when the four-year-old Fakir D'oudairies won at Cheltenham yesterday for Joseph O'Brien and J J Slevin and they were on the receiving end from the same combination in the Naas opener today with Konitho.

The market move for Konitho in the BetVictor Maiden Hurdle was on a lesser scale, but those that backed the French-import from 11/1 into 8/1 were really on point.

O'Brien's sister Sarah owns the grey son of Konig Turf, and he impressed with his hurdling through the two miler.

He did make a slight mistake at the last but he had the upper hand at that stage, asserting away to beat Lethal Steps by five lengths.

O'Brien also supplied the third home, Star Max (mistake last), a length and a half further back.

“He was working well at home but it was a bit of a surprise that he won like that. J J said he jumped fantastic and he felt comfortable all the way. He’s a fine big horse and his three runs in France were a big help today," said the winning trainer.

“Its early days but he’ll have to have an entry in the Triumph.”

“We’ll run as many as we can at Leopardstown, and there is also a Graded race at Fairyhouse so we’ll see how things are after that.”


Fakir D'Oudairies wins the Grade 2 JCB Triumph Trial Juvenile Hurdle at Cheltenham 

Fakir D'Oudairies hoses up at Cheltenham

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Fakir D'Oudairies moved to the head of Sky Bet's ante-post market for the JCB Triumph Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival after dominating his rivals in the opening race at Prestbury Park on Saturday.

Having made a winning debut for Joseph O'Brien at Cork three weeks ago, the French recruit was a well-supported 4-1 chance as he stepped up to Grade Two level in a Triumph Hurdle trial in the hands of JJ Slevin.

The son of Kapgarde hassled 5-4 favourite Adjali up front for much of the two-mile-one-furlong journey before easing his way into the lead racing down the hill.

it was clear rounding the home turn that he had his rivals on the stretch and he safely negotiated the final flight to seal a most impressive 13-length victory.

The winner's stable companion Fine Brunello stuck to his task well to beat Adjali to the runner-up spot and provide O'Brien with a one-two.

Slevin said: "That was great and he had a good win in Cork the last day. He has obviously come on for that and he had loads of experience in France.

"They didn't hang around. They went a nice, even gallop he travelled very comfortably and jumped well. I didn't realise I had won that far, but he did it well.

"I'd say he is probably better with a bit of juice in the ground, but it is a long way from being winter ground out there today and he handled it fine.

 "Back here in the spring time, I'm sure the ground will be plenty safe enough for him."

Sky Bet reacted by cutting Fakir D'Oudairies to 6/1 favourite from 12/1 for the JCB Triumph Trial at Cheltenham next month.


Altair wins on debut to give Joseph a treble

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Trainer Joseph O'Brien completed a treble at Dundalk today as his Altair made a taking winning debut in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF (Fillies) Maiden, scoring under jockey Shane Crosse.

The daughter of Australia, bred by the O'Brien family's Whisperview Trading Ltd, missed the break and was last and under pressure with two furlong to race. However Altair quickened impressively inside the final furlong and in the end moved past Paris Duvet close home, for a half length success.

Crosse currently leads the All-Weather Jockeys' Championship with this his 10th winner, three clear of nearest pursuer Declan McDonogh, and following the race said “it took her a while to get into the race and she ran a bit green in the first half but once the penny dropped and I got a bit of a run she came home well.

“There is not a whole pile of her but she has a really good attitude and that was half the battle today.

“They went a good gallop and I was struggling to keep tabs with the main bunch of the field but once I got a crack into her she was really good.”


Colfer Me gives Joseph a double

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Colfer Me continued his rise through the handicap ranks with a second career success at Dundalk this evening, providing his trainer Joseph O'Brien with a double in the Phone Alarms Handicap.

The son of Canford Cliffs got off the mark when winning on handicap debut at the Curragh in September from a mark of 69 and while he had failed to win in five subsequent runs, finished second on his latest two starts meaning he raced, and made all, to win from a rating of 85 today.

