This weeks blog will focus on Galway and Goodwood. Monday, we start at Galway. Coltor and Finian Maguire snatched the spoils in the valuable Connacht Hotel Handicap to deny Aubrey McMahon a third victory in the day one feature at Galway. Sent off a 14-1 chance, it was Weld’s first victory in the race since Midnight Music in 2012. Coltor went on to win by three-quarters of a length from Foveros with a further length and a quarter to Harry Fry’s Litterale Ci in third. Hook Up stayed on from a long way back for fourth for Patrick Mullins. The opening Claregalwayhotel.ie Irish EBF Maiden went to Michael O’Callaghan’s I Am Magic (15-2). Black Cat Bobby (14-1) prevailed in a tight finish to win the Claytonhotelgalway.ie Handicap for Ciaran Murphy and Gavin Ryan.
Jessica Harrington and Shane Foley got off the mark for the week when Maud Gonne Spirit (18-1) took the Galwaybayhotel.com & Galmont.com Handicap."She has frustrated us up until now. We were baffled by her runs compared to her work and we fancied her once or twice but she ran bad. It all worked out today. " said Foley. The combination of Shane Foley and Harrington made it a double with Citronnade (7-1) in the Eventus Handicap. Dylan Browne McMonagle once again advertised his talents when winning on Joseph O’Brien’s Merroir (6-1) in the Easyfix Handicap. It was good news for our members. Merroir was advised (0.75pt each way) 7/1. The finale went to Zero Ten for Patrick and Emmet Mullins. It was more good news for our members. Zero Ten was advised (2pts win) 2/1. The members also had the each-way double of 0.25pt each way Double Merroir 7/1 & Zero Ten 9/4 our only multiple on the day. It was a great start to the seven-day festival for us.
Tuesday, we start at Galway. There was drama on day two of the Galway Festival after a Jessica Harrington-trained winner was disqualified following an identity mix-up. Newcomer Alizarine ran out a cosy winner Colm Quinn BMW Irish Fillies Maiden, producing a fine burst of acceleration to see off 5-4 favourite Twinkle by a length and three-quarters in second. However, around 25 minutes after the race, an objection was lodged into the identity of Alizarine, with the stewards eventually awarding the race to Twinkle. The Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board tweeted: "Alizarine has been disqualified under Rule 262(iv)c as the horse could not be positively identified post-race." A Harrington-trained runner later on the card, the three-year-old Aurora Princess, was subsequently withdrawn by order of the stewards.
Ado McGuinness won the Colm Quinn BMW Mile Handicap for a third successive year with 50-1 shot Sirjack Thomas. The trainer fielded six in the race, including dual winner Saltonstall and it briefly looked as though he was going to complete a hat-trick when he hit the front at the top of the straight as pace-setting stablemate Spanish Harbour reached the end of his tether. But Sirjack Thomas, who only snuck into the race on account of a non-runner, was flying in the hands of 5lb claimer Mikey Sheehy, pulling three lengths clear of 33-1 shot Quizical at the line. Galtee Mist (11-1) won the Listed highlight on the card, the Colm Quinn BMQ Irish EBF Corrib Fillies & Mares Stakes, for Joe Murphy and Gary Carroll. The five-year-old is entering her final weeks of racing as she is in foal to Make Believe, but she posted a career-best effort in gaining a valuable black-type victory by three and a half lengths over Lustown Baba. Emilie Gray was a thoroughly impressive winner of the opening Caulfield Industrial Irish EBF Maiden for the Dermot Weld-Colin Keane alliance. Imposing Supreme got rewarded for recent consistency with an impressive win for Thomas Gibney. Imposing Supreme was advised to our members (0.5pt each way) 9/2. There was a win for No Thanks who had already run well on the opening evening of the festival.
