Zawraq is back, Manning has a 1st for Mullins

Wed 13th Sep 2017, 15:56

photoRiven Light (pink colours) leads Zawraq (blue colours)
©Healy Racing Photos
By Thomas Weekes
Veteran Derby winning jockey Kevin Manning partnered his first winner for Champion Jumps Trainer Willie Mullins at Listowel today, landing the Listed Edmund & Josie Whelan Memorial Listowel Stakes on the Australian-bound, RIch RIcci owned Riven Light.

Manning moved Riven Light (11/8f) to the front entering the home straight and in the end was all out to hold the strong late challenge of one-time Epsom Derby hope Zawraq, by three parts of a length.

Both horses emerged with plenty credit following the race with plans for Riven Light now set to include a tilt at the Cox Plate at Moonee Valley, Melbourne, in October.

Mullins wasn’t present but afterwards Manning commented “it’s been a good week and that was a good performance and he has done that very very well.

“From what I gather now he goes into quarantine now and goes down to Australia - i didn’t know a great deal about the horse and this was my first time to ride him but from watching him running and winning he was a very smart horse and again was very smart today and did it very very well.”

New Approach’s jockey added “I think that is my first winner for Willie - I’ve only ever had a few rides for him.”

Runner-up Zawraq, one-time favourite for the 2015 Epsom Derby, was today making yet another comeback from injury and running for the first time since last October. The 2015 2,000 Guineas Trial Stakes winner had raced just once in each of the previous three years and following today’s pleasing effort, his jockey Pat Smullen said “I’m very happy with him. He lacked tactical speed early, as he was a bit ring-rusty, and the winner probably got first run on me.

“He’s a horse who wants to go beyond that trip and I’m very happy with his comeback run. He has run a very good race to be fair to him.”

Might Bite To Prove His Worth Next Season

There is not much attention given to national hunt racing in the summer months, by punters or by the media. It is, of course, understandable given that our attention is focused on the flat season: the action at Royal Ascot, the Classics and the rest of the elements that define the summer racing season. Some punters might have a dabble at an ante post bet for Cheltenham next year, but by and large we forget about it until the autumn.