The Francois Nicolle-trained OTCHOA ROUGE (Diamond Boy) defied a long lay-off to run out a comfortable winner of the Prix Etienne Balsan at Compiegne on Wednesday.
Placed on both his previous starts, the bay was last seen chasing home Adjali last April, with the winner since placed in two Grade 1 contests. On his latest start, he led from the final flight and was pushed out by Gaetan Masure to score by three lengths.
Owned by Madame Patrick Papot and bred by X. Leredde, Otchoa Rouge is closely related to Oliver Sherwood’s five-time winner Rouge Et Blanc and is a half-brother to the same owner’s Listed winner Red Name.
PRECIOUS CARGO continued a terrific week for Kilbarry Lodge Stud when running out an impressive winner of the two mile Novices’ Hurdle at Sandown on Friday.
Sent off favourite for his winning hurdle debut in January, the Nicky Henderson-trained colt was once again ridden by Nico de Boinville. Held up in midfield, the six-year-old made good progress from three out and led soon after, drawing clear with minimum fuss to score by eight lengths on the line.
Henderson commented after the race, “Precious Cargo is a fine beast and a bit of a bruiser of a horse and he’s just messing around over hurdles this season, but it is exciting to think what he could do over a fence. He could be a Cheltenham horse this time next year but at the moment he still has a lot to learn.”
The Thomas Barr-owned gelding was bred Con O’Keeffe and is a half-brother to Embittered, who finished third in a Grade 2 bumper last month. Their dam, Kilbarry Classic (Classic Cliche), won a bumper herself and is a granddaughter of Listed hurdle winner Tropical Lake.
KILBARRY CALLING made it two winners in three days for the Con O’Keeffe stable when taking the EBF Mares Beginners Chase at Thurles on Thursday.
The Kilbarry-bred mare finished a close second at Leopardstown on Monday and dropped back in trip to two miles and two furlongs on her latest start. Tracking the leader under Davy Russell, she jumped well throughout and led from the third last fence. Pushed out in the straight, she held off a challenge by A Girl Like Me to win by three parts of a length, with another seven and a half lengths back to the third horse.
O’Keeffe, who trains the winner for Mrs O’Keeffe and Tadhg O’Sullivan, later commented, “It is great to get a win with her and her sister won for us as well. She is a huge mare and if anyone wants to buy her all the better.”
The sister in question, Kilbarry Cushty (Classic Cliche), won a maiden hurdle, while Kilbarry Lodge Stud sold a half-brother at last year’s November NH Sale for €27,000 to Richard Rohan. Their dam is a half-sister to Grade 1 winner Racing Demon and to the dam of Irish Grand National third Abolitionist. The top-class Merry Gale and Brave Inca feature further down the page.
Kilbarry Lodge Stud enjoyed a terrific Monday at Leopardstown, when Kilbarry Lilly (Classic Cliche) ran out an easy winner of her maiden hurdle, followed by finishing a close second in the finale, with both homebreds trained by Con O’Keeffe.
Having won a four-year-old mares maiden at Boulta in December, Kilbarry Lilly finished third on her hurdle debut the following month and stepped up to two and a half miles on her latest start. Ridden to chase the leaders by Davy Russell, she made good headway on soft ground to lead from the second last and extended her advantage to four and a half lengths on the line.
Russell was impressed by the winner, later commenting, “Jumped fantastic and travelled well throughout the race and obviously stayed on well towards the line. Two and a half in that ground was ideal for her you know.”
Kilbarry Lilly is owned by Mrs O’Keeffe and Tadhg O’Sullivan, as is Kilbarry Calling, who was beaten just half a length in the Beginners Chase later in the day.
Kilbarry Lilly was bred by Thomas O’Keeffe out of the Saddler’s Hall mare Tropical Lilly, making her a full-sister to John Kiely’s bumper winner Kilbarry Classic, now the dam of Grade 2 performer Embittered, bred by Con O’Keeffe.
Tropical Lilly is a half-sister to Group 2 Royal Whip Stakes winner Tropical Lady and Group 3 Princess Elizabeth Stakes winner Wilamina. The second dam, meanwhile, won a Lusted hurdle and comes from the family of dual Graded hurdle winner Megans Joy.