This weeks blog will focus on Galway and Goodwood. The festival at Galway kicked off with no crowds. Dermot Weld made his customary flying start to the seven-day Galway Festival with a double on Monday evening. Blue For You got the ball rolling. Centroid, a Dansili half-brother to King George record-breaker Enable, made it a double with a narrow verdict in the Easyfix Handicap. Finian Maguire delivered Princess Zoe with a perfectly-timed challenge to win the Connacht Hotel (Q.R.) Handicap, the feature event on the opening day of the Galway Festival. It was a tremendous win for Tony Mullins who is now considering the Cesarewitch at Newmarket. The Galmont.com & Galwaybayhotel.com Handicap (Div I) provided Billy Lee with a quick double as Royal Canford (7/2), second at the Festival last year, went one place better. The other leg of the Billy Lee double was Talking Tough. It was a decent day for our members. Royal Canford (1pt each way) at 7/1 won. Atlas 545 Galway placed (0.5pt each way)
The Eventus 3-y-o Handicap saw Flying Scotsman (10/3 fav) relish the step-up in trip to record a three-length victory over Dark Voyager. Unplaced in three starts for Aidan O’Brien last term, the Galileo colt joined Joseph O’Brien this year. Mt Leinster (3/1) maintained a family tradition when landing the Monami Construction (Q.R.) Maiden in the hands of Patrick Mullins. It was the fourth year in a row that Willie and Patrick Mullins won this race.
Owner Philip Reynolds has confirmed his star chaser Presenting Percy will be trained by Gordon Elliott this season, after being moved from Pat Kelly’s yard. The nine-year-old is a dual Cheltenham Festival winner, having supplemented his victory in the 2017 Pertemps Final with a brilliant display a year later. His win in the 2018 RSA Chase saw him move to the head of ante-post lists for the following year’s Cheltenham Gold Cup. However, he raced just once prior to his bid for Gold Cup glory — winning the Galmoy Hurdle at Gowran Park — and finished a lowly eighth in the blue riband, after which he was diagnosed with a back problem.
The son of Sir Percy ran four times without winning last term — most recently falling two fences from home in the Gold Cup — and Reynolds feels the time has come to move Presenting Percy and the other seven horses he had in training with Kelly to other yards.‘It has been a very difficult decision, but now is the right time for a change,’ said Reynolds. ‘Pat and I remain friends and I will be forever grateful to him.‘The horses will go to a few guys who already train for me, with Presenting Percy joining Gordon Elliott.
Tuesday, Our syndicate horse Trading Point ran a respectable race to finish 9th of 18 in the feature race at Galway. These races are very difficult, we have outrun our price but that's about it we have finished exactly where we did last season. We will look for a race down in grade looking to get Trading Point back in the winner's enclosure. We have a few opportunities coming up later in the week at possibly Galway and Naas. Ado McGuinness' Saltonstall (11/1) made it back to back Colm Quinn BMW Mile Handicap's at the Galway Festival with a last-gasp success. Champers Elysees proved far too good for her rivals as she ran away with the COLM QUINN BMW Irish EBF Corrib Fillies Stakes at Galway to continue the irresistible form of trainer Johnny Murtagh. Joseph O'Brien's Flying Scotsman backed up his victory at the Galway Festival yesterday with another game success. Out On Friday got the victory he had been promising when taking division one of the extended mile handicap in Galway. Joe Doyle conjured up a finish from Mulzamm to land division two of the Caulfield Industrial Handicap.
Stradivarius pulled off a dramatic piece of racing history with a memorable performance to win his fourth successive Al Shaqab Goodwood Cup – and is now set to be trained for the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe. Santiago pulled too hard earlier spoiling his chances. Space Blues put in a power-packed finish to claim Group Two honours in the Qatar Lennox Stakes at Goodwood.
Roger Varian has been dealt a second major blow in less than a week following the news his top-class middle-distance performer Defoe was fatally injured on the gallops on Wednesday morning. Steel Bull repaid Curragh trainer Michael O’Callaghan’s faith and adventure with victory in the Markel Insurance Molecomb Stakes at Goodwood. Oisin Murphy apologised for his “jockey error” as he came to terms with Kameko’s luckless passage in the Qatar Sussex Stakes. The race went to Mohaather demonstrated a devastating turn of foot to win a stellar renewal of the Qatar Sussex Stakes at Goodwood.
