Mullins ready to Rock
Rock And Roll Kid's emphatic triumph as joint favourite for the Tote Mile last summer saw teenage apprentice Danny Mullins and his father-trainer, Tony, combine to enhance the Kilkenny family's enviable record for generations in major races at Ballybrit.
Successful also with locally owned Afford A King in the Galway Plate of 1988, Tony can recall a litany of Galway victories in all types of events recorded by his retired father, Paddy, and has seen older brother Willie command centre stage there as well.
Therefore, it was a particularly pleasing occasion for the Gowran handler when valued Dublin client Barry Connell's home-bred Rock And Roll Kid defied a wide draw on his favoured soft ground to capture the traditional Tuesday evening centrepiece.
"That was worth waiting for, because winning any feature race at Galway is very special. For the owner to breed it and my son to ride the horse, I'd have to say it's the best feeling of my life," an elated Tony remarked in the aftermath.
Almost a year on and the same combination, albeit with a tougher assignment ahead of them, are hoping to repeat the achievement in a contest now sponsored by Topaz as the Tote are instead backing the following afternoon's historic Plate.
"Rock And Roll Kid had a lesser weight, but a bad draw last year when Danny was claiming 5lbs. That allowance is down to 3lbs this time, but the horse is going well at home and we'll give it a shot again," Tony explained.
Now rated 104, the five-year-old Danehill Dancer gelding has only Galway native Luke Comer's Kargali (108) and the Jim Bolger-trained Kitty Kiernan (105) above him from the 31 entries at the initial forfeit stage.
Danny, incidentally, appealed a three-day Killarney suspension for careless riding, which the Turf Club's referrals committee reduced last Tuesday evening to a single race day (next Monday), thus freeing him to link up again with Rock And Roll Kid.
His father could also figure prominently on Tuesday night's mixed programme with the versatile Decoy Daddy, which may not now get into the Plate line-up and has the earlier Latin Quarter Chase as a suitable alternative.
"It would be great if Decoy Daddy made the cut for the Plate, but the conditions 'chase on Tuesday is there as well. I'd expect my nephew, Emmet, to be on the horse again -- it's nice to keep it in the family!"
Decoy Daddy remains in good form as the gelding was narrowly defeated by Adrian Maguire's exciting prospect Golden Kite for the recent Midlands National at Kilbeggan and has gone up by 4lbs to a 'chase mark of 127 as a consequence.
The Mullins runners, generally, have been in rare order in recent weeks under both codes and the likes of hat-trick seeker Impersonator, Split Ear and Monthly Medal are short-listed, too, for a trip to the western capital with some bumper horses, the pick of which looks to be the progressive Maddoxtown.
Keep an eye out also for Cheers Buddy, whose trainer believes was unlucky in running at The Curragh last time out and has a choice of nursery engagements at Galway next Saturday or in Cork the following afternoon.