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Clondaw Warrior stars in Galway win
31 Jul 2015 19:07
Royal Ascot hero Clondaw Warrior starred on the fifth day of the Galway Festival as he burst clear to take the valuable Guinness Handicap and earn a tilt at the Ebor at York next month.
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Successful in the two-and-a-half-mile Ascot Stakes under Ryan Moore, the Willie Mullins-trained eight-year-old dropped back a mile in trip and was produced to perfection by rising star Jack Kennedy, bursting clear from the turn.
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Showing no signs of stopping from there, the 4-1 winner had a ready length and a half in hand of 7-2 favourite Golden Spear.
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Mullins said: "He's improving all the time, the plan was the Galway Hurdle, but he wasn't good enough to get in on ratings this year.
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"When I looked at this race I thought for the money it wasn't really sharp, we had a good apprentice in Jack on his first ride for me and he was very good on him.
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"He didn't get flustered, he waited for the gaps and took them when they came. He sat and waited for the race to unfold and when it did the horse had the gears.
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"Last September he won here and we know about horses for courses at Galway.
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"I'd imagine he'll probably go for the Ebor if he gets in, if I can just freshen him up again that will be the plan. It's a lovely prize."
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Kennedy, partnering his 17th winner having been riding for three months, said: "It was brilliant, it's nice to get on the board and in a big handicap and for Willie on my first ride for him is great.
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"He travelled brilliantly, he carried me everywhere. If anything I probably got there a bit too soon, but he stayed galloping."
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Mouse Morris and David Mullins bagged a notable winner as Rouge Angel showed guts in abundance in the Guinness Galway Blazers Handicap Chase.
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Sent off at 16-1, the seven-year-old led passing the stands on the final circuit and despite being strongly pressed refused to buckle, proving two lengths too good for Perfect Promise.
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Urano, who was given a fine waiting ride by Ruby Walsh, had to settle for third.
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Morris had been out of luck when Rule The World was an unfortunate departure in the Galway Plate on Wednesday.
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He said: "There's nothing like winning a Plate, but it wasn't to be so we'll take this one. I'll have to talk to the owners now and see what they want to do. David gave him a smashing ride, he waited for him off the bridle the first couple, but when came on it he jumped super.
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"I fancied him for the four-miler (at Cheltenham) one year, he stays and he jumps."
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Of Rule The World, he added: "He was probably just going too easy. Thankfully he's grand, there's one of those staying races in him, probably the Kerry National will be next, we'll see."
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Mullins, who claims 3lb, said: "I rode him in Roscommon and it all just happened a bit quick for him there, but everything going to plan today helped him. When he did pick it up (bridle) underneath me he really seemed to enjoy it.
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"He won the last day of the year in 2013 in Punchestown so we had no real doubts about his stamina, and his jumping was A1 so we said we'd ride him handy and that hopefully he'd stay going and he did.
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"I didn't really see much after the second or third fence. I was just happy with everything the way it was going.
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"We knew he'd be on his head for the first two or three fences. I didn't get to make it over the first and the second but he really did enjoy it when he got to the front and everything just went to plan after that."
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Vive La France continued a fine couple of days for Tony Martn as the Galway Hurdle-winning trainer sent out the Adrian Heskin-ridden 14-1 chance to an impressive success in the Guinness Handicap Hurdle.
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Given a confident ride, the French import improved two out and was not at all troubled in beating stablemate The Plan Man by six lengths.
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Heskin said: "Today everything fell right for him and hopefully he can improve off it. As a young horse he was doing too much the whole time, but the penny is really after dropping now and we're delighted with where he is.
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"Those valuable handicap hurdles will be the road for him now. Tony and the lads have done a great job settling him."
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Whiskey Sour denied Palmetto Dunes in a pulsating finish to the Guinness 17:59 European Breeders Fund Median Auction Maiden.
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Eddie Lynam's charge had been fourth on debut at Fairyhouse and clearly gained plenty from the experience as he came between horses to challenge the odds-on favourite, who had been prominent throughout.
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The pair settled down to fight it out off the bend, with Colm O'Donoghue's mount gaining the upper hand by half a length at 9-1.
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