Sunday, 29 March 2015

Getting ready for Galway

By Tom Red 

This weekend’s action 

There is an afternoon meeting at Limerick this afternoon (Thursday) starting at 5.45 pm and this evening the Bulmers Live at Leopardstown series continues with the famous Tuam shams The Sawdoctors providing the live music after an all flat card with racing away at 5.55 pm. Tomorrow (Friday) racing both meetings are all flat at Wexford off at 5.35 and at Down Royal off at 5.55. 

  On Saturday, the last day of racing before the hullabaloo of Galway on Monday is at Wexford first away at 2.35 and it’s an all national hunt card. Sunday is a day of rest in Ireland before the long week of the Galway Festival.

Review of the week

At Kilbeggan last Saturday Ballygar trainer David Kelly continued his good run when Benefitthewest won the 2m 3f handicap hurdle under Eddie O’Connell. The 5-Y-O Beneficial gelding was bred by Brendan Noone and runs in the colours of the Cabb Syndicate. The Cabb Syndicate are a group of locals from in and around Ballygar who have had horses with David for over 10 years and had their first win on the track with this horse in early May in Sligo.

  On Saturday at headquarters in the Curragh Simla Sunset, running for the Joseph P Daly Partnership, headed by Ballygar’s Dr Joe Daly, won the 7f handicap giving the village its 2nd winner in 2 days. Joe was also second but it was a horse called Joe Eile who was beaten ½l with recent winner Colour of Love back in 3rd. The 5-Y-O daughter of One Cool Cat was ridden by claimer Ronan Whelan and has now won 4 races and will probably step up to Listed class.

  On Sunday Frankie Dettori stole the Darley Irish Oaks for Godolphin as supplemented entry Blue Bunting repaid the faith in her coming with a late run to pip Banimpire on the line with Wonder of Wonders 3rd and Laughing Lashes 4th. In a fabulous finish only a short head, ½l and a short head separated the first 4 home.  

Godolphin’s Newmarket 1000 Guineas winner was in trouble turning in as she was pushed along behind the leaders and had to be pulled wide inside the final furlong where she found a burst of speed to get up past her rivals in the shadow or the post. 

  Also on Sunday the Ladies Derby Handicap was run at the Curragh and there were 6 trainer parents/daughters combinations out of 13 in the race. But one of the best known combinations, Ted and Katie Walsh, were associated with separate horses in the race. Katie was riding the favourite Scottish Boogie for Limerick trainer Charles Byrnes and disappointed finishing only 7th. However Ted’s horse, Paramount ridden by 7lb claimer Martha Pisarek from Poland, won by ¾l from the  mother and daughter combination of Joanna Morgan and Katie McGivern on Jigalo with the John Oxx trained Dimona 3rd ridden by Susan Quirke.   

General news   

Good news for Willie Mullins ahead of the Festival when champion jockey Paul Townend was cleared on Tuesday to ride in Galway. Townwnd, out since a fall at Punchestown in May, will have a nice book of rides with Ruby Walsh out and could win the jump jockey’s title. He rode out for Mullins yesterday.

Competition time


We are now at the last chance saloon of the competition for the Tote Galway Plate Day and the last 4 qualifying places up for grabs this week. Each qualifier will receive a €10 Tote Voucher and a ticket to Galway Races on Plate Day at Ballybrit sponsored by The Tote compliments of their PR and Marketing Manager Dryden Geary. On the day of the race all 22 will draw a horse in the race and the winner will receive a Tote Voucher for €125, the second €50 and the third €25.

  This week we want to know what is the name of the horse who won in Tipperary last Sunday who holds a double entry in the Tote Galway Plate and Galway Hurdle? Answers please on a post card to The Roscommon People, Abbey Street Roscommon or by e-mail to by noon next Monday the 25th July. Don’t forget to include your name, address and a contact phone number, as the winners will have to collect their tickets in the office on Tuesday and only one entry allowed per person or e-mail address.

  This week’s 4 qualifiers who all knew that Ballybrit is the name of the Galway track are Kathleen Kelly from Longford, Des Bruen from Roscommon, Daniel Cunniffe from Kiltoom and Tony Ward from Athleague. Well done to all and if your name did not come up this week you have just 1 chance left to qualify. 

  Also this week we continue our competition for 3 pairs of tickets for the next meeting at Lenebane on August 2nd, here in Roscommon compliments of Michael Finneran and his hard working committee. To win a pair of tickets please let us know which horse won the inaugural running of the Connaught National earlier this year? Answers please on a post card to The Roscommon People, Abbey Street Roscommon or by email to by midday on Friday the 29th July. Don’t forget to include your name, address and a contact phone number, a must as tickets will have to be collected in our offices on Tuesday and only one entry allowed per person or e-mail address 

Galway Preview

Galway’s Ballybrit Festival starts next Monday evening at 5.05 and features the QR Handicap over 2m (formerly the GPT Amateur Handicap) at 6.45 pm along with the & Ramada Hotel Handicap run over 7f thirty five minutes earlier. 

