Mullins lands a trio of winners on day three of Galway Summer Festival

Champ Kiely looked a hugely impressive winner in the opening race

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Champ Kiely produced a wonderful display

Willie Mullins landed a superb treble on day three at the Galway Summer Festival with Champ Kiely the pick of the bunch, writes Jack Lacey-Hatton.

His fluent performance was enough to ensure trainer Mullins maintained his recent dominance of the Tote sponsored Galway Maiden Hurdle on Plate day, romping home after clearing the last.

A smooth ride from Paul Townend saw Champ Kiely win comfortably after a long lay-off on his hurdles debut, giving Mullins his third win in this race in the last four renewals.

The winner finished 21 lengths clear of best-of-the-rest Esperti, who was second for Peter Fahey and Dawn Rising.

“He was jumping very fluently,” said Townend. “He took me easily to the front, he probably was a bit keen, there is no hiding that.

“But I liked him and he quickened well.

“There are a lot of positives to take from it, he is progressing nicely definitely.”

And the King of Closutton revealed that the manner of the win for Champ Kiely had revised the pecking order of his yard’s novice hurdlers.

Mullins added: “It was more impressive than we thought he would be. That was plan B as well, not plan A, we thought there would be a lot more pace in the race.

“To destroy the field like that, he galloped away up the hill and had plenty left.

“In the table of novices at our place now, he looks like he is going near the top.”

And the Champion Trainer-Jockey combination struck again in the Tote Handicap Hurdle straight after with Rock Road a clear winner.

The 10-year-old looked comfortable throughout the 2m 6½f trip and pulled clear of Shoot First in the run-up to the last to make it a double for Mullins.

“We were hoping that if he could bring his chase form to hurdles he could go close,” he said. “But you don't expect them to do that around Galway.”

Mullins then secured his treble for the evening, and fourth of the week so far at Ballybrit, in the Tote Qualified Riders Maiden.

Dads Lad pulled off a surprise win at 28-1 after displaying a strong finish inside the final furlong to hold off Merlin Giant for Emmet Mullins.

Ruth Dudfield produced a smart ride in the saddle as the seven-year-old once again looked hugely impressive, after he easily won a Limerick novice chase only a week earlier.

Meanwhile, Peter Fahey managed to strike his first win of the Summer Festival in the Tote Mares Handicap Hurdle with Outback Flyer.

The winner managed to storm clear in the final furlong with Kevin Sexton in the saddle, with a big finishing kick enough to beat Tullypole Annie, given a good ride by Rachael Blackmore.


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