Trainer Ado McGuinness secured a third successive Colm Quinn BMW Mile Handicap crown as 50/1 shot Sirjack Thomas proved his unlikely hero, writes Peter White.
Having been third reserve for the Tuesday showpiece, the six-year-old
made it to the start line as one of six runners saddled by McGuinness, alongside Current Option, Bowerman, Star Harbour, Spanish Tenor and defending champion Saltonstall.
Stablemate Spanish Tenor set a fast tempo before jockey Mikey Sheehy unleashed
Sirjack Thomas at the furlong pole, seeing off Quizical and Mosala to seal victory in dramatic fashion.
While McGuinness admitted the soft ground likely worked in his favour, he pointed to a great ride by Sheehy as being integral to his success,
as well as the influence of the horse’s owners.
“It’s unbelievable to win it three years on the bounce,” he said. “I just told Mikey to drop him in and ride him for luck as they would go a good gallop, which they did. He gave him a peach of
“He did a super job. He's only ridden for me a couple of times but he's a top class young fella and the claim was a big help.
“This is a really good horse. He only got in as a reserve last night and I rang Kevin O'Ryan as I
was looking for a good 5lb or 7lb claimer.
“I’m lucky to have the lads here - the Dooley brothers are over from England and I’m privileged to have them here, and lucky they’ve had faith in me. That makes the job that bit easier.
“They’re great guys - they leave everything to me and Stephen [Thorne]. That’s the way it should be, and I never have any problems with them.”
The win marked a first for Sheehy at Galway, a dream come true for a jockey with a long association with Ballybrit.
He said: “It was an unbelievable feeling. I’ve been coming here since I was a young lad so it means everything to win at the
“From an away draw I got a lovely position. Chris Hayes was beside me so I knew I wasn’t going too far wrong. I got a lovely run-in into the dip and in fairness to the horse he took me everywhere.
“I’m just very grateful
for the people who are supporting me and giving me these opportunities.
“My agent Kevin O'Ryan rang me last night when I was just getting into bed and he said you ride Ado McGuinness' (Sirjack Thomas) in the big mile tomorrow, so a massive
thanks to him and to Adrian for putting me up on the horse.”
In the Listed Colm Quinn BMW Irish EBF Corrib Fillies & Mares Stakes, jockey Gary Carroll notched the first of two wins on the day, aboard Galtee Mist for trainer Joseph Murphy.
what was a supremely judged ride by Carroll, the five-year-old - who had previously won at Galway in 2019 - dominated much of the race, finishing three-and-a-half lengths ahead of Lustown Baba at 11/1.
Murphy said: “It was a great performance.
We were hopeful coming here - she’s been in good form so we wanted to place.
“We thought this track would suit her and she has full black-type now and that's her sixth win. She's a good mare and she's in foal to Make Believe.
we saw the declaration there wasn’t a lot of depth to the race - there were a lot of horses in around the same sort of level as her. To win like that was a surprise though.”
Carroll’s second win of the day came in the 7.15pm Caulfield Industrial Handicap (Div I) aboard Imposing Supreme for Thomas Gibney.
Elsewhere, Dermot Weld kicked off proceedings with a victory to back up his Connacht Hotel Handicap
success with Coltor on day one of the Festival, with Colin Keane steering Emilie Gray to first place in the Caulfield Industrial Irish EBF Maiden.
The three-year-old - who had finished third behind subsequent Prix de Diane winner Joan Of
Arc on her racecourse debut at the Curragh back in March - didn’t disappoint as the red-hot favourite, easing to a dominant win ahead of Prince Hector.
Weld said: “She did it nicely, she’s a progressive filly and her form was there. She’s
been very consistent, and everything that’s been said about the trip was right. The trip was right, the ground was right and she delivered.
“She’s from a really good family, she’s a beautifully bred filly and it’s lovely to win with her.”
was drama in the Colm Quinn BMW Irish Fillies Maiden, as comfortable Jessica Harrington-trained winner Alizarine was later disqualified after a steward’s enquiry.
An objection to the identity of the horse subsequently saw another Harrington-trained
horse - Aurora Princess - withdrawn from a later race, with the win being awarded to the 5/4 favourite Twinkle for Aidan O'Brien.
Meanwhile a great ride from Chris Hayes secured caulfieldindustrial.com Handicap victory on Moddy Poddle for
Sheila Lavery, and Izzy Clifton aboard Plum Perfect yielded Denis Hogan’s first win of the week in the Caulfield Industrial Handicap (Div II).
In the final race of the night, jockey Declan McDonogh soared to Latin Quarter Handicap success
on No Thanks for Matthew Smith.