  The King of Ballybrit, Dermot Weld runs Universal Truth and Natural High in the feature seeking a win in a race he also won as a jockey many moons ago on a horse called Spanner. Also in the race are John Kiely’s Oneeightofamile

  While local interest comes in the shape of Paul Flynn’s Bremen, not without a chance, my idea of value in the race looks to be the Thomond O’Meara trained Tornedo Shay, a fancy for the Cheltenham Bumper a couple of years ago after winning at Leopardstown on his debut, who has come good this season unplaced only once out of 7 runs this year, winning 2 of them. He also won on his only run here in October 2009. If they come up the hill once they can and will do it again.

  Many of the days racing this year have a theme and once again Monday is “Open Night with the Sports Stars” which will include Alan Quinlan – recently retired Ireland and Munster player and one of the celebrity stars in RTE’s ‘Stars Go Racing’, along with Connaught Rugby players Gavin Duffy, Michael Swift and Michael McCarthy and some of Ireland’s top national hunt and flat jockeys. There is also a warm up race for Thursday’s Fillies Stakes with a Most Appropriately Dressed Lady Competition with a prize of a hat, for Thursday’s ‘race’, designed by award-winning Irish milliner, Suzie Mahony.

  The Pick 6 pool of €45,024.00 will be up for grabs on Monday and if not won will be forwarded to the following day all week. A difficult pot to win but it should pay a big dividend for a small stake when it is won. 

  Again on Tuesday first race is off at 5.05 featuring the Topaz Galway Mile E.B.F. Handicap off at 6.45 pm and The Latin Quarter Chase over 2m 6f at 5.35 pm.

  Wednesday sees the feature of the week for most race goers with the Galway Plate. Note that racing starts at 3.00 pm and the feature is at 5.25. 

  Winner of the Galway Plate 4 times trainer Dermot Weld will run Majestic Concorde in next Wednesday's feature. Dr Ronan Lambe's eight-year-old was 3rd in the race last year and heads the market as co-favourite with Bahrain Storm for this year’s race. His last run was at Aintree where he unseated jockey Robbie McNamara in the Grand National at the Canal Turn second time around.

  David Pipe is strongly considering running Qulinton winner of the Summer Plate at Market Rasen on Saturday under Irish jockey Conor O’Farrell in the Galway Plate. It will all depend on what penalty he receives for that win. Local interest in the race will be Lenebane who look good each way value at 20/1. Winner of the Connaught National at Lenebane Campbonais is unlikely to get into the race. Bahrain Storm, winner of the 2009 Hurdle and still in this years Hurdle, is antepost favourite and should get a run and will take all the beating if he does.

  Thursday sees the other main feature of the week the Guinness Galway Hurdle and again racing starts at 1.50 with the feature off at 4.50 pm and this race will be covered in detail next week along with the last 3 days of the festival.

  The Best Dressed Lady competition needs little introduction and takes place this year once again on Thursday. This year’s competition is sponsored by Anthony Ryan Ltd of Shop Street and The Best Dressed Lady will walk away with a diamond solitaire pendant valued at €8,500, a shopping spree worth €1,500 in Anthony Ryans and €1,000 cash. She will also receive a corporate hospitality package for Galway Races October Bank Holiday Racing Festival to include dinner and champagne reception and a Lancôme Presentation Gift Hamper worth over €500. The total prize is valued at over €12,000. The prize for the winner of the “Best Hat” is a €1500 shopping spree at Anthony Ryan’s Galway. 

  This year’s judges are Brendan Courtney, Broadcaster and Off the Rails Presenter, Bairbre Power, Fashion Editor of the Irish Independent and PJ Gibbons, Editor, Social and Personal Magazine who will be joined by well-known locals Mandy Maher, Catwalk Model Agency and Patricia McCrossan, Managing Director, Galway NOW.

  There is also a daily Race Card competition with the prizes being sponsored by 7 of the top hotels in and around Galway. And finally the Tote will have a draw in the parade ring every day after the 5th race and to enter simply put you name and phone number on the back of all losing tote tickets to win some wonderful prizes.

  The leading Jockey Awards will again be sponsored by Rooney Auctioneers of Galway and the leading Trainer Award will be sponsored by Channelle Veterinary Products of Loughrea. Next week we will look in detail at the racing for the second half of the week.

  The going at Galway was described today as good to yielding and with a good forecast no change is expected. Don’t forget to support your local bookmakers in Brian Keenan from Roscommon and Denis Deane from Frenchpark both standing in Ballybrit.