Belfast Telegraph

Friday 18 April 2014

Festival hero Roi Du Mee bids for big prize

Hang on: Richard Johnson has his hands full on board Duke Of Lucca  at Ascot
Hang on: Richard Johnson has his hands full on board Duke Of Lucca at Ascot

The Down Royal Festival's big winner Roi Du Mee – triumphant in the JNwine.com Champion Chase – will attempt to land the £112,000 Betfair Chase at Haydock today ahead of a crack at Cheltenham Festival glory.

And while one of racing's current stars is battling for the game's biggest prizes, Down Royal has been honouring one of the stars of the past.

Moscow Flyer, who earned €1,750,000 in prize money and had 13 Grade One chase triumphs, has been named as this year's Hoof of Fame recipient.

The Maze course rolled out the red carpet at the unveiling for an accolade which pays homage to the legendary horses who have galloped to victory at the track.

Moscow Flyer completed a hat-trick of wins at the course.

Punters have been voting in their thousands for the Jessica Harrington-trained Moscow Flyer – Queen Mother Champion Chase winner at the Cheltenham Festival in 2003 and 2005 – who fended off tough competition from previous winners of the Grade Two WKD Hurdle, Ned Kelly and Macs Joy.

That was the race won by Tony McCoy on his visit to the Down Royal Festival earlier this month.

The win took the Ulsterman's career tally to 3,992 and he smashed through the 4,000 barrier less than a week later.

McCoy, closing in on an amazing 19th successive champion jockey title, was at it again yesterday, bagging a double at Ffos Las with victories in the first two races on board Cloud Brook and Potters Cross, both for Rebecca Curtis.

Barry Geraghty won the opening two races at Ascot on Beat That and Top Of The Range, both for champion trainer Nicky Henderson, while Night Alliance won the feature with Duke Of Lucca runner-up.

Geraghty will partner Ulster-bred Bobs Worth in the Betfair Chase today despite suffering a nasty fall at Ascot.

The Meath rider took a heavy knock on his leg when Hammersly Lake came down in the Canaccord Genuity Handicap Hurdle, the jockey limping back to the weighing room. After a chat with trainer Henderson, Geraghty said: "I'm grand for tomorrow."

Chicquita, winner of last season's Irish Oaks, was sold to Peter and Ross Doyle Bloodstock for €6million at the Goffs November Sale in Kildare yesterday.

The three-year-old filly formed part of Australian owner-breeder Paul Makin's wholesale dispersal of his entire stock.

Chicquita won the Irish Oaks at the Curragh by half a length in July and also finished second to Arc heroine Treve in the French equivalent a month earlier.

Also amongst the Makin consignment was the 2009 July Cup winner Fleeting Spirit, who is in foal to Galileo and fetched €1.1million.

Song, the first mare in foal to Frankel on sale in Europe, went to John Egan for €1million.