Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Galway Festival begins, Roscommon to come

This weekend’s action

This weekend racing continues at Ballybrit this afternoon (Thursday) at 1.50 pm with another mixed card, featuring the Galway Hurdle. Racing then goes on until Sunday at the western venue with the first on Friday at 5.10 pm, on Saturday at 2.25 and the final day of a long 7 days racing comes to an end on Sunday with racing starting at 2.20. There is also racing on the level at Cork, or Mallow as us older folk, know it, on Sunday with a 2.05 start. 

  On Bank Holiday Monday racing is on the level at Naas, and over the sticks at Mallow On Tuesday racing is at Lenebane in Roscommon and you can still win tickets see competition below. All meetings at Galway are mixed cards.

  Racing continues in the west starting at Sligo on Wednesday and Thursday and finishes up in the midlands at Kilbeggan on Saturday.

  On Tuesday there are a number of local sponsors at Roscommon when the Railway Bar take the opening 3-Y-O hurdle of the year under their belt. The John F Hanly Group then sponsor the third race, a 3m handicap hurdle and Sean Naughton Auctioneers lend the banner to the Handicap Chase. The best turned out horse in each race is covered by Cattigan’s Bar, Castlecoote. There is another meeting scheduled for Lenebane later this month and a little bird tells me that there will be a race between our top jockeys in both codes confirmation and a special guest is also expected – all details to follow next week. 

Review of the week

Sunday week Frankie Dettori won the Darley Irish Oaks for Godolphin on supplemented entry Blue Bunting and again this week Nathaniel repaid the faith of his trainer John Gosden when having been supplemented at a cost of £75,000 he won the King George Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot. In a race, marred by the fatal injury to Godolphin’s star Rewilding, Gosden’s charge beat Workforce with St Nicolas Abbey third and the pacemaker Debussy 4th. The distances were 2¾l, 1¾l and 20l. The winner is not in the Arc and may be supplemented at a cost of £100,000.

  Frankel proved himself one of the all-time greats by stretching his unbeaten record to eight dismissing Canford Cliffs in devastating fashion at Goodwood yesterday. Last year's Sussex winner Canford Cliffs proved no match for trainer Sir Henry Cecil’s star with the three-year-old coming five lengths clear. 

Galway review to date

Galway’s Ballybrit Festival started on Monday evening with the master of Ballybrit Dermot Weld having a disappointing day with only 1 winner Riviera Poet in the 2-Y-O race. The opening novice hurdleresulted in defeat for the yard’s hot pot Sulwaan when the Noel Meade trained resulted in defeat for the yard’s hotpot Sulwaan when the Noel Meade trained Virgil Earp won at odds of 9/1 one up to the layers. The feature QR Handicap was won by the Tom Mullins trained Fosters Cross ridden by Corkonian Colin Motherway.

   The day belong to John Kiely who made the long journey from Waterford to record a double winning the handicap hurdle with recent Roscommon winner Carlingford Lough in the JP McManus silks with Mark Walsh in the plate. The second leg came in the bumpe4r when local top point tp point rider Derek O’Connor had an easy task in steering Saint Gervais home.

  On Tuesday Dermot Weld came good with a treble winning the 2m flat handicap with Rainforest Magic, the feature Topaz Mile with Stunning View and signing off in the last with a hot shot and well named Catch The Eye. All three were ridden by stable jockey Pat Smullen and all three races were won by the Rossmore yard last year. 

  Yesterday the opener went to the odds on shot Galileo’s Choice from Rossmore Lodge giving Dermot Weld his 5th winner of the week just hanging on by a neck from the rallying Drumfire with 28l back in 3rd.

  In the second recent Roscommon winner Royal Reveille came good again for Ted Walsh winning the Tote Handicap Hurdle under an easy ride from Mark Walsh, no relation, for owner Barry Connell. The Old Vic 6-Y-O won by 7l and 1 ¾ l from Magical memoir and the local Pauline Gavin trained The Lady Granuaile.  

  Roscommon form held up again in the third when Gala Dancer, 3rd to Regal Ambition last month in Lenebane, won from Corrick Bridge and King Ali.