At Galway, Without a win over fences and making his debut in handicap company, the Joseph O'Brien trained Early Doors struck gold in the Tote Galway Plate. This was another brilliantly executed plot by the JP team. Not a great day at Galway punting wise not many bets Snugsborough Benny 645 Galway (1pt each way) 22/1 placed (5th special) in the Galway plate. Bon Retour completed a quick double for Paul Townend and Willie Mullins. Kaatskill Nap made the breakthrough on his fourth start over flights, completing the double for Paul Townend and Willie Mullins. The Very Man made it four wins in-a-row as he justified favouritism in the opener on Galway Plate day, the Listed Play The Tote Jackpot Novice Hurdle.
Thursday, we start at Goodwood. Mogul opened his account for the season with a hard-fought success in the John Pearce Racing Gordon Stakes at Goodwood. Fancy Blue fended off fellow Irish raider One Voice to win the Qatar Nassau Stakes at Goodwood – putting herself in the frame for a host of potential autumn targets that could include a clash with Love and Enable in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe. The win for Fancy Blue gave Donnacha O'Brien a group one winner in the UK.
At Galway, Aramon gave the father and son combination of Willie and Patrick Mullins a second Guinness Galway Hurdle success in three years with a fine weight-carrying performance in the Ballybrit feature. Always close to the pace, Aramon travelled well on the heels of the leader Hunters Call turning for home, and after the last he kept on strongly to score by two and a quarter lengths from Hearts Are Trumps (40/1). Petit Mouchoir (25/1), a regular adversary of the winner, was back in third with Hunters Call (12/1) finishing fourth in the end. Jon Snow had little difficulty seeing off his three rivals to make it a double for Willie Mullins.
Denis Hogan retired from race-riding after winning the Arthur Guinness Handicap Hurdle on the well-backed 5/1 favourite Bua Boy. The Doyen gelding had won a maiden hurdle on debut at Cork last year and had come down 7lbs in the ratings from his initial mark of 115. Here, he led before the last and kept on to beat stablemate Alabaster by two and a quarter lengths to give Hogan the trainer a one-two. Our friends at Hilltop have had 4 runners so far this week at Galway. Billyfairplay, Mulzamm, Bal De Rio & Alabaster. The lads have had a Winner two Seconds and a Fourth.
Denis Hogan dual-purpose handler will concentrate fully on training from now on.“I've really enjoyed it and it's hard to let go. I really enjoyed that,” said Hogan.“I have more things going on nowadays. It's gone so busy at home and there are days when I can't think what's going on as there is so much happening. I wouldn't even know I'm riding sometimes.“It's going so well. The only reason I could do this so long is that I've got such a great team at home.“I couldn't have stayed riding for so long if I hadn't had that back-up behind me.“My parents have been a massive help. I talked to them once or twice about doing this and they said to keep doing it if you enjoy it.“I do enjoy it but I have bigger commitments nowadays and there are plenty of good lads riding there.“I thought he could win but you never know until everything goes right in the race.“I like Galway and always did. I always trained everything for Galway.“I thought if ever there was time to go and leave the job, it was here at my favourite track.
It was a decent day punting for our members. A decent day for the members One Voice 315 Goodwood (0.5pt each way) 20/1 placed Court Maid 515 Galway (0.5pt each way) 7/1 (won) Aramon 645 Galway (1pt each way) 7/1 (won) Cherif De L'isle 745 Galway (1pt each way) 17/2 (placed 4th special). The members also had a 0.5pt each-way Double Aramon 645 7/1 (won) & Cherif De L'isle 17/2 (placed 4th special).