At Goodwood, the ground was really heavy. Trueshan claimed Group One glory for Alan King and Hollie Doyle with a decisive success in the Al Shaqab Goodwood Cup. A runaway winner on Champions Day at Ascot in October, the five-year-old made a promising start to the current campaign when runner-up to Japan at Chester in May before missing an intended appearance in the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot due to unsuitable ground. With the rain-softened ground leading to the withdrawal of four-time Goodwood Cup hero Stradivarius, King's charge was the 6-5 favourite to provide his multiple Grade One-winning trainer with a first top-level success on the Flat. Trueshan raced keenly for much of the two-mile journey, but moved to the lead early in the home straight and saw off the brave effort of the largely-unconsidered 33-1 shot Away He Goes by just under four lengths, giving a jubilant Doyle her second Group One win. Angel Bleu and Kinross provided trainer Ralph Beckett and owner Marc Chan with a Group Two double on the opening afternoon of the Qatar Goodwood Festival.
Wednesday, we start at Galway. Royal Rendezvous improved on last year's second place to take top honours in the Tote Galway Plate on day three of the Ballybrit festival. Sent off the 5-1 favourite, Royal Rendezvous was prominent throughout with Townend opting to take it up from Samcro at an early stage and he had a clear lead jumping the last fence before the long run for home. Stablemate Easy Game emerged from the pack to make a race of it, but Royal Rendezvous held on by a length, with Modus taking third and The Shunter back in fourth. Royal Rendezvous was advised (0.5pt each way) at 8/1 to our members. Annie G (7-2) ran out a convincing victor in the Listed Tote+ Placepot Pays More Novice Hurdle. Trained by Henry de Bromhead and ridden by Darragh O’Keeffe, Annie G was in control from some way out.
Nodoubtabouthat (12-1) was a poignant winner of the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Mares Handicap Hurdle in the hands of 7lb claimer Joseph Kelly. Trainer Shane Crawley explained: "The (Who What Why) syndicate (winning owners) aren’t here today as one of the members, Michael Griffin, buried his mother Mae this morning. Desir Du Large raced awkwardly in the closing stages but still came out on top in the Tote+ At tote.ie Galway Races Maiden Hurdle for Joseph O'Brien. There was a huge local success for Paul and Jack Gilligan as Shanwalla took the handicap hurdle. It was good news for our members as Shanwalla was advised (0.5pt each way) 20/1. Henry de Bromhead had very strong numerical representation in the Tote Proud Sponsor of The Galway Races Handicap Chase. However, it was Abbey Magic who came home in front for Sean Flanagan. It made it a day to remember for our members as Abbey Magic was advised (1pt each way) 10/1.
At Goodwood, Alcohol Free beat the colts to provide owner Jeff Smith with a famous victory in the Qatar Sussex Stakes at Goodwood. Successful in the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot in June, the Andrew Balding-trained filly attempted to make all in the Falmouth at Newmarket last time out but had to give best close home to Snow Lantern, who took her on again. Champion jockey Oisin Murphy was determined to delay his challenge on this occasion and made sure he played his hand late. After a slow early pace Century Dream injected some speed into it a long way from home and caught a few rivals on the back foot. Kevin Manning set off in pursuit on the favourite Poetic Flare and on entering the final furlong hit the front – but Jim Bolger's 2000 Guineas and St James’s Palace Stakes hero was soon to face a bigger challenge, as Alcohol Free quickened impressively and went on to win by a length and three-quarters as a 7-2 chance. Snow Lantern, who could have run in the Nassau Stakes over 10 furlongs later in the week, made up plenty of late ground to claim third, the same distance away.
Thursday, we start at Galway. Saldier defied top-weight to give Willie Mullins a huge double by winning the Guinness Galway Hurdle Handicap. Just 24 hours on from winning the Galway Plate with Royal Rendezvous, Mullins saddled his third winner of the Galway Hurdle in just four years. It was also a third win in the race for Patrick Mullins - an outstanding achievement for an amateur jockey. Saldier who ran well at Royal Ascot last time out was back over timber and fitted with cheekpieces for the first time, the Rich Ricci-owned gelding did not look to be travelling as well as some into the straight with Neil Mulholland's Milkwood going as well as any and Cape Gentleman hitting the front at the last.Saldier really quickened up at a vital stage and got first run on Milkwood, meaning Mullins could grab the rail and the 18-1 shot went on to win by two lengths. Milkwood was second with 6-1 favourite Cape Gentleman third. It was a brilliant result for our members. Saldier was advised (1pt each way) at 18/1 and Cape Gentleman (0.5pt each way) at 9/1.
