HRI Review

Racing Review

Opening Day Feature Goes To Willie Mullins And Aubrey McMahon

Willie Mullins, leading trainer at Galway for the first time last year, got the 2017 festival off to the best possible start when dominating in the featured Connacht Hotel Handicap on Monday night. Mullins was responsible for three of the first four horses home with 16/1 chance Whiskey Sour leading the way under Aubrey McMahon who was riding just the third winner of his career. The gambled-on 5/1 favourite Swamp Fox took second place for Joe Murphy while Mullins was also third and fourth with Lagostovegas and Digeanta. Patrick Mullins completed a double for his father when taking the bumper on 6/1 newcomer Poet Power. Joseph O'Brien struck in the opening novice hurdle with Le Richebourg, the 4/9 favourite giving Barry Geraghty a winner on his first ride back from injury. Shane Ryder, based in Ballinasloe, and Dingle jockey Paddy Kennedy enjoyed their first success at the Galway festival when 20/1 chance Pateen landed the 2m handicap hurdle. Andy Slattery continued his fine run of form when 14/1 chance Spiorad Saoirse gave Declan McDonogh his first winner of the week in the 7f maiden. Over the same distance, Dinky Inty ran out the 12/1 winner of the handicap for Moyne, County Tipperary trainer Tim Doyle and Gary Halpin who has a fine record at the track. Billy Lee also rides Galway particularly well and he teamed up with County Carlow trainer Pat Fahy to win the 12f handicap with 6/1 chance Pearl Of The West.  

More Joy For Mullins As Riven Light Wins The Mile

There was more big-race success for Willie Mullins on the second day of the Galway festival as Riven Light gave him his first win in the Colm Quinn BMW Mile Handicap on Tuesday. Sent off the 7/2 favourite, the five-year-old didn’t enjoy the clearest of runs in the straight but found a gap under Declan McDonogh to win from British-raiders Hibou and Dream Walker. It was a third win in the race for McDonogh. Joseph O'Brien and Barry Geraghty added to their opening day victory with Le Richebourg when, sporting the same JP McManus colours, Housesofparliament landed the novice hurdle at odds of 11/4. Henry de Bromhead and Noel Fehily took the beginners’ chase with 7/2 chance Three Wise Men which made much of the running to easily beat the Willie Mullins-trained Bamako Moriviere. Joe Murphy is on a good run and he took the 7f fillies’ maiden with 9/1 chance Shekiba, ridden by Gary Carroll. At the same price, Cascavelle gave Robbie McNamara his first Galway festival success as a trainer in the 7f maiden. His winner was ridden by Billy Lee who doubled up when taking the 8f handicap on Peter Fahey’s 4/1 favourite Serefeli. Gordon Elliott got off the mark for the meeting when Knockmaole Boy ran out the 6/1 winner of the 7f handicap in the hands of local rider Leigh Roche.  

Continued Success For Gigginstown In Galway Plate

Leading owners Gigginstown House Stud landed Galway Plate for the third time in four years when Balko Des Flos landed the feature race at Ballybrit on Wednesday. Ridden by Davy Russell, the 6/1 chance came home a clear winner from Shaneshill and Slowmotion to give the Cork rider his first success in the race and de Bromhead a second after the victory of Shanahan’s Turn in 2015. Willie Mullins landed a double for local owners Annette and Pearse Mee. The champion trainer saddled Minella Beau, the 5/4 favourite, to win the opening maiden hurdle under Ruby Walsh while the trainer’s son Patrick won the amateur riders’ maiden on 7/2 chance Exchange Rate. The big race winner is trained in County Waterford and Cappoquin’s Roger McGrath got in on the act when 14/1 chance Miss Eyecatcher and David Mullins won the 2m handicap hurdle. Davids Charm, another 14/1 chance, took the 2m5f handicap hurdle for Doneralie, County Cork trainer John Joe Walsh and Ambrose McCurtin who was riding his first winner at the track. Two young apprentices got to shine on the big stage. From Graignamanagh, County Kilkenny, Danny Sheehy partnered the Adrian Keatley-trained 7/1 chance Jet Streaming to success in the 8f handicap while over the same trip, Sean Davis from Maynooth, County Kildare got the Michael O’Callaghan-trained 5/1 chance Perfect Soldier home by a head in the maiden. John ‘Shark’ Hanlon and Rory Cleary teamed up to win the 2m handicap with 20/1 chance Magna Cartor.

