Stunning treble delight for Weld
THE 'King of Ballybrit' reigned once again last night as Dermot Weld struck with a 73/1 treble, which included the feature event of the card.
Despite the Curragh maestro's extraordinary record at Galway, it remains one of life's great mysteries as to how so many of Weld's winners at the summer festival return at generous odds.
The undoubted highlight of the night was the victory of Stunning View which ended Weld's 13-year 'famine' in the €69,000 Topaz Mile EBF Handicap.
A course and distance winner on his only previous run at the track, the Shamardal colt was a relatively easy-to-back 7/1 joint favourite and provided the middle leg of Weld's hat-trick.
Just over half an hour earlier, Rainforest Magic, a drifter in the ring that returned an SP of 5/1, had earned him his second success of week in the two-mile handicap. By the time Catch The Eye had eased home in the concluding maiden, punters had cottoned on, that one obliging at prohibitive odds of 8/15.
Pat Smullen excelled on all three horses. Having initially travelled easily in midfield on Stunning View in the feature, the reigning champion was hard at work as they left the dip, but his mount responded gamely to reel in the front-running Royal Blue Star.
That one kept on for second, as Stunning View stretched clear on the run to the line to score going away by two lengths. Defining Year took third, with last year's winner Ask Jack failing to validate his share of the market lead by trailing home in 14th place.
"It was a lovely ride from Pat," Weld said afterwards of the winning jockey, "he was just in the right place at the right time."
Of Stunning View, he added: "My only concern was that the ground might have been getting a little fast for him, but he did it well. He is in again on Saturday, but that is probably him done for the week."
Smullen had turned in a similarly solid shift on Rainforest Magic in the two-mile handicap. Having paid €320,000 for the four-year-old as a yearling, Dr Ronan Lambe -- who owned the first two of Weld's winners -- quipped afterwards: "He was bought to win a Derby, not a Galway handicap!"
As it is, Rainforest Magic might now make his handicap hurdle debut later in the week. "We'll see how he comes out of this and think about it," Weld reported.
"He could go for Friday's amateur race with Robbie McNamara riding, but we'll see what the weather does. The going is as fast as he'd like it and it is drying out rapidly."