Williamson is in top form


Norman Williamson enjoyed a profitable weekend at home with four winners, a double on Saturday at Navan being followed by two more at Punchestown yesterday. Successful for Edward O'Grady twice at Navan, Williamson was back in the winner's enclosure at Punchestown when 10 to 1 chance Feathered Leader came back to form in the Masterchefs Hurdle for Arthur Moore.

Williamson had won on Feathered Leader over fences at the Punchestown Festival in May, and the horse travelled strongly for him on his return to the smaller obstacle to hit the front close home.

"He will probably go back over fences, possibly in the Thomas Pink Chase at Cheltenham next month and then perhaps over two miles and six furlongs around Liverpool," said Moore.

Williamson also came fast and late at the finish of the Beechwood Handicap Hurdle to complete his 142 to 1 double on Lisard River, owned and trainer in Kerry by Tom Cooper.

Ruby Walsh continued his tremendous recent run of success when partnering Bushman's River, trained by his father Ted, to a bloodless victory in the Kilbegnet EBF Novice Chase.

The five-year-old gelding was left clear after Woodchester took a fatal fall at the fourth-last fence, and brought down the 11 to 8 favourite Quintus.

Walsh, recording his eighth win in the last seven racing days, was left to pop his mount over the final three fences to come home a distance clear of Mohera King.

David Hanley intends putting Coney Kitty into the Irish 1,000 Guineas at the second entry stage in December after the daughter of Lycius gained a hard-earned victory in the featured Entrepreneur Stakes at Cork on Saturday.

Niall McCullagh gave her a strong ride to hold off Keats by three-quarters of a length in the listed race, with Saying Grace, not enjoying the clearest of passages, a further head back in third.

"She is a nice big filly, and may get a mile on good ground next year. I will put her into the Irish 1,000 Guineas at the second entry stage in December," said the Curragh trainer afterwards.

Irene Oakes recorded the biggest success of her eight-year training career when Ducky Divey swooped late under Pat Shanahan to land the £30,000 Goffs Autumn Bonus.

The Elbio gelding was driven along over two furlongs out before sprouting wings on the stands side to head Momentum Player inside the final 100 yards for a length victory.

"He needed the run on his debut at the Curragh last month, and has improved a lot in his homework since," said Ms Oakes, who has 10 two-year-olds in training. She added: "He cost just £1,200, and loves soft ground."

Sunshine Cabs eventually finished last of the three remaining runners, having been remounted after unseating Bobby McNally at the last. "He jumped great, and was certainly a lot better than at Ballinrobe last month," said Walsh senior afterwards.

The Thomas Pink Gold Cup at Cheltenham next month is a possible target for Feathered Leader, who successfully reverted to minor obstacles in the Masterchefs At Punchestown Hurdle. Arthur Moore's charge needed a strong drive from Norman Williamson to head Miners Run after the last, and the trainer remarked afterwards: "He is a good horse on good ground but will probably need to travel to England to get it over the winter. He may run in the Thomas Pink, while a two mile and six furlong race over the National fences at Aintree is another possibility."

Williamson, who also partnered two winners at Navan on Saturday, later completed a double when Lisard River led close home to take the Beechwood Handicap Hurdle, and provided one lucky jackpot punter with a dividend of £12,040.

Unbeaten colt Okawango ended the four-year Anglo-Irish stranglehold in Longchamp's Group One Grand Criterium when beating Aidan O'Brien's pair, King's County and Honours List, into second and third place yesterday.

However King's County, beaten a length, may have finished nearer the Cirquette Head-trained winner had his rider Olivier Peslier not dropped his whip half a furlong out. The Olivier Doleuze-ridden winner, who started the 22 to 10 favourite, has now won all three career starts.

O'Brien said afterwards: "Both my horses ran well but all the rain in the morning did not help. Depending upon how they come out of the race, both might run again this season."

Eddie Ahern once again starred at Taby when riding True Lover to win the £44,000 Swedish St Leger yesterday afternoon. He had earlier won on the odds-on Shaisa. Both winners are trained by Wido Neuroth.

The 12-year-old Peruan completed a hat-trick of wins in the Velka Pardubicka at Pardubice yesterday.

Henry Cecil is set to run both Epsom Oaks winner Love Divine and Shiva in next Saturday's Dubai Champion Stakes provided there is sufficient give in the ground at Newmarket.

He will saddle the high-class female pair in the Group One contest.

But riding plans have yet to be determined for the mile-and-a-quarter contest, which Cecil won previously with the fillies Indian Skimmer and Bosra Sham.