Dessie Hughes and his stable’s conditional rider Bryan Hughes claimed three races on Saturday’s Kilbeggan card but there’s no doubting which win will have meant the most to them both.
The Kieran Kelly Memorial Beginners’ Chase, the third of the treble and won by Action Master, was named in honour of Hughes’s former conditional jockey who lost his life in that same race in 2003 at the age of 25. Just a few months earlier, Kelly had ridden the subsequent dual Champion Hurdler Hardy Eustace to victory in the Royal & SunAlliance Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.
Kelly’s father John presented the prize to the connections of Action Master, who prevailed by the narrowest of margins, beating Traffic Article by a short-head. His success followed on from the earlier victories that evening of Miss Accurate and Eyre Apparent.
All three were partnered by Cooper, who was champion conditional in Ireland last season and turned 19 on Sunday.
That same day at Ascot, Hughes’s son Richard captained the Irish team to a third successive victory in the Shergar Cup.