  The fourth race was won by Catch The Moment trained by Denis Cullen and ridden by Barry O’Neill one of the best young amateurs at the moment.

  The feature provide some race with JP McManus’s Wise Old Owl having flown for home and looked all over a winner but the Mullin’s are never beaten around Galway and Blazing Tempo swooped under a strong ride from, recently returned from injury, Paul Townend to win his first Plate. The mare is trained Kilkenny by Willie Mullins who also, believe it or not, was winning his first Galway Plate. She would probably been ridden by Ruby Walsh if he was not out with injury. English raider Agile D’Or trained by Nicky Henderson was 3rd and the winning distances were 1¼l and 1l. The last mare to win the race was Boro Quarter who was trained by Willie’s father, the late Paddy Mullins in 1986.

  The sixth was won by Weld again as the first reserve took his place in the race and ran out a winner from Hot Sand and Solar Sail. 

  In the penultimate race Andrew Oliver turned out Dodging Bullets to win from Spirit of Cuba by 2 ½ l with the Weld challenger A Word Apart only 3rd another 1¼l back. The winner was bred by top flat jockey Frankie Detorri.

  With one race left yesterday Dermot Weld is leading trainer’s competition on 6 winners, Pat Smullen the flat jockey’s competition on 5 winners and Mark Walsh the national hunt jockey’s on 2.

  The Pick 6 pool has still not been won and a pot of nearly €60,000.00 will be up for grabs today and if not won will be forwarded each day for the rest of the week. A difficult pot to win but it should pay a big dividend for a small stake is guaranteed when it is won. Also there is a carry over of more than €45,000 into today’s Jackpot.

General news   

Sunday was a great day for Hayley Moore who won the Filly Factor competition from local lass Rachel Casey in a close contest. Haley also won the opening race at Ascot, on which Rachel commentated, riding Caotain Ramius for trainer Kevin Ryan. Apologies for the voting information given last week but it appears that voting was not open to viewers in the Republic despite being assured that it was. Well cone to both girls.

  The team for the annual 15th Irish vs Australian Jump Jockeys has been announced for this year’s trip down under. Jockey Roger Loughran heads the Irish team which also includes Matthew Bowe, Alan Crowe and Pat Mangan. Sean Lynch, the Irish Team's manager, stated at Galway yesterday "this is the 15th year of the Series and the Irish are well ahead for the previous 14 years."

Galway preview


Today (Thursday) sees the eagerly-awaited rematch between Captain Cee Bee and The Real Article in the Guinness Galway Hurdle. The Captain won the Grimes Hurdle in Tipperary from Edward O'Grady’s Article by a short-head defeat with the easy ride catching the eye of the authorities, and he looks to be 18lb well-in here. Despite the weight difference and apparent handicap certainty JP may have today’s winner in Captain Cee Bee, a class horse who could have run yesterday. 

  It is not a two-horse race and Hidden Universe, Dirar, Plan A and Monday's feature winner Fosters Cross all merit consideration.

  In the opening Perfect Pint Beginners Chase, won last year by Chicago Grey, stable mate Traffic Article tries to emulate the feat for trainer Gordon Elliott who hopes he will go on to better things.

  Ladies, hope you are all ready and in all your best finery for The Best Dressed Lady competition today sponsored by Anthony Ryan Ltd of Shop Street, Galway. The winner will receive 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. 

  The 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.  All ladies hoping to walk away with one of the best Ladies Day prizes in Irish Racing should be at the track early as the finalists will be chosen by 2.30 pm.  

  Don’t forget the daily Race Card competition with fabulous prizes sponsored by the top hotels in and around Galway, fill in the form on your card and post it in the box provided. And finally the Tote 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 going at Galway is still good to yielding and with a good forecast no change is expected for the rest of the week.  

Competition time


The winners of our Galway Plate competition sponsored by Tote Ireland are Eimear Kellegher, who drew the winner and €125, Anthonine Winston had the 2nd and €50 and Conor Mulrennan the third and €25. You will receive your prizes in the post in the next couple of weeks and we would like to thank Tote Ireland and Dryden Geary for their very generous sponsorship once again.

  This week is your last chance to win 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 postcard to The Roscommon People, Abbey Street, Roscommon or by e-mail 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 email.