News Weatherbys General Stud Book Irish EBF Mares Flat Race (Grade 3

Weatherbys General Stud Book Irish EBF Mares Flat Race (Grade 3


16 mares were initially entered for this year’s Weatherbys-sponsored mares bumper at the Punchestown Festival and pleasingly, 13 have stood their ground at declaration stage, for what will be the sixth renewal of the Grade 3 contest.

Willie Mullins has won the race three times – with Augusta Kate winning the inaugural running (2016, when it was a Listed event), Colreevy successful in 2018 and Grangee winning last year – and the trainer is responsible for four of this year’s 13 runners. Patrick Mullins has opted to partner Pink In The Park, who finished just ahead of stable-mate Nikini when runner-up in the Listed Total Enjoyment Bumper at Fairyhouse, a race which was won by Gypsy Island before she won this race in 2019. Pink In The Park travelled best that day, under Jody Townend, and looked the likeliest winner off the home bend. Eventually beaten 1¼ lengths by Dorans Weir (more of her shortly), she is likely to appreciate this sharper test. Nikini was ½-a-length further away in third, whilst another from Closutton, Eabha Grace was beaten 13½ lengths into sixth and looks to be up against it here.
The fourth and final Mullins-trained runner is the once-raced True Light, who created a good impression when winning at Tramore earlier this month. The daughter of Great Pretender is a half-sister to the useful French Light, although this is a fairly big ask on just her second racecourse appearance. Looking at the previous five winners of this race, experience – and experience at a decent level – has been evident, so Pink In The Park might well be the pick of the Mullins quartet.
The aforementioned Dorans Weir stayed on strongly at Fairyhouse and is a six-year-old with four runs to her name (four of the five previous winners had run in either three or four bumpers previously). A winner on good ground at Thurles in December, she then got to within ½-a-length of subsequent Albert Bartlett winner The Nice Guy (runs earlier on Wednesday’s card in the Grade 1 Irish Mirror Novice Hurdle) at Leopardstown over Christmas. Given a mid-season break, she returned – from a 95-day break – to win at Fairyhouse and clearly copes well with a decent surface. Michael Hourigan’s daughter of Fame And Glory ought to run another big race.
Two previous winners – Colreevy and Grangee – had contested the Grade 2 mares event at the Dublin Racing Festival earlier in the season and that race was won this year by Lily du Berlais, who narrowly denied Battling Bessie in a bunch finish (won by a nose). The aforementioned pairing of Pink In The Park and Nikini finished fifth and sixth respectively, whilst the form was given a boost when fourth home Ashroe Diamond won the Grade 2 at Aintree in taking fashion earlier this month. The third home won next time, too – albeit at a much lower level – so that form looks fairly strong and as a consequence, the pair warrant serious consideration, despite the fact that both mares were sent off at big odds. Of the duo, Peter Fahey’s runner-up travelled really well and looked the likeliest winner when hitting the front, off the home bend. She might have got tired in the ground and will have little trouble in coping with the likely sounder surface.   
Battling Bessie has also twice hit the frame in Listed company, finishing a well-beaten second behind American Mike (another who runs earlier on the same card, in the Grade 1 bumper) on her penultimate start and prior to that, had finished 3¾ lengths behind The Model Kingdom. Noel Meade’s daughter of Aizavoski had earlier won at Galway on debut and showed a good turn of foot to shoot clear at Navan, before fending off Harmonya Maker by 1½ lengths. The runner-up won easily next time, before finishing seventh in the Grade 2 at the Dublin Racing Festival and fourth in the aforementioned Listed race which was won by Dorans Weir. Presumably saved for better ground, she looks a very bright prospect and should not be overlooked, despite the 157 day break. Given the pace she showed to put the race to bed last time, this sharper test could be ideal.
Of the remainder, Beyond Ambitious and Carrig Carol are maidens, whilst Hi Stranger boasts plenty of experience and Miss Fourie arrives in County Kildare on the back of a 4-length success at Limerick, on what was her first start for trainer Gavin Cromwell.
The four-year-old filly Jetara completes the field and although the youngest runner in the race and one of the least-experienced (along with True Light), she boasts a lovely pedigree and won what appeared to be a competitive race at Fairyhouse on debut recently. Jessica Harrington’s daughter of Walk In The Park is out of Jelan, a full-sister to 2014 Champion Hurdle winner Jezki, and hails from a family of bumper winners. Despite that winning debut coming over 2m4f, she is bred to have the speed for this shorter trip and Jamie Codd is an eye-catching booking.