Friday, we start at Goodwood. Plans to allow racegoers to attend the final day of the Qatar Goodwood Festival have been scrapped after the Government announced the cancellation of further pilot events for the return of crowds to sporting venues due to the coronavirus pandemic. Battaash smashed his own track record as he won the King George Qatar Stakes for the fourth successive year at Goodwood. Charlie Hills’ brilliant sprinter lowered the record five-furlong time he himself had previously set. One Master initiated a big-race double for William Haggas and Tom Marquand at Goodwood on Friday when making the most of a drop-in class with a last-gasp victory in the Saint Clair Oak Tree Stakes. Tilsit came out on top after a dramatic climax to the Bonhams Thoroughbred Stakes at Goodwood.
Joseph O’Brien may well have a high-class performer on his hands in the shape of Galileo Chrome after the son of Australia ran out the wide-margin winner of the featured Leopardstown Members Race on Friday afternoon’s card at Leopardstown. There was a four-timer on the card for Joseph O'Brien with Federal, Galileo Chrome, Numberoneson and Full Moon Magic. I must say Joseph O'Brien is doing remarkable things as a trainer. This week perfectly captures the variety of his training skills. Joseph trains the winner of The Galway Plate on Wednesday evening and then a four-timer on the flat at Leopardstown on Friday.
At Galway, Despite running keenly for a long way, Great White Shark (5/1) galloped strongly up the hill to win the Grade B Guinness Handicap Hurdle at Galway for Willie Mullins. Diamond Hill (1pt each way) 6 /1 & My Sister Sarah (0.5pt each way) 10/1 both placed in the race for our members. Mindsmadeup (11/2) made the best way home to seal the Guinness Galway Blazers Handicap Chase in the hands of Robbie Power. The Storyteller, who was pulled up in the Galway Plate on Wednesday, bounced back to winning ways in the Arthur Guinness Chase over an extended two miles six at Galway. Mistakes at the first three fences did for him in the Plate but it was a different 'story' today.
Saturday, Stan Mellor, the first jump jockey to ride 1,000 winners, has died at the age of 83. At Goodwood, Enbihaar landed the odds to complete back-to-back victories in the Qatar Lillie Langtry Stakes. Summerghand finally had his day in the sun after a series of near-misses in big sprint handicaps when winning the Unibet Stewards’ Cup.
At Galway, Princess Zoe completed a two-week hat-trick with a clear-cut triumph in the valuable Galway Shopping Centre Premier Handicap. It was a brilliant training performance by Tony Mullins. The late money was in one direction in the O’Leary Insurances Handicap at Galway. They came for Sirjack Thomas and those that backed Dooley Thoroughbreds and Ado McGuinness horse were proved correct. Dark Voyager (13/8 fav) easily landed the concluding race on day six of the Festival, the McDonogh Capital Investments Handicap, for Willie Mullins and Shane Foley. Lightning Jock was a winner for Foley earlier in the day giving him a double on the day. A decent day for our members Sirjack Thomas 345 Galway (0.5pt each way) 10/1 (won) Emperor Of The Sun 515 Galway (1pt each way) 12/1 (placed).
Sunday, we start with the news The British Horseracing Authority has confirmed an apprentice jockey has tested positive for coronavirus. The ruling body said the rider, who has not been named, has not ridden for “a few weeks”, but did recently attend a racing meeting. Mick Channon’s Cairn Gorm maintained his unbeaten record with victory in the Darley Prix de Cabourg at Deauville. Frankie Dettori steered Miss Yoda to a front-running victory in the German Oaks at Dusseldorf. John McConnell's Go Another One switched back to hurdles for an emphatic victory in the three-miler at Cork.
At Galway, Current Option capped an excellent Galway Festival for trainer Ado McGuinness and apprentice Gavin Ryan with victory in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF “Ahonoora” Handicap. Camphor (9/4) brought up a brace of winners on the final day of Galway for Jessica Harrington and Shane Foley. For our members Darkened 350 Galway (1pt each way) 7/2 (rule 4 deduction 15%). The final race of the Galway Festival - the Fr. Breen Memorial Handicap - went the way of Willie Mullins' Eight And Bob to give the trainer 10 winners for the week.
My own personal reflection on Galway was it was a tremendous thing for the seven days to be run. Of course, without the crowds, it was very different however nevertheless. I enjoyed the week and racing. Galway Racecourse deserves great credit as do Racing TV and RTE for the excellent coverage.