Francis Meynell in line for Doncaster following sparkling debut

By Sports Desk August 31, 2023

Francis Meynell could be immediately upped in grade at Doncaster’s St Leger Festival having made a successful introduction at Navan.

Michael O’Callaghan’s speedily-bred Blue Point youngster cost 125,000 guineas at the breeze-up sales earlier in the year and went some way to justifying that price-tag with a taking display in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Maiden.

Sent immediately to the front by Leigh Roche, he barely saw another rival as he defied inexperience to produce an ultra-professional performance and register a running-on three-quarters of a length success at 8-1.

His trainer was suitably impressed and is now eyeing a trip to Town Moor on September 15 for the Carlsberg Danish Pilsner Stakes, the Group Two contest most commonly known as the Flying Childers.

“He’s a horse I’ve taken my time with. He’s quite enthusiastic at home so we went back to basics with him and we’ve slowly let him get himself ready for this,” said O’Callaghan.

“He’s going to improve plenty. It’s more so his mind that made him look so professional today, but I think he’ll improve a lot from what he’s done at home.

“It looked like a good race on paper beforehand and Leigh said he thought that he was only in second gear.

“I thought if he was able to win his maiden today and he looked nice that I might pitch him into something like the Flying Childers.

“He’s quick, he’d get six furlongs I’d say, but he has a lot of speed and there is no point trying to tame it.

“I not trying to talk him up but I honestly don’t know where the bottom of him is.”

Earlier on the card Aidan O’Brien’s Pop Star (100-30) highlighted his potential when downing 1-3 favourite Yosemite Valley to shed his maiden tag at the third time of asking.

Off the track since finishing second at Navan just over a year ago, the son of Sioux Nation showed plenty of pace to make up for lost time and potentially earn a shot at something bigger and better next time.

“We thought a bit of him last year and he got a setback, he’s missed a lot of time off the track,” said winning rider Seamie Heffernan.

“Pat Martin trained the mother, she was very genuine and she won a heap of races.

“In the last 20 yards was quite green but I was more than happy with him.

“He’s quick, five or six furlongs. If he gets seven furlongs, he’s definitely a stakes horse.”

Also on course for a sterner test in his next outing is Michael Mulvaney’s Bid For Chester (7-2) who thrived dropping back in trip to break his duck at the fifth attempt in the Navan Racecourse Nursery Handicap.

“He fired a warning shot the other day and Chris came in a said he was a bit green when he went for him,” said Mulvany.

“When he came through them today the hill suited him.

“Hopefully now he’ll go to the sales race, the Goffs Sportman’s Challenge in Naas on September 14th. That was the plan all year.”

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    In a press conference on Monday addressing the abandoned races, SVREL Executive Chairman Solomon Sharpe expressed frustration with the rule, highlighting its potential impact on the racing industry.

    "This rule, unique to Jamaica, imposes a strict five-minute limit after the published post time for races at Caymanas Park," Sharpe stated. "It fails to account for various factors that can delay race starts and penalizes all stakeholders when races are abandoned, affecting punters, jockeys, grooms, trainers, owners, promoters, and the government."

    Last year, Caymanas Park contributed over $260 million in combined taxes to the government's coffers. Sharpe urged the JRC to engage SVREL in discussions on Rule 44, emphasizing the need for constructive dialogue to address the rule's impact.

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    Sharpe concluded by appealing to regulators, stakeholders, and the public to support the growth of the horseracing industry in Jamaica. "Horseracing has immense potential in Jamaica and can become a significant foreign exchange earner. Realizing this potential requires collaboration among all stakeholders."

    SVREL has been operating Caymanas Park since March 2017 after the government divested the property. With investments exceeding J$4 billion in product enhancements and innovations like the Mouttet Mile, which boasts the largest purse in the English-speaking Caribbean, SVREL remains committed to advancing the horseracing experience in Jamaica.

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