Regulator insists Curragh was not too quick after 16 withdrawals

Several trainers unhappy with the going at racecourse for 1,000 Guineas at the weekend

The Tattersalls Irish 1,000 GuineasSeamus Heffernan onboard Peaceful comes home to win the Tattersalls Irish 1,000 Guineas at the Curragh. Photograph: PA Wire

The Tattersalls Irish 1,000 GuineasSeamus Heffernan onboard Peaceful comes home to win the Tattersalls Irish 1,000 Guineas at the Curragh. Photograph: PA Wire

 

The Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board has dismissed suggestions the ground for Saturday’s Tattersalls Irish 1, 000 Guineas meeting at the Curragh was too quick.

A total of 16 withdrawals on Saturday’s card were officially due to the going which was good to firm.

That tally included three of the four non-runners in the fillies Classic which was won by the Aidan O’Brien trained Peaceful.

The 6-5 favourite Albigna could manage only sixth and her trainer Jessica Harrington attributed her performance to the ground. She afterwards reported the filly to be “a little bit sore”.

A number of trainers afterwards privately expressed disquiet about the state of the ground at the Curragh, in particular on parts of the round course.

One jockey with experience of riding internationally told The Irish Times the going was “very, very firm”. He also said it raised issues of equine welfare if horses were jarred up after running on it.

In response the IHRB rejected any welfare concerns and insisted the Curragh had achieved its “target going” of good to firm.

Different tracks in Ireland have different targets for achieving ideal ground conditions for flat racing.

“There were certainly no health and safety concerns. There was no issue that way,” said the IHRB spokesman, Niall Cronin.

“They started a watering programme [at the Curragh] three weeks in advance of the Guineas meeting. Last week, that watering took place with the weather forecast in mind. That was a forecast that predicted a lot of rain in stages, up to 20ml at times.

“It was good to firm on Friday evening and after Friday’s race-day, 10ml of watering was put on overnight.

“Obviously Saturday was a warm, sunny day. There was a drying wind and the ground was good to firm. It was quick good to firm.

“On the issue of withdrawals there were a number that used the excuse of ground. I think it’s probably unfair to say they were all due to ground conditions. Some of them could easily have been looking for the rain because they wanted it for their horse.

“A number of trainers did express satisfaction with the ground despite taking horses out. It just didn’t suit them. With so many horses you’re not going to be able to produce ground to please them all,” he added.

Dilemma

Ger Lyons, who landed a first Classic success with Siskin in Friday evening’s 2,000 Guineas, took Roca Roma out of the following day’s fillies Classic due to the going.

However, he said he had no complaints about the state of the ground on either day and pointed to the dilemma clerk of the course, Brendan Sheridan, faced.

“They were predicting up to 40ml by Sunday at one time so it’s one of those where you’re damned if you and damned if you don’t. If Brendan had put lots of water on and the rain came it would have been soft to heavy and you can’t have that,” he said.

“I’m not complaining. I wanted it quick for Siskin. I didn’t want any excuses. I was petrified of rain.

“As far as I’m concerned you declare, walk [the track] and if you’re not happy, shut up and walk away. There will still be seven or eight winners. That’s my take on it.

“It was quick. But nobody put a gun to anybody’s head and said they had to run. I supplemented one for the Guineas and took her out. That takes discipline. I’ve zero sympathy.

“You have to be disciplined. Shane [Lyons’s brother and assistant trainer] walks the track. If he says it’s good, it’s good. If it’s wrong, it’s wrong, simple as,” Lyons added.

The Co Meath trainer confirmed Siskin’s next target is the Sussex Stakes in Goodwood.

“We will take it one race at a time with him. But it’s fairly straightforward looking down that sort of road,” he said.

Separately, Siskin’s owner, Juddmonte Farms, have confirmed that breeding rights to the son of First Defence have been sold although it was not revealed to who. The colt will continue to race in the Juddmonte colours.

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