Willie Mullins had earlier been on the mark with Farout (3-1) in the Guinness Novice Hurdle and Fan De Blues in the Grade Three Rockshore Novice Chase. Winner number four of the evening for Willie Mullins came as MC Muldoon took the Guinness Novice Hurdle. It was more good news for our members as MC Muldoon was advised (1.5pts win) 2/1. The cherry on the cake was 0.25pt each-way double Saldier 615 Galway 18/1 and MC Muldoon 715 Galway 2/1. John McConnell's Albert Bartlett third Streets Of Doyen made a winning debut over fences in the Guinness Open Gate Brewery Beginners Chase. While he failed to repeat his Cheltenham form at Aintree or Punchestown, he was sent off at 7-2 in a strong field.
John McConnell's Albert Bartlett third Streets Of Doyen made a winning debut over fences in the Guinness Open Gate Brewery Beginners Chase. While he failed to repeat his Cheltenham form at Aintree or Punchestown, he was sent off at 7-2 in a strong field. Simon Torrens shot up the inside of Paul Townend on Blue Berry turning into the straight, but his mount idled close home and just held off Western Run by a neck. "The gap just presented itself and I thought why not go the shorter route," said Torrens. "I came across to the stands rail for a bit of a running rail. Halfway up the hill he spotted the crowd and he idled plenty."He wore cheekpieces over hurdles and I'd say it won't be too long before he gets them put on again."He's a classy horse, he went to Cheltenham and was third in the Albert Bartlett. He's been consistent all year and deserved to get his head in front." It was more good news for our member's Streets Of Doyen (0.75pt each way.) 5/1
At Goodwood, Lady Bowthorpe provided jockey Kieran Shoemark with his first Group One success - and trainer William Jarvis his first since 1994 - as she won the Qatar Nassau Stakes at Goodwood. Shoemark held Lady Bowthorpe up in the early stages as Aidan O'Brien's contenders Joan Of Arc and Empress Josephine made the early pace. Joan Of Arc still led into the straight, with eventual runner-up Zeyaadah in her slipstream. But Shoemark made ground to challenge more than a furlong out and then surge clear for victory by a length and a half at 100-30.
Friday, we start at Galway. Jazzaway got up in the dying strides to give Willie Mullins another feature race winner at Galway in the Guinness Handicap Hurdle. Having already achieved the notable double of landing the Galway Plate with Royal Rendezvous and the Galway Hurdle with Saldier, Mullins continued his dominance of the meeting on day five. Only fifth turning into the straight, Jazzaway (9-1) looked to have plenty to do under Conor McNamara – who already had one winner under his belt on the day – as Western Victory made his bid for home. Jazzaway found plenty on landing after the last, however, and was always getting there, ultimately winning by a head.
Paul Gilligan and his son Jack have also had a week to remember, and they landed a second winner as Born By The Sea rewarded strong market support in the Guinness Galway Blazers Handicap Chase. The 10-1 shot was one of a host in with a chance at the last and he emerged from the pack having never been far off the pace under his young rider, who is excellent value for his 7lb claim. Paul Gilligan said: "We were lucky to win this race before with good old Barry Geraghty on Wellforth and this is magic. We’ve had a double for the week, were unlucky not to win the second race and we own the horse."He ran Monday evening and we decided to leave the tongue-tie off him today. He is a mighty warrior, he owes us nothing. "He always runs a solid race and the Kerry National is possible, why not. He had a fantastic run when third at Listowel in June.
Denis O’Regan was seen at his very best as Arcadian Sunrise denied Bua Boy in the valuable Guinness Galway Tribes Handicap Hurdle, to give connections ample compensation for missing the Galway Hurdle. Bua Boy looked to have sealed the deal under Denis Hogan, bidding for his second winner of the festival in the saddle, but O’Regan rolled back the years. Riding the 5-1 chance for John Queally, O’Regan managed to conjure up a real sprint finish from his mount, getting up to win by half a length with the pair five lengths clear.
