Dream day for Colin Keane as Brendan Brackan secures Topaz success
Apprentice Colin Keane claimed his first Galway Festival winner as Brendan Brackan claimed the Topaz Mile Handicap, the feature event on the second day of the meeting.
Sporting the Snow Fairy colours of owner Anamoine Limited, the Ger Lyons-trained Brendan Brackan looked a likely winner some way from home in the richly-endowed handicap event.
The four-year-old has been highly tried in both Group Three and Listed company but was taking a dip in class here as he attempted to arrest a winless streak that stretched back to last September.
Confidently ridden by Keane, Brendan Brackan assumed the lead turning for home after being noted travelling particularly well, and he soon streaked clear to eventually win by eight and a half lengths at odds of 10-1
Brog Deas took second with Vastonea and Seanie third and fourth respectively while 11-4 favourite Tandem finished out of the frame.
Lyons was not at the track, but his brother Shane said: "That was beautiful and a plan that came together. He's a Listed/Group horse running in a handicap and we were very confident.
"I'm delighted for Mrs Patino (owner of Anamoine) and Patrick Cooper, her racing manager. They've been very, very loyal to the stable for the last 15 or 20 years.
"This was the plan for the summer, but Dubai is the main plan. He's a horse we've always liked and he won like a Group Three horse there.
"Colin is a lovely, lovely fella. We told him to put his head down and not to look around when he hit the front. He rode the race to a tee and the horse loved the yielding ground."
Keane added: "That's my biggest win and he did it very easily - I'm delighted. We were going to make the running but Shane said if something else went on to sit in.
"He travelled great, got there and went away to win very easily.
"I didn't think I'd won by that far."
Dermot Weld may have been out of luck with Tandem but Tarfasha (2-5 favourite) had earlier justified market support in the Topaz EBF Fillies Maiden.
The Teofilo filly, who is a half-sister to Galileo Rock and Saddler's Rock among others, was not beaten far by the well-regarded Geoffrey Chaucer on her racecourse bow and showed the benefit of that experience as she saw off Ballybacka Queen by three and a quarter lengths in the hands of Pat Smullen.
Weld said: "We have some lovely two-year-olds this year. Pat gave her his usual confident ride. She's a lovely filly - very talented.
"I think she's a Group filly. She has the potential to go right to the top.
"She's beautiful - a stunning mover with lots of gears and speed - a stayer with speed and she'll be a lovely staying filly for next year.
"She might go for a Listed race next before taking on a Group One, the Fillies' Mile (at Newmarket on September 27) in England."
Mouse Morris' decision to send Rathlin for the Latin Quarter Chase rather than shoulder top weight in Wednesday's Galway Plate paid dividends as the 13-8 chance ran out an easy winner.
A winner at the Punchestown Festival in May, Rathlin followed up in style when cruising home by six lengths under Davy Russell.
Paul Nicholls' British raider Woolcombe Folly was sent off the 11-8 favourite for Ruby Walsh but he made no impression after the last, leaving Hidden Cyclone to claim the runner-up spot.
Morris said: "He did it well. They probably didn't go fast enough early on. He had a look at one or two of the new aprons on the fences but he winged the latter ones and was very good in the dip.
"He could have done with a fence in the straight but Galway is Galway.
"I'd give my right arm to win a Plate owing to family connections to the place, so we'll see about that in the future.
"He's doing all right at the minute but much like with women, we'll see how things go!
"He trains himself. He had a little break after Punchestown and he'll have another one now."
Trainer David Kelly bagged a first Galway Festival winner as Que Pasa (7-1) landed the opening Topaz Novice Hurdle.
The five-year-old found plenty for Davy Condon in a thrilling four-way finish, eventually prevailing by a neck from Shamar with Diplomat and Elegant Statesman each beaten a further three-quarters of a length in the minor placings.
Kelly said: "This is unreal -it's something you dream of and I'm ecstatic.
"This mare lives out 24-7 and she has four rugs on in the winter. She's had little, niggly problems but she's always worked as well as anything I've had with the possible exception of Moyle Park.
"Davy was excellent on her - I thought he might have gone too soon but I think he just wanted to close the door on Ruby (Walsh on Shamar).
"The Grade Three mares' novice hurdle at Down Royal is the main plan for her and she could go to Cheltenham too.
"She's very good to jump and she's not ground dependent."
Tax Reform and Sister Slew (8-1) battled it out in the dying strides of the Caulfieldindustrial.com EBF Maiden, with the latter just holding on for jockey Gary Carroll and trainer Joseph Murphy.