Afterwards winning jockey Shane Foley stated “it wasn’t really the plan to make the running but he jumped smart and there was nothing else to go on but he seemed to enjoy himself.

“He wasn’t doing a stroke and went around with one ear pricked but when I gave him a squeeze there was a good bit in the tank.”

Trainer O'Brien wasn't present but won the opening Rated Race with Stronghold.


Stronghold gets Joseph off to the perfect start

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Stronghold justified even money favouritism to win the opening Irishinjuredjockeys.com Rated Race at Dundalk today for trainer Joseph O'Brien and jockey Seamie Heffernan.

The son of Teofilo filled the runner-up spot on handicap debut at the venue last Friday and today went one placing better when beating California Lad by a neck.

Heffernan later said “Joseph said he was a bit of a slow learner but he ran well the last night. He got the mile and a half, and if he goes back to a mile and a quarter he can step on the gas a bit earlier.

“He’s a staying horse and he’s straight forward.”


Chess Grand Master wins on all weather debut

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Joseph O'Brien sent out a record amount of winners for the calendar year at Dundalk in 2018 and he extended his lead at the top of the Winter All Weather series when Chess Grand Master (9s out to 12/1) won the opening Racing TV Maiden.

Favourite Black Noah (evens) did too much from the front and eventually faded into seventh, whilst Wayne Lordan's patient approach paid dividends on the successful Rugby & Racing Syndicate-owned Galileo gelding.

Denis Hogan's stable debutant With A Start ran very well but he had to yield by half a length to Chess Grand Master.

Cj Cregg (10s into 5s) was the gamble of the contest, and he had every chance before eventually finishing two lengths back in third.

A bumper winner at Sligo in August 2017, Chess Grand Master had run only once previously on the Flat and this was his initial effort on the polytrack.

“He's won well. I don't know how strong of a maiden it was but he's a bumper winner so he had some bit of ability,” said Lordan.

“He handled the surface well and got to the line well.

“Joseph said that he was a smashing horse, very straight-forward. He just said 'keep in the back of your mind that he hasn't run in a long time'.

“It probably wasn't the strongest race but we went a good even gallop which was going to play into my hands because he stays very well. He's a grand horse going forward.”

For the Winter All Weather 2018/19 it's now Joseph O'Brien at the top on 11, 3 ahead of nearest pursuer Michael Halford on 8.


Sir Erec is heading to the Dublin racing festival 

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Sir Erec is on course to return to Leopardstown for the Tattersalls Ireland Spring Juvenile Hurdle on February 3.

The two-mile contest is the first of four Grade Ones on the second day of the Dublin Racing Festival and Sir Erec will be well fancied to follow up his successful hurdling debut at the Foxrock track last month.

Sir Erec won a Curragh maiden and a Listed prize at Limerick when trained on the Flat by Aidan O’Brien and his new handler Joseph O’Brien is hopeful his charge will progress from his first start over jumps.

“He jumped well enough, but there’s no doubt he will have to jump better going forward,” O’Brien said at the Dublin Festival launch at Leopardstown on Wednesday.

“It looked a very competitive race at Leopardstown last time — a huge field — and there was strong word for the horse that finished second (Tiger Tap Tap), but my fellow toughed it out well to the line.”


Uisce Beatha flies home late to win the 14:45 Beginners Chase At Fairyhouse

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The J.P. McManus owned, Joseph O'Brien trained Uisce Beatha (12/1) came from well off the pace before winning the John Lynch Memorial EBF Beginners Chase at Fairyhouse today, under jockey J.J. Slevin.

The son of Yeats had plenty to do turning into the home straight but quickened well from the second last fence and in the end moved past leader Impact Factor on the run-in before scoring a two lengths win over that rival.

McManus' racing manager Frank Berry later said “he was sticky enough for the first mile but he warmed up to it.

“He came home well and liked the ground. He finished off the race well.

“He's not the scopiest but he's getting the hang of things. We'll find a little handicap for him down the road.”


