We headed back to Bellewstown bleary-eyed and in buoyant mood following Mokhalad's victory the previous night. It was the turn of Stanhope to show his stuff. Stanhope had been pleasing us the last few weeks, he ran a very good race at Down Royal two Saturdays ago. The form has been franked since by our stablemate Twenty Minutes last Saturday at The Curragh. Going into the week we would have thought Stanhope was our best chance of a winner. Damian ran three horses last night they finished 123. Stanhope had an excellent draw. We all know what Stanhope can do he has shown us already. We had booked Colin Keane who gave Stanhope a very good ride at Naas earlier in the season. Stanhope takes a bit of knowledge so it was great to have Colin who is a former champion jockey and riding brilliantly just now. Stanhope had a very good chance and we were very hopeful he might give the Bellewstown crowd something to cheer about.
The race itself panned out the exact opposite producing a thrilling finale. Stanhopes evening started in the worst possible fashion as he pitched forward leaving the stalls. Colin Keane was shot forward in the saddle, however, he kept the partnership intact somehow. They went an incredible pace early on with Stanhope detached from the main group. Colin had to sit, suffer and nurse Stanhope back into the race. Stanhope on meeting the rising ground really started to motor. Colin Keane was inspired, galvanizing Stanhope forward. True Blue Moon to his credit for Joseph O'Brien rattled home as well. They hit the line together. The photo finish took a while to sort out, it was a dead heat. Stanhope showed incredible courage as well as lots of talent. It was a remarkable effort from Stanhope and Colin Keane.
Colin Keane got mobbed as the Galaxy Horse Racing Syndicate piled on top of the former champion jockey. To be fair Colin got into the spirit of it, he got a great kick out of it. It capped a remarkable 48 hours for ourselves. We have had a difficult time since the start of May with various setbacks. We kept our nerve and our faith in Damian, Craig and the wonderful team. We were rewarded in spades. We are unlikely to ever experience anything like the emotions of the last 48 hours again, it has been incredible. We have now run three horses at Bellewstown our local festival. Alfirak finished second in 2018, Mokhalad and Stanhope won in 2019. We do not take any of this for granted, it truly is the days of our racing lives.