KILBEGGAN’S FIRST RACE MEETING OF THE YEAR

In June 1995 Peter O’Hehir reported in The Irish Field “that after weeks of dead and depressing midweek action, Kilbeggan was like a different world last Monday, when a crowd of 5,500 thronged the enclosure to enjoy the track’s first meeting of 1995.The buzz is back”. In a very appropriate coincidence at the same meeting a young 21 y/o jockey called Anthony McCoy did his chances of getting the No 1 job at Martin Pipe’s Pond House Stable no harm, when winning his first ever Irish chase aboard Crogeen Lass (4/1) for local Midland’s trainer P.J.Casserley. Ironically, a young amateur Mr Timmy J.Murphy also rode the bumper winner that day before his career also led to Marin Pipes stable. Kilbeggan races always provides something new & different, which is why so many patron’s look forward to the opening meeting of the season. Anyone who loves National Hunt racing should make a new season resolution to attend Kilbeggan Races eight times between now and September. Racing kicks off next Friday 24th April at 5.15PM with a very good card.

A GREAT YEAR IN 2014

Kilbeggan Race Committee believes in the old adage that life is to be enjoyed and not endured. Last year was one of the most successful in modern times with an increase in those attending, especially for the July & August meetings. The fine weather brought a wonderful spread of age groups from babies to grannies, from teens to vintage veterans of racing, from families to friends, from tourists to travellers, all unified in having a good time. The place was alive with activity, glamour, fun, music and of course horse racing. Many useful horses ran in Kilbeggan this year including Galway winners Greatness & Lucky Pat (Dot Love) to Pink Hat, Bally Longford, Cailin Annamh, Queen Alphabet, Seefood etc. The remarkable Caim Hill won the Midlands National from Rivage D’Or and Fever Pitch to repeat his win of 2012. Rivage D’Or 16/1 went on to win the Glenfarclas Handicap Chase (Cross Country) at the Cheltenham Festival, even surprising Michael O’Leary his owner, who had tried to sell him a few months before. He had gone for lunch and didn’t look at the race until the last few furlongs but was delighted with his second win of the meeting. Another Cheltenham winner Cause of Causes had won his maiden hurdle at Kilbeggan.

FIRST MEETING OF THE YEAR

I remember a quote that “Leadership is doing what is right when no one is watching”. In this respect Manager Paddy Dunican and the staff have been working hard on improving the track over the winter & spring. Major work has been carried out on the bend on the far side of the track (called “Gannon’s Bend”) developing an additional 15 metres of racetrack , which will create a much better & safer surface for the horses and jockeys to race over. Owners, trainers and in particular the jockeys should appreciate this new development.

Next Friday three races are being sponsored in a 7 race card including a handicap hurdle of €9,500 sponsored by the Greville Arms; the mares Beginners Chase of €14,000 is being sponsored by the European Breeder’s Fund; and the Sean Hughes Memorial Mullingar Park Hotel Handicap Chase of €11,500 is generously sponsored by the Mullingar Park Hotel. The first meeting of the year always has a special place in the hearts of racegoers. It’s like the first warm sunny day of the year it gladdens the heart and raises the spirit. Arrive early, take in the atmosphere, and if you want a tip for the year remember that in 1995 seven horses won twice that year & maybe it could happen again in 2015? Like everyone who loves horse racing the Kilbeggan Executive wish A.P.McCoy the very best on his retirement and he will be missed.