Golden Spear arrows in for big-race glory at Galway
Published 29/07/2016 | 20:21
Tony Martin starred on the fifth day of the Galway Festival, with Golden Spear and Heartbreak City giving the handler a double.
Queen Alphabet kicked for home on the bend in the feature Guinness Handicap, but was reeled in by Repeater who, in turn, was collared by 100-30 favourite Golden Spear.
Repeater wouldn't go down without a fight, while Abraham lunged late down the outside, but Golden Spear, who was returning from a nine-month absence, had enough in the tank to keep going for a half-length triumph.
Martin said: "He ran a blinder in this race last year, and was just not good enough for Clondaw Warrior.
"A month ago I wouldn't have considered running him but he's been coming there in the last fortnight, and has started to shine. He's not a big horse but could go back over hurdles."
Winning rider Leigh Roche said: "It's a great training performance, I wanted to keep saving a bit as he was off for so long but when Tony has one right, they're very tough to beat.
"It was getting messy on the inside, so I switched and kept it simple and he ran all the way to the line."
Galway Plate-winning jockey Donagh Meyler enjoyed further success at Ballybrit when getting Heartbreak City up in the Guinness Handicap Hurdle.
The 3-1 favourite travelled strongly but was one of seven or eight in contention approaching the final flight, and he needed a run.
A gap appeared shortly after he landed and Meyler forced his way through it, with Heartbreak City showcasing an impressive change of gear to account for St Stephens Green by a length.
Martin said: "He was unlucky here last year and is owned by great lads.
"Donagh rode him with confidence. He's had a good week, winning the Plate, and has really come of age tonight with the ride he gave him.
"He's had a lot of issues and doesn't take a lot of racing. We'll see how he comes out of this but there are races like the Ebor and the Cesarewitch.
"He has plenty of options. He's not as good over hurdles as he is on the Flat."
Roche registered a brace of his own when steering Michael O'Callaghan's Intrepid Prince to a clear-cut victory in the Arthur Guinness Handicap at odds of 7-1.