Stanhope was having his second run for John McConnell. This looked a good opportunity ourselves and John had this race eyed up if we did not make the frame last Sunday. We were delighted with the way Stanhope had in the Rockingham, we expected him to improve for it. We were top-weight, it was a competitive race, however nothing to frighten Stanhope. Our horse has a lot of ability as well as a bit of class. Stanhope came out of Sunday well, obviously, there was a risk in running soon after a run. Stanhope has been through a lot in the last ten months, he is a great soldier. We expected Stanhope to go very close tonight, he was, without any doubt in our minds, our best chance of a winner in this spell of races. John McConnell decided to stick with Rory Cleary. We were delighted with this decision. Rory rode our first winner as a syndicate on Mokhalad. Rory of course also won on Alfirak on his only win. In the history of the syndicate, both of these nights are so treasured. Rory was the man, we have never forgotten that fact and we never will.
We backed Stanhope at double-figure prices, then waited to see what unfolded. Stanhope delivered at Navan to land a nice touch for ourselves. Under a well-judged ride from Rory Cleary. Stanhope did what we hoped he could. Stanhope is a genuine Galaxy hero winning his third race. We are delighted for John McConnell and his team. They have worked brilliantly with Stanhope. Siobhan Rutledge has played a big role in Stanhope settling in, thank you, Siobhan. For us who own Stanhope, it was an incredible night, ten months on the sidelines. Dark days, worrying times all washed away, strong faith rewarded. We did right by Stanhope. It takes courage to stick by a horse. We showed courage with Stanhope it was rewarded our number one priority is our horses' welfare. We have genuine affection for all our horses. We care deeply about them all.
Stanhope was very good on the night. Rory Cleary gave us a ring after the race it was brilliant to speak to Rory he was his usual bubbly good fun self. John McConnell was on to us as well a job well done, a plan brilliantly executed. John gave a very nice interview afterwards shining the light on others which is of course very gracious. The fact is we gave John McConnel a horse in recovery from surgery. The horse was in good condition when John got him, however, you still have to go get the result. John McConnell did that it was brilliant. Since racing resumed we have a 23% strike rate with 3 winners. Our three trainers Leanne Breen, Damian English and John McConnell have all produced a winner each. We thank them and all the support teams for our horses sincerely. This was our vision during the winter three trainers striving for success on our behalf. They are three very different people, however, they are three very talented people.
Stanhope as one of our horses hasn't got the following say Mokhalad has. Stanhope is, however, the real deal himself. In thirteen runs Stanhope has won three and placed three times. The road ahead is there for Stanhope. With his physical problems a thing of the past there is more to come from Stanhope. A potential clash on Thursday at Navan with Mokhalad is a possibility. This is not something as a team we fear we will savour it. We will never mind our horses taking each other on. It is a competitive sport we want to compete for winners. Those decisions will be made by John McConnell and Damian English ultimately.
The report on Stanhopes win from Irish Racing is below
Topweight Stanhope (7/1) kept on well under a strong drive by Rory Cleary to take the Beauparc Handicap by half a length from Miacomet.
Quickly into stride, the winner was always close to the pace and led over a furlong out before finding plenty for pressure.
11/4 favourite Face Off didn’t fire on this occasion and finished with only one behind.
It was a fourth career success for the Equiano six-year-old who had won twice for previous handler Damian English.
He had run well just last Sunday when not beaten that far, having been hampered, in the Rockingham Handicap at the Curragh and availed of a drop in class here.
Winning trainer John McConnell said: “It's great to win for the guys involved in him (Galaxy Horse Racing Syndicate).
"They backed me by giving me a horse and they are a good bunch to train for, they just let you at it, and they are very professionally run.
“The horse has had his issues in the past but in fairness when I got him he was in good nick and he's been very straight-forward.
“He had a very good run in the Rockingham, and he was possibly unlucky in it. We thought coming here he'd have a good chance but 10st 2lb was a big weight to carry.
“He's in here next week but we'll enjoy this and then we'll see whether he runs next week. He'll have to run in something half decent again.”