Ireland Wins Australia v Ireland Jockey Challenge thanks to Donagh Meyler treble

The Irish jockeys have defeated their Australian counterparts in the Australia v Ireland Jockey Challenge Down Under.

Kilkenny jockey Donagh Meyler, who had a 20/1 winner, Celtic Prince, at Murray Bridge during the week, continued his excellent form on Saturday when again visiting the winner’s enclosure.

Donagh Meyler dominated the final two legs on Irish Day at Morphettville, Adelaide, on Saturday morning. He first won the chase on 17/2 chance Pentomatic for Cranbourne, Melbourne trainer Eric Musgrove and followed up on the David Hayes-trained Dane Hussler, the 11/10 favourite in the hurdle, enjoying a remarkable 100% strike-rate from his three rides.

These final day wins ensured an easy victory for Meyler and Rachael Blackmore over their Australian counterparts on a final score line of 55 points to 35.

A thrilled Meyler said: “I got a good early feel on both of them; they jumped well and stuck their necks out. But they race a bit differently over here, that’s for sure.”

Pentomatic, an eight-year-old entire by Pentire, won by four lengths but Rachael Blackmore had no luck at all on the winner’s stable-mate Abebe which was sent off a short-priced favourite yet trailed in last of the five finishers.

The champion conditional rider partnered the well fancied Melbourne contender Transfixed in the hurdle but the 2/1 chance finished a well beaten sixth behind six-year-old mare Dane Hussler, whose training team sent out Group winners Vega Magic and Formality at Caulfield and Randwick the same afternoon.

This was the 31st consecutive year that an Irish team has been invited to Australia to participate in the jockey challenge. It was the 42nd contest staged in the two countries, with Ireland now taking the honours on 26 occasions, Australia winning 15 times and there has been one drawn series.

The trophy will arrive back in Ireland on Tuesday with Meyler and Blackmore. Both jockeys are expected to be in action again at Clonmel on Thursday.


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