Barry Geraghty Lands First Guinness Galway Hurdle Success

Barry Geraghty is well into his 21st season as a jockey and after many years of trying finally landed his first Guinness Galway Hurdle at Ballybrit on Thursday. The race is known for its thrilling finishes and the former champion jockey forced 5/1 shot Tigris River up in the final strides to deny the Joe Murphy-trained Swamp Fox which had finished second in the big amateur riders’ handicap at the course on Monday. Tigris River was also a first Galway Hurdle winner for Joseph O'Brien and a second for owner JP McManus. O’Brien had won the opening beginners’ chase with 7/1 chance Tesseract which was ridden by JJ Slevin. Willie Mullins enjoyed a fine week and gained another success when the Paul Townend-ridden Rathvinden won the Grade 3 novice chase at odds of 7/2 co-favourite. Monasterevin trainer Paul Fahey saddled 12/1 chance Oakly to win the novice hurdle giving Paddy Kennedy his second winner of the week. Paul’s younger brother Peter won the bumper with 7/4 chance Dayna Moss which was ridden by Richie Deegan. On the Flat, Aidan O'Brien was the big winner as his 4/1 joint-favourite Music Box took the listed race over seven furlongs under his son Donnacha. Apprentice rider Sean Davis won his second race in two days when partnering the Harry Rogers-trained 16/1 chance Remarkable Lady to a cosy success in the 8f handicap. Westport rider Conor Hoban enjoyed an easier success as 8/1 chance Andratx accounted for Camlann in the 12f handicap. The winner is trained in Coolaney, County Sligo by Mark McNiff and recently completed a hat-trick of wins over hurdles.

Big Race Double For Mullins And Whiskey Sour

Whiskey Sour added to his big opening night success in the Connacht Hotel Handicap for amateur riders when landing the Guinness Handicap over 12f for Willie Mullins and Declan McDonogh at Galway on Friday evening. Sent off the well-supported 7/4 favourite, the four-year-old had to work a little harder for his second win but eventually saw off the Ger Lyons-trained Mawaany. Mullins also took the finale as Pat Smullen recorded his first victory of the week when bringing 11/4 joint-favourite Renetti home the easy winner of the 14f conditions’ race. Conor O’Dwyer and Billy Lee won the 12f fillies’ maiden with 4/1 chance Flaming Sea and 5/1 shot Empress Lyla took the 8f handicap for Summerhill, County Meath trainer Sheila Lavery and Gary Carroll. In the colours of Jackie Bolger, 2/1 favourite Warm The Voice won the median auction maiden for Brendan Duke and Kevin Manning. Over fences, there was a 14/1 winner of the handicap chase as Riviera Sun prevailed for Henry de Bromhead and Barry Geraghty. The Tom Mullins-trained Top Othe Ra gave David Mullins his second winner of the week when successful in the 2m handicap hurdle. The nine-year-old was returned at odds of 10/1. 

Veteran John Joe Walsh Secures His Most Valuable

John Joe Walsh is quite possibly the longest serving trainer in the country and he recorded his most valuable success since taking out his licence in the very early 1960s when the Rachael Blackmore-ridden Ballyegan Hero won a thrilling renewal of the €100,000 Galway Shopping Centre Handicap Hurdle at Galway on Saturday. The 16/1 chance edged out Mine Now by a nose to land the race of the day for the Doneraile, County Cork trainer, his second winner of the week for owner Tom O’Brien. Walsh’s first winner as a trainer, he rode it himself, was Grub Stake at Clonmel on March 7th, 1963 and it is believed he first took out his trainers’ licence in either 1961 or 1962. Dermot Weld and Bryan Cooper got off the mark for the festival when landing the maiden hurdle with 13/2 chance Adyoun, Cooper’s first Galway festival winner since the Dessie Hughes-trained Sarteano in 2011. Aidan O'Brien and Seamus Heffernan combined to win the 8f maiden with 2/9 favourite Amedeo Modigliani and a second odds-on winner was 4/7 favourite True Self which landed the bumper for Willie Mullins and his son Patrick. Deep Breath gave Joe Murphy a second winner of the week when taking the nursery handicap under Pat Smullen at odds of 3/1 while 20/1 chances Bubbly Bellini and Athenry Boy won the 7f and 12f handicaps for Ado McGuinness and Colin Keane and Jim Gorman and Wayne Lordan respectively. Bubbly Bellini was a 50th winner of the season for Keane who continues to hold a commanding advantage in the jockeys' championship. 

