Colreevy Leads Big Race Double For Flemensfirth

Colreevy (6m Flemensfirth - Poetics Girl, by Saddler’s Hall) showed grit and talent when taking the Grade 1 Champion Bumper on the second day of the Punchestown Festival.

Winner of the Grade 3 Mares’ Bumper at the 2018 Festival, she did not return to the track until April, when finishing third in a Listed Mares’ Bumper at Fairyhouse. Now racing against the boys, Wednesday also saw her enjoy a change of tactics, as Jamie Codd rode the Willie Mullins-trained mare to lead the field of ten. She extended her advantage over two furlongs from home, where Codd lost the addition of his whip, leaving him to drive out his mount under hands and heels and deny the favourite Abacadabras by a length.

Mullins afterwards confirmed that Niall Flynn’s homebred winner would next be seen over hurdles, over which her half-brother Runfordave was twice placed at Graded level, while their half-brother Spider Web produced a career-best performance to win the Munster National.

Completing a big race double on the day for Flemensfirth was British raider O O Seven (9g Flemensfirth - Kestral Heights, by Eagle Eyed), winner of the valuable Grade A Guinness Handicap Chase.

The Nicky Henderson-trained bay boasted good form over course and distance, his sole attempt in 2016 seeing him finish second in the Grade 1 Champion Novice Hurdle. Now ridden by Nico de Boinville, he led from the first fence and was joined by Livelovelaugh at the fourth last, waiting until the second last to dip into hidden reserves and stayed on well on the flat to beat the challenger by two and a half lengths.

Nicky Henderson, who trains the winner for Christopher and Bridget Hanbury, later commented, “It was a great performance. He's been to Cheltenham and ran a great race in the Topham. This horse really does festivals.”

The now eight-time winner was bred by Robert McCarthy of the Beeches Stud, also home to Flemensfirth. A €130,000 store buy, O O Seven is out of a winning half-sister to Irish Cambridgeshire Handicap winner Any Song and to the dam of Grade 1 winning hurdler Cardinal Hill.