By John Manley
Twenty-four years after riding L’Escargot to victory, Tommy Carberry returned to Aintree to capture the Martell Grand National in a training capacity. Carberry, whose yard is located in Ashbourne, Co. Meath, lifted his son, Paul, onto Bobbyjo and sent the duo out to a 10-length victory in this storied English steeplechase. Bobbyjo’s triumph was the first for an Irish-based runner since L’Escargot in 1975.
The Irish-bred Bobbyjo, send off at 10-1, led a longer priced Irish-bred to the wire, the 25-1 Blue Charm. That one had a neck on Call It A Day, also foaled in Ireland.
"This is great, fantastic, a lot better than when I won it," said the elder Carberry. "Paul gave him a fantastic ride. It is a great feeling to have won the National as a jockey and then see my son do that as well. I was always confident that he would do it one day as long as the right horse came along for him on the right day."
Bobbyjo is owned by Bobby Burke, who owns a string of pubs in London. Purse money totaled $677,637.
Eighteen of the 32 starters completed the 4-and-a-half mile course, which required clearing 30 fences.
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On this side of the Atlantic, shades of Fourstardave are evident in Gainsborough Farm’s Soviet Line, the Irish-bred gelding that won the $110,800 Grade III Maker’s Mark Mile at Keeneland last Friday. Now 9 years old, Soviet Line gutted out a nose victory over Trail City, with Rob ‘n Gin a neck back in third. With John Velazquez in tow, Soviet Line ran his career bankroll to $1,363,071 after getting the mile in 1:35.1 over firm ground. The gelding was second in this race last year.
Soviet Line wasn’t the only Irish native to hit the Keeneland winner’s circle that afternoon. Trainers Eddie Kenneally and Niall O’Callaghan also did turns before the photographer. Kenneally sent out Everest Stable’s Pollinate, a 3-year-old Meadowlake colt, to capture a "non-winners of two other than" allowance over seven furlongs. After finishing dead last in his Churchill Downs debut last June, Pollinate has earned a check in all seven subsequent starts.
O’Callaghan’s Seattle Pattern had been sitting on a win for some time, and the 4-year-old Seattle Slew colt finally broke through to reign supreme in a "non-winners of one other than" allowance at a mile and a 16th on the dirt. The Evergreen Farms silkbearer scored a resounding three-length tally.
Kenneally, a Waterford native, also managed a victory in Chicago on the same afternoon. The other division of his outfit is stabled at Hawthorne, where Beth Leverton’s Runaway Rosy, a 3-year-old Runaway Groom filly, scored her second victory from three starts in an allowance race over muddy going.
Dublin native Mike Doyle got his first win of the recently begun Woodbine season when Diablo’s Closer won the first division of the $69,650 Star Shoot Stakes there on Sunday. The 3-year-old Diablo filly, owned by Attal Racing Stables, has been a gem of consistency, missing just one check from 10 previous starts. She earned black type in her stakes debut, as Rob Landry got her to the wire a length the better of Hippicritical.
McCarthy bags 5
Michael McCarthy served notice over the weekend that it will take one slick riding jockey to knock him from his throne as king of Delaware Park’s horsebacking colony. McCarthy, whose grandparents came to these shores from Galway, began this year’s meet at Delaware with a bang, bagging five victories over the weekend. The highlight of those five was Memory Tap’s triumph in the $54,300 Zwaanend’l Stakes. McCarthy has been leading jockey at Delaware ever since he shifted his tack there in 1996.