Reports15 June 2024

'He was electric' - Petrol Head leaves his rivals for dust and motors away to land sustained support

The 2m1f opportunity handicap hurdle is won by Petrol Head and Shane O’Callaghan at Downpatrick.
Photo: Patrick McCann/Racing Post
Petrol Head: defied a long layoffCredit: Patrick McCann

Petrol Head landed a gamble previously when trained by Ronan McNally and did something similar when motoring around the tight turns and undulations to defy a 708-day layoff in the 2m1½f handicap hurdle.

Backed into 7-2 from 9-1, the eight-year-old, now trained on the Curragh by Katy Brown, travelled like the best horse in the race under Shane O'Callaghan before quickening right away from the final flight to win by eight and a half lengths. The gelding was running off a 10lb higher mark than when last successful at Roscommon in July 2022.

O'Callaghan said: "He gave me a brilliant feel. He was deadly when I needed him to come up for me. He was electric. He cruised into it very easily coming down to the last and he won it very easily.

"Katy filled me with confidence. I went down and schooled him the other day and I was delighted with him. We came here today and we thought we had a live chance and he proved it."

Winner for Rothwell after 'tough week'

An emotional Philip Rothwell was delighted to see the James Guilfoyle-owned Cullenwaine break his duck in the first division of the 2m6f handicap hurdle, but described it as coming during one of the toughest weeks of his life.

He said: "I lost one of my best horses on Monday who was cast in his box and broke a knee. And then I was put on RTE Investigates on Wednesday and I have no idea why. RTE used a picture of me from my website without my permission and I was hugely hurt over it.

"RTE sent me a letter, as they did to a number of trainers, enquiring about eight horses that ended up at Shannonside Foods over the years. One was a mare that I had 12 years ago and haven't seen since. Four others had foals for breeders since and had nothing to do with me. Two I sent to agents as potential riding horses."

Rothwell added: "I don't know why RTE took a picture from my own promotional video and then used it without permission. I am very upset about it. Everyone in racing knows that nobody cares as much for their horses as I do."

There was a significant sting in the tail for winning rider Phidelma Elvin. She was hit with a 17-day ban after she was found to have used her whip with excessive frequency, which was her fourth such offence. 

Robin rules the Roost

Robin De Roost emphatically rolled back the years when the 14-year-old landed the 2m3½f handicap chase under Aileen O'Sullivan for Irish Grand National-winning trainer Tom Gibney. 

Horses for courses means more at Downpatrick than at most tracks, even when it comes to wily old veterans. The 40-1 outsider was winning for the first time since landing the same race three years ago.

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