Through out the last decade Jessica Harrington has become firmly established as one of the top duel purpose trainers in Ireland. However, training is not the first discipline in which Jessica has excelled. Prior to taking out a training permit in 1989 she was renowned as one of the country’s top three day even riders having represented Ireland with credit at European, World and Olympic level.
In the early nineties Jessica swopped a permit for a full training license and high profile results soon followed. Oh So Grumpy recorded a landmark success in the 1994 Galway Hurdle and less than two years later the talented mare Dance Beat picked up the ultra competitive Ladbroke Handicap Hurdle in Leopardstown.
From this point onwards the Harrington name became a regularly associated with high profile winners and in 1999 Space Trucker provided the yard with its first Cheltenham winner when he captured the Grand Annual Handicap Chase. That was to be the first of six Cheltenham Festival victories for Jessica, which makes her one of the most successful current Irish trainers at the meeting.
The Harrington name will forever be associated with the great chaser Moscow flyer who many regard as one of the finest jumpers to come out of this country in the last 40 years. The Brian Kearney-owned gelding won a host of top flight races including the 2002 Arkle Chase at Cheltenham and the 2003 and 2005 renewals of the Queen Mother Champion chase.
These Cheltenham victories were ones to live long in the memory and so too was his epic triumph in 2004 Tingle Creek Chase at Sandown. There Moscow Flyer faced a much hyped clash with his old rivals Azertyuiop and the up and coming star Well Chief. One of the most eagerly anticipated races of the last decade ended with a resounding success for Jessica’s charge.
Moscow Flyer was adored by so many in racing, least alone, all at Commonstown. Hardly ever let out of head lad Eamonn Leigh’s sights, Moscow won an incredible 27 races from 45 starts, ending with a fairytale win in the Punchestown Charity Race when Jessica’s daughter Kate was onboard. Moscow is enjoying his retirement at the Irish Horse Welfare Trust where is competed regularly at hunter trails, show jumping and showing.
In recent years, Jessica has made significant impact on the flat. Among her notable winners on the level are the group 2 Beresford Stakes winners Curtain Call, the likes of Curtain Call and Jumbajukiba have proven how Jessica can mix it with the very best on the Flat as well as in the National Hunt code, but it was the exploits of 2010 that will long be remembered and hopefully 2011 further so.
The 2010 flat season has seen the Commonstown team have 30 winners which is double their highest previous season successes. The highlights of this season has to be Jessica achieving her first group 1 victory in the Vincent O’Brian National Stakes with Pathfork and of course the group 2 victory in the Futurity Stakes with Pathfork and group 2 victory for Laughing Lashes in Debutante Stakes.
Laughing Lashes and Pathfork give Commonstown plenty to mull over for the winter, while there will be plenty of jumpers to make the months pass an awful lot quicker, but be it a two-year-old filly, or a 10-year-old handicap chaser, it is clear Jessica Harrington continues to get results, and that’s a trend which looks far from bucking