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Mullins & Walsh take Galway opener
29 Jul 2015 17:05
For the third day running Willie Mullins and Ruby Walsh teamed up to take the opening race at Galway, this time with Thomas Hobson in the Tote €100,000 Pick6 Guarantee Maiden Hurdle.
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A faller on his debut for Mullins, he was soon at the head of affairs, but there was a scare or two approaching the business end, in particular two out, and he was pressed hard from the last by Stuccodor.
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But in the end the 11-10 favourite, who was a smart handicapper on the Flat for John Gosden, proved too strong, taking the two-mile contest by four lengths.
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Mullins said: "He improved his jumping a lot, but there is still a bit more to do.
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"We decided to take the game to the others. There were a couple of maidens in the field with a few runs and we wanted to make it a test of stamina.
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"We were happy that his jumping was better, it appeared to be at home and was for most of the race.
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"We decided to ride him differently and let him off up there. There didn't appear to be much pace and we were happy to make it. We let him enjoy himself and he did.
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"I was disappointed with what he did three out and that seemed to knock his confidence at the second-last.
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"He could go back on the Flat as there are very few novice races in the near future."
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Jockey Mark Enright struck for the second time this week as he produced Lilly The Lioness (8-1) to perfection in the Download The Tote Mobile App European Breeders Fund Mares Handicap Hurdle.
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Dazzing Susie cut out much of the early running before being joined by Supreme Vic and that pair jumped two out just in front.
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Enright and Lilly The Lioness soon appeared on the scene, however, and powered to the front going to the last.
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Showing a willing attitude from there, the Garrett Power-trained winner had enough in reserve to hold the fast-finishing 11-2 co-favourite Crystal Earth by a length and a quarter.
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Power said: "She has a heart like a lion. Things didn't go according to plan. She hung and didn't jump 100 per cent. Mark gave her a brilliant ride and she's a tough, gutsy mare.
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"I thought I'd missed my chance in this race last year and it's great to get a second chance. She's first reserve in a Flat race here tomorrow and is in on Friday in a handicap hurdle.
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"That's my first winner as a trainer here, although I did ride a winner here."
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Powersbomb was a 12-1 winner of the Tote €40,000 Jackpot Guarantee Handicap Hurdle for trainer Brian McMahon and jockey Mikey Fogarty.
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The Sligo bumper winner had failed to get seriously competitive in six previous attempts over hurdles, most recently being brought down at Down Royal at the end of May.
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On this occasion, however, the five-year-old moved ominously into contention and after taking the lead on the run to the final flight, careered away for an emphatic four-and-three-quarter-length victory.
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Bank Bonus was best of the rest in second, ahead of Coldstonesober and Holeinthewall Bar in third and fourth respectively.
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"I thought he had a right chance off a mark of 103. He was working well at home and just needed to put it all together. The hood helped him relax," said McMahon.
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"Jerry McGrath said in Down Royal that he had travelled as well as he's ever travelled, before he was brought down, and was staying on, so I thought the extra four furlongs suited him.
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"He won in Sligo and it's similar here. He was my first winner when winning in Sligo and it's almost 12 months to the day.
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"It's been an up and down year, but to win in Galway is fantastic. The owners are fairly local and have been with me since day one.
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"My dad passed away during the year and was a great supporter of mine so he might have had something to do with it. His own horse runs on Sunday so we're looking for the double."
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Dermot Weld clinched his third winner of the week as Finny Maguire steered Time To Inspire to a comprehensive victory in the Bet On All UK Racing With Tote (Q.R.) Maiden.
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Weld and Maguire teamed up to land the qualified riders event with Whitey O' Gwaun in 2014 and Time To Inspire was the 5-4 favourite to repeat the feat after placing on his first two starts.
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The result was scarcely in doubt, with Time To Inspire moving powerfully towards the front before the home turn.
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Once straightened up, Maguire kept the market leader up to his work to score by 10 lengths from Catalyst, with Hudson's Bay third.
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Weld, celebrating his birthday, said: "The horse did it very well. He stays well and I thought he was the right horse for the race. He has a good action and the ground is drying. He had two very good runs and should progress as the year goes on.
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He'll make a lovely four-year-old. He's a big baby still and will be a lovely horse next year. He could be a very good staying horse."
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