Mullins Wraps Up Memorable Week With Final Day Treble

Leading trainer at the Galway festival for the first time last year, Willie Mullins ran away with the title once again and brought his tally for the week to 12 winners with a final day treble. His first winner on Sunday came in the shape of 11/4 favourite Ben Button which easily landed the 3m handicap hurdle under Ruby Walsh. Paul Townend did the steering as 9/4 chance Arbre De Vie readily accounted for his stable companion and 4/9 favourite Shaneshill in the 2m6f conditions’ chase and the Mullins three-timer was completed when Ansi Va La Vie, the 4/7 favourite, won the bumper under his son Patrick. Dream Walker repeated last year’s success in the race under Chris Hayes when giving trainer Brian Ellison a remarkable fourth straight win in the €100,000 Ahonoora Handicap. Baraweez won the race for Ellison in 2014 and again in 2015 and he took second place this time with stable companion Be Kool third. Tony Martin gained his fist success of the week when the Colin Keane-ridden 11/4 favourite Dara Tango won the 14f handicap. Martin ran six horses over the week that either finished second or third in their races. Jockey Ryan Treacy has had no luck with injury throughout his career but he showed yet again that he’s one to keep an eye on when landing the handicap chase on the Jessica Harrington-trained 12/1 chance Neverushacon. It was Treacy’s first day back after eight weeks on the sidelines with an injured arm. Monasterevin trainer Seamus Fahey joined his younger brothers Paul and Peter on the roll of honour as 14/1 shot The Informer, ridden by Eoin O’Connell won the 2m opportunity handicap hurdle. Dermot Weld secured a second victory in the week when 5/1 chance Yulong Fairy Gold won the Foran Equine Irish EBF Auction Maiden. It was also a second winner of the festival for Tuam rider Leigh Roche. 

Racing News

Strong Entries for Supporting Races on Longines Irish Champions Weekend

The level of quality on Longines Irish Champions Weekend stretches beyond the five Group 1 races and the supporting cards at both Leopardstown on Saturday, September 9 and the Curragh on Sunday, September 10 are shaping up nicely. Entries for the Group 2 Clipper Logistics Boomerang Stakes at Leopardstown on the opening day are headed by the Aidan O'Brien-trained Alice Springs, winner of the Group 1 Coolmore Fastnet Rock Matron Stakes on the card last year. The Group 3 KPMG Enterprise Stakes has attracted an initial entry of 35, including the first two horses home in this race 12 months ago, the Dermot Weld-trained Zhukova, a Grade 1 in America in May, and Aidan O'Brien’s US Army Ranger. A strong renewal of the Group 2 Moyglare “Jewels” Blandford Stakes is on the cards at the Curragh on Sunday, September 10 and features an initial entry of 44 horses. Charlie Appleby has put his Group 1 winner Wuheida in the €200,000 race and she was running for the first time since her success in the Prix Marcel Boussac at Chantilly last October when just losing out to Aidan O'Brien’s Roly Poly in the Group 1 Tattersalls Falmouth Stakes at Newmarket last month. Expert Eye, so impressive at Goodwood, is an interesting addition to the Group 1 Goffs Vincent O’Brien National Stakes at the Curragh on the same afternoon. 

Mullins, Geraghty And Billy Lee Take Galway Honours

Willie Mullins easily won the leading trainer title at the Galway festival with 12 winners and Barry Geraghty, on his return from a lengthy injury, and Billy Lee took the riding honours. Guinness Galway Hurdle winner Geraghty enjoyed four wins in all while Lee was the top Flat jockey with three winners. Mullins was winning his title for the second year running. 

Wonderful Winter Wows At Goodwood

The Aidan O'Brien-trained Winter, winner of the Coronation Cup as well as the English and the Tattersalls Irish 1,000 Guineas this season, added a fourth Group 1 to her collection with a comfortable victory in Thursday's Nassau Stakes at Goodwood. Ridden by Ryan Moore, who won the race last year on the now retired Minding, also trained by O’Brien, Winter ran out a good winner at odds of 10/11 favourite. O’Brien said, “She's made the transformation from the first half into the second half of the season, and she's won well on the ground, which is like winter jumping ground. It's a different level of fitness you need for it, but she's obviously very good.”

Paul Dermody to join Horse Racing Ireland as Commercial and Marketing Director

A native of Dunboyne, County Meath, Paul Dermody joins Horse Racing Ireland from the position of Commercial and Marketing Director of Leinster Rugby, having previously served as Commercial and Sponsorship Manager with the GAA.  Paul has a keen interest in horse racing as well as all sports. Paul will take up the position of Commercial and Marketing Director at HRI, with particular responsibility for developing attendances at racemeetings. HRI Chief Executive, Brian Kavanagh, stated: “I am delighted to welcome Paul to the company.  Paul brings a range of relevant skills and top level experience in the Irish sporting and leisure environment.  He has enjoyed many successes with both Leinster Rugby and the GAA and I am sure he will bring innovation and imagination to his role with Horse Racing Ireland.  I very much look forward to working with Paul.”

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