Adrian McGuinness claimed his second landmark Galway
Festival win of the week as Current Option retained the Irish Stallion Farms
EBF Handicap on the final day of racing at Ballybrit, writes Paul Martin.
Sunday’s showpiece began in dramatic fashion as the highly-fancied Stone Soldier unseated jockey Oisin Orr within seconds of the race getting underway.
The loose horse went on to cause difficulties for several in the field, including the eventual winner, but Cian MacRedmond kept his cool to steer Current Option home ahead of On A Session, who finished strongly, and the victor’s stablemate Spanish Tenor.
Sirjack Thomas, fresh from his success for McGuinness in the Colm Quinn BMW Mile Handicap on Tuesday, took fourth while Laugh A Minute ensured the Lusk trainer had four of the top six.
It was the first time MacRedmond has ridden Current Option, who had Gavin Ryan on board for last year’s Irish Stallion Farmswin, and he was able to celebrate his first victory of the Festival.
McGuinness said: “I fancied him [Current Option] because I thought he was the class horse in the race.
“I'm delighted for Cian that he's got another premier handicap. He's a very good kid and he gave him a smashing ride.
“Of course we got a big scare up the hill with the loose horse but it worked out great.”
Elsewhere on the Festival’s last afternoon, Colin Keane became the first ever winner of the Pat Smullen Perpetual Trophy.
The prize, renamed in Smullen’s memory ahead of this year’s event, is awarded to the leading Flat jockey across the week and Keane’s victories aboard Malayan and Micro Manage on the final day took him to four overall, enough to leapfrog Shane Foley at
Micro Manage, who went off as the odds-on favourite in the JPK Fencing Systems Race, was Willie Mullins’ 10th success of the week.
Imposing Supreme, meanwhile, completed a Festival double by adding the Ardilaun Hotel Handicap to the Caulfield Industrial Handicap he won on Tuesday.
The five-year-old had a different jockey on board, Chris Hayes taking the reins from Gary Carroll, but the end result was the same as he finished with a flourish to take the lead inside the final furlong and edge out Fridtjof Nansen by half a length,
giving Tom Gibney his third winner of the week.
“He came out of Tuesday's race as well as I've ever seen him and gave us huge confidence for today,” Gibney said.
“Chris gave him a great ride, it panned out lovely and you couldn't ask for any more.”
Sunday’s opener brought a first career win for Church Mountain, who led from the front to claim the Kenny Galway Volvo Handicap for Denis Hogan with Joey Sheridan on board, while Joseph O’Brien’s Kirkland Lady also got off the mark with victory at the
third attempt in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Fillies Maiden.
The Festival concluded with successive Fr. Breen Memorial Handicaps over 1m6f, with Insane Bolt and Bell Ex One landing victories for Peter Fahey and Ray Cody respectively.