At Goodwood, Suesa stamped herself as a new force in the sprinting division here on Friday with a three-length defeat of Dragon Symbol in the Group Two King George Stakes, but as Francois Rohaut’s filly moved centre stage, one of the fastest horses of recent years may have taken his final bow. Battaash, the winner of the race for the last four years, faded into seventh after travelling strongly to the furlong pole, and could now retire to his late owner Sheikh Hamdan al-Maktoum’s Shadwell Stud near Newmarket. The retirement of Battash was subsequently confirmed 24 hours later.
Saturday, we start at Galway. Crowns Major went one better for Emmet Mullins than earlier in the week when winning the €100,000 Galway Shopping Centre Handicap. Second over two miles on Tuesday in a minor contest, the four-year-old, who won a bumper at the Punchestown Festival, was ridden by 7lb claimer Wesley Joyce. In the first race of the day, the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Maiden, fancied Buckaroo just edged out Stone Age in the final stages to get an early win for trainer Joseph O'Brien. 8/13 favourite Sherkin Island had a strong race throughout to claim the Irish Independent On Saturday Maiden. There was a surprise in the O'Leary Insurances Handicap as 20/1 shot Dedillon prevailed in a field of 16. Andrew Slattery’s five-year-old mare was prominent throughout and had a length and a quarter to spare over High Altitude. In the first Galway Shopping Centre Handicap of the day, 12/1 shot Kaaranah just managed to hold off Black Cat Bobby. In the Irish EBF Auction Series Maiden, favourite Nectaris, ridden by Shane Foley, won by a couple of lengths while Cool and Clever prevailed in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Nursery Handicap after edging a competitive finish with Snapius and joint-favourite Barud also pushing hard. In the final race of the day, 25/1 shot Dazzling Darren, under Robert Whearty, came through to fend off Crassus.
At Goodwood, Commanche Falls continued his impressive progression through the ranks when winning the Unibet Stewards’ Cup at Goodwood. Trained by Michael Dods, who excels with sprinters, the four-year-old has made giant strides this season. A winner at Ayr in April off a mark of just 84, he has also won at Ripon before taking the Scottish Stewards’ Cup last time out. That win earned him a 6lb penalty – but as the handicapper only saw fit to raise him 5lb for that narrow win, he was effectively racing from 1lb wrong at the weights. Usually in such a competitive race that could be crucial, but Commanche Falls (10-1) is clearly improving at a rate of knots still. John Quinn’s incredibly consistent Mr Wagyu won for the fifth time this season when making most of the running in the Unibet Stewards’ Sprint Handicap at Goodwood. The six-year-old began his winning spree nine runs previously at Hamilton in early June off a lowly mark of 68, yet was running off 91 on this occasion following three more wins and a host of placed efforts.
Michael Bell’s new recruit Prince Alex just got the better of Urban Artist to win the £100,000 Summer Handicap at Goodwood. Trained to win five times last year by Ralph Beckett, he was moved to Bell’s Newmarket stable by owners Amo Racing after his defeat at HQ last time out. Wonderful Tonight added to her growing reputation when successfully conceding a penalty in the Qatar Lillie Langtry Stakes at Goodwood. David Menuisier’s stable star already has two Group Ones on her record and was racing in Group Two company having been a late absentee from last weekend’s King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot on account of the fast ground. Menuisier, who does not train too far from Goodwood at Pulborough, agonised over that decision – but with £170,000 on offer to the winner of this race just seven days later, it is hard to say he made the wrong call.
Sunday, we start at Galway. The Galaxy Horse Racing Syndicate made its first appearance of the week. We crossed the Shannon in large numbers to support Double Kodiac and Mokhalad 245 Galway. The contrast between both horses was there for all to see. Mokhalad has been there done it he knows what these days involve. Through his career, he has risen to an occasion for us time after time. The bottom line is this was a 75 is top weight handicap, however, at Galway, it's always a slightly bigger occasion. The question for Mokhalad was which Mokhalad would turn up? If the real Mokhalad turned up they all would have plenty to worry about. Double Kodiac has all the potential in front of him. Three excellent runs this season on turf, he looked sure to run his race but how would he take the occasion, track and preliminaries were the questions. The talent of Double Kodiac is not in question. He is undoubtedly well handicapped. Could Double Kodiac take the next step for us by building on his promise?
