Red Lily Syndicate are living the dream ahead of €100,000 Goffs Sportsman’s Challenge at Naas

A fascinating field of 15 runners will contest the €100,000 Goffs Sportsman’s Challenge at Naas Racecourse on Thursday afternoon.
The lucrative two-year-old race is confined to horses that were catalogued at the 2022 Goffs Sportsman's Sales at the famous Kill paddocks and now just a short journey from where the dreams began at Goffs, connections of 15 horses have the opportunity to chase the €50,000 prize for the winner. 
Among the eight previous winners in the race is Paddy Twomey’s recent Cork victor King Cuan who could well raise the roof off the Naas grandstand as many of the large Red Lily Racing Syndicate live locally. 
King Cuan had four and a quarter lengths to spare when winning last week and Billy Lee will continue his association with the son of Tasleet. 
Alan Hennessy is a Naas native and member of the Red Lily Syndicate with his first taste of racehorse ownership proving to be a memorable one. 
“It has been a brilliant experience so far and we are really looking forward to Naas on Thursday,” Hennessy said. 
“It all started last summer when I was approached to see if I’d be interested in a share in a horse and then King Cuan was bought at Goffs this time last year and it has just gone on from there. 
“To be going to my local track for a €100,000 race is a dream come true and the WhatsApp group for the owners has been buzzing since the horse won at Cork last week. There are people like myself who got involved for the first time in a horse and there’s others who have been involved in horses for many years so it is a great mix and great banter among the syndicate.
“We have people in from all over Ireland so it has been the perfect syndicate experience and it gives you a real taste for ownership,” Hennessy added. 
“Last week at Cork was brilliant but Thursday looks a tough race so we’ll cross our fingers and hope he runs well. Paddy has said he come out of the race in Cork in good form."
“We had mentioned the Ballyhane Stakes at Naas earlier in the year but that just came a bit early for him and Paddy Twomey has taken his time and done a great job with the horse and has a very impressive set up down where he trains. Being part of a syndicate like this is a real eye opener as to how the horses are trained and looked after.
“The joke at the moment is that we might need the top hat and tails for Royal Ascot next year! It’s only a joke at the moment but you never know!” 
Champion jockey Colin Keane has been booked for the Clive Cox-trained James’s Delight with Gavin Ryan partnering the other British-trained runner Beechwood Star for Richard Fahey. 
Kieran Cotter is double-handed in the race with the 82-rated Ocean Baroque the mount of Declan McDonogh and Ronan Whelan will be in the saddle for stable companion Martinelli. 
The famous colours of Lady O’Reilly, which were synonymous with big race success at Naas, will be carried by debutant Copie Conforme who runs for trainer Kevin Prendergast. 
Curragh winner Jakajaro is the highest rated runner in the field with an official rating of 93 for trainer David Marnane while Joseph O’Brien’s 90-rated Nemonte is another to turn out again quickly having been in action at Leopardstown last Saturday on day one of Irish Champions Festival. 
Michael Mulvany is responsible for two of the previous winners in the race. Gary Carroll once again rides Navan winner Bid For Chester, while Ben Coen is onboard Velvet Skies. Mulvany also runs Excel In Space who would be looking to open his account in some style in this €100,000 showpiece. 
The first on a seven race card on Thursday is due off at 1.55pm with the Goffs Sportsman’s Challenge at 3.05pm. 

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