Numerian breaks his Maiden tag at Dundalk 

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The subject of support earlier in the day, Numerian (5s out to 8s) was easier to back on track but he still delivered in the Lengthen The Odds With BetVictor Maiden (Plus 10 Race) at Dundalk.

Wayne Lordan rode the son of Holy Roman Emperor for Ann Marie O'Brien and her son Joseph, and on his first outing for six weeks the three-year-old made it third time lucky.

Numerian has progressed from run to run and the home bred came through from mid-division to get on top inside the last for a half length and neck verdict over Unabridged and Lord Wimbourne.

“He’s a lovely big horse, and is still a bit raw. He went through the race on and off the bridle, and even when he got there he had a good look around. He’s a horse that is going to improve plenty," said Lordan.

“I’d never sat on him before but Joseph said he was a fine horse and can race a bit backward. He finished out the race well.”


Punches Cross gets up in the shadow of the post

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Favourite backers had plenty of moments of concern in the two mile handicap chase but ultimately Punches Cross got up in the closing stages.

The 2/1 shot was still fourth jumping the last but soon made headway to dispute second.

In a three-way go for the line, he stayed on best on the inside to get up by a head from Quamino (9/1). Arvico Bleu, who led over the last, was a short head away in third.

Joseph O’Brien said: “Mark gave him a great ride. He didn’t jump as well today as he did here the last time. He missed the first couple and the last but it was a good competitive race and there wasn’t much in it.

“We’ll find something similar for him.”


Fakir D'oudairies wins on debut for Joseph

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His stable companion Write It Down was one of three non-runners in the Buy Tickets Online Maiden Hurdle and first reserve Fakir D'Oudairies took his opportunity for Joseph O'Brien and J J Slevin in race two at Cork.

The M L Bloodstock Limited-owned French import was backed into 11/4 from 7/2 on track and bigger earlier and he proved too strong for favourite Fast Buck (9/4) from before the last.

In the testing ground the successful Kapgarde gelding stayed on powerfully for a three and a half length verdict with Discordantly two lengths back in third.

Discordantly's Jessica Harrington-trained stable companion Emily Moon was well-backed - 8/1 into 9/2 - but she could manage only fifth.

"His form was ok in France and he had plenty experience. He was green early on but was rusty as he hadn't run in a good while," reported Slevin.

"He is hardy and a good solid horse for a race like that and he'll go further and will appreciate it softer as well."


Roger That breaks his Maiden

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"He's a lovely horse. He had a lovely run on his first run when he was just a bit green and then a good run here. Joseph (O'Brien) thought he would go close and he was spot on," reported Seamie Heffernan after winning the BetVictor Maiden on Roger That (5/1).

It's unusual to see the O'Briens and Heffernan in opposition against the navy Magnier silks but on this occasion they relegated them to the runner-up spot as Fozzy Stack's Empire Line (7/4 into 11/8 favourite) finished second to Roger That at a distance of half a length.

It was a neck then to Pass The Vino (7s out to 9s) in third.

On being strong at the finish after a promising run over a furlong further last time Heffernan reflected: "It's unusual if the Piltown horses don't finish. They are in good form."


Castle Oliver gets Joseph off to a winning start in 2019

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After a rough passage, Castle Oliver (5/2) swooped late to take the bumper in Fairyhouse by a neck for Joseph O'Brien and Derek O'Connor.

He got badly squeezed for room between horses approaching the home turn and soon came under a drive in sixth from O'Connor.

He still had plenty to do in the final quarter of a mile but responded to O'Connor's urgings to put a sustained challenge together and get up in the final strides.

Chef Afef had to settle for second at 12/1, a short head in front of fellow 12/1 shot Battle Of Midway.

Joseph O’Brien said: “He’s a lovely big horse and had a nice run first time out. We thought he’d come a bit from that and it was nice to see him go win his bumper.

“He won’t be spending too long in bumpers. He’s a stayer. They went slow and then they got a rush of blood, and Derek came back at them late.

“I don’t know if he’ll run again and we might have him go novice hurdling next year.”

Joseph's 2 horses Equitant and Kings Field on the way to the track at Meydan