We had been delighted with Mokhalad in the last few weeks. His last three workouts have been very good. Mokhalad had run once at Galway before finishing third. Double Kodiacs work has been high class he is in physically peak condition. The draw of 15 was negative. What a day it turned out to be at Galway. Mokhalad roared back from a spell in the doldrums with a breathtaking display under Siobhan Rutledge. Mokhalad as I said earlier had been really pleasing us in the build-up to this race. However, even for ourselves, the way he went about his work exceeded our hopes. Mokhalad attacked his race with real determination, flying from the gates attempting to make all. Mokhalad finished a brilliant third going down by a half-length and a half-length. Mokhalad was carried out on his shield.
There are so many people to thank for this upturn in fortunes. Mokhalad's work rider Amy O'Hanlon deserves so much credit they have formed an incredible bond. Amy O'Hanlon joined us on the day it really added to team spirit with her being with us. To say Amy got behind Mokhalad during and after the race would be an understatement. It was genuinely heartwarming, really wonderful to see Amy's support for our King. John McConnell our trainer who has had his patience tested to the limit by Mokhalad, however, he kept trying and tweaking. Siobhan Rutledge trusted Mokhalad filling him with confidence, Siobhan believed in him enough to go for the most daring of rides. It was an exceptional ride from a very talented rider who is an even better person than she is a jockey. Mokhalad's owners deserve great credit as well. It would have been easy to panic after the start of the season, making a knee jerk decision. We will check Mokhalad over today and look to rock on with him if we find a suitable race. I don't know what life will be like without this horse. I am just so grateful Mokhalad is our horse every day we have him.
Double Kodiac ran a valiant race finishing seventh. There was no disgrace in this effort at all. He could not match Mokhalads turn of foot off the home turn and was on the back foot from that point. Double Kodiac was the victim of a piece of outrageous interference when jockey Conor Clarke wiped out Eastern racer and Double Kodiac getting a three-day suspension for dangerous riding yet he was allowed to keep fifth place denying Eastern Racer and Double Kodiac of Prizemoney they had actually earned. The jury is out on if Double Kodiac handled the track for me. He ran on bravely after the interference. Double Kodiac will get his turn of that I have no doubt we will work to find the winning opportunity. We expect Double Kodiac to race again soon, we could do with some rain. We will talk it over with Leanne and go from that point.
Current Option successfully defended his crown in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF 'Ahonoora' Handicap at Galway. The Ado McGuinness-trained five-year-old was a narrow winner of the €100,000 contest 12 months ago, before going on to win at Listed and Group Three level by the end of 2020. He finished seventh behind stablemate Sirjack Thomas in Tuesday's BMW Mile, and the pair renewed their rivalry in the Festival's final-day feature. There was drama from the start, with Archie Watson's British challenger Stone Soldier unshipping Oisin Orr shortly after the stalls opened. The loose horse threatened to cause trouble rounding the home turn, impeding 5-1 shot Current Option just as he was challenging another stable companion in Spanish Tenor for the lead. However, 7lb claimer Cian MacRedmond managed to get his mount on an even keel and picked up well to score by half a length from the fast-finishing On A Session. Spanish Tenor was third, with Sirjack Thomas fourth, to round off an excellent result for McGuinness.
The front-running Church Mountain (12-1) provided trainer Denis Hogan with his third winner of the week, digging deep for rider Joey Sheridan to land the Kenny Galway Volvo Handicap by half a length from Ten Ten Twenty. Dermot Weld and Colin Keane combined to claim the Lord Hemphill Memorial Irish EBF Median Auction Maiden, with 15-2 shot Malayan. Keane doubled up aboard the Willie Mullins-trained Micro Manage in the JPK Fencing Systems Race. The 8-11 favourite eventually wore down the front-running Monas Melody before pulling three and three-quarter lengths clear inside the final furlong, giving Mullins his 10th winner of the week. Imposing Supreme notched his second win of the Festival in the Ardilaun Hotel Handicap.