Courageous 'Creggs' splashes her way to glory for Slattery and McDonogh
Andy Slattery is fast shedding his tag as the man who produced Faugheen after Creggs Pipes bravely made all in the Colm Quinn BMW Mile to secure him a second win of the season in a major Flat handicap.
Of course, given that the Killenaule, Co Tipperary handler has built his reputation on sourcing future champions via the point-to-point field, Faugheen's progression to the highest echelon is a fine professional compliment.
However, there is nothing like tasting a little glory for yourself, and Slattery had already plundered the Curragh's Rockingham with Sors.
Now he has added the €120,000 pick of the Flat races at Galway, after Declan McDonagh orchestrated a superb front-running coup to take Creggs Pipes' unbeaten run to four.
For a four-year-old filly that failed to sell at Goresbridge's breeze-up sale in 2014, that's quite a turnaround.
A Listed winner at Killarney, Creggs Pipes ran off a mark of 98 here, which is 23lbs higher than that off which she won the first of two Curragh handicaps in May.
In typically determined fashion on rain-softened ground, she took her tally to six wins in 16 starts, and the fun might only be just beginning for the Delphi Six Syndicate. Slattery was bold enough to enter Creggs Pipes in the Matron Stakes, and a Group One foray could be next.
"We better let her take her chance," Slattery said almost disbelievingly of the prospect."What else do you do? Creggs Pipes is a filly that might even go to Royal Ascot next year; we may as well enjoy her while we have her, because she is certainly enjoying herself. She loves racing.
"The bit of rain helped, but she is a great filly. Declan said that she didn't handle the track. Winning three in a row probably isn't the best preparation for a premier handicap, but we just said we'd let her take her chance. I can't believe it."
Cruelly, Brian Ellison departed with the runner-up for a third year in a row, Top Notch Tonto chasing the popular 11/2 favourite home. He also had the fourth, Stipulate, with Dermot Weld's Karalara taking third.
McDonogh completed a quick 23/1 double when Ado McGuinness's Beau Satchel also dug deep to score at the festival for a third year in a row.
The 11/4 favourite, whose owners the Total Recall Racing Club comprises prison officers from Mountjoy, hadn't won in seven starts since last year. He capitalised on a three-pound lower mark here to secure back-to-back wins in the Caulfield Industrial Handicap and become the fourth successive market leader to win on the night.
"He has come here three times and three times he has won," said McGuinness, who added that Beau Satchel could turn out again at the weekend. "He just loves this place and I wish I had a few like him."
Weld knows all about Ballybrit specialists, and he was responsible the first two jollies to deliver. Eziyra and Sikandarabad both returned odds-on SPs and won accordingly for Pat Smullen.
"Pat said she is a big, immature filly and still has a lot to learn," Weld commented of the impressive Eziyra. "She will go for a Group race next."
Gordon Elliott got off the mark when Water Sprite scored for Michael Hussey in the two-mile handicap at odds of 12/1, while the opening novices' hurdle went to Willie Mullins and Ruby Walsh for a second successive year via Penhill.
Walsh was simply sublime, bringing the 8/1 shot from being seemingly hopelessly detached turning in to swoop up the inside of the favourite Oathkeeper in the dying strides.
"I'd written him off at halfway!" Mullins admitted of his half-length winner. "Next thing, I saw him on the inside and couldn't believe it. He had the class to get there."
The duo were denied a brace when Briar Hill failed by a head to reel in 66/1 outsider Talk The Lingo in the beginners' chase.
A home-bred trained in Cork by Joe Hennessy, Talk The Lingo made all for Barry Cash on a miserable evening that was reflected in the attendance, which dropped by 19pc to 15,030. The bookmakers' take plunged a huge 28pc to €946,982.