Teenage sensation Burke serves up a Plate treat on Turn
Jonathan Burke stole the show at Ballybrit with the sort of beautifully composed steer that is fast becoming his big-race trademark aboard Shanahan's Turn in yesterday's Galway Plate.
Henry de Bromhead's chaser was a largely unconsidered 16/1 shot. However, a step up in trip and a return to his favoured good ground that was drying by the minute under sun-filled skies prompted a timely resurgence.
It has been a whirlwind year for Burke, who in 2014 was third on his first Plate ride aboard Willie Mullins's Balnaslow. A modest individual who was yesterday named by President Michael D Higgins on the Irish team for the jockeys' challenge in Australia, he is still just 19. Today, he partners Hisaabaat for Galway legend Dermot Weld in his quest to double up in the Guinness Galway Hurdle.
The irrepressible Ruby Walsh, almost twice Burke's age at 36, is still looking for a first win in the €300,000 Ladies' Day highlight.
Runner-up The Paparrazi Kid fared best of Mullins's five in the Plate, with the Walsh-ridden favourite Alelchi Inois a never-dangerous sixth. Mullins also has five in today's Hurdle, and he and Walsh will again combine for the favourite in the shape of Diakali.
On the day that 38-year-old jockey John Cullen announced his retirement, Ryan Treacy broke a collarbone when Foildubh crashed at the second in the Plate, while Danny Mullins was stood down with a back injury after Indevan fell at the first.
Kevin Sexton broke his right arm in an earlier fall, so it was no surprise that Cullen, who famously combined with Paul Nolan to plunder two Galway Hurdles aboard Say Again (2002) and Cloone River (2004), was glad to get out in one piece.
"If I could ride until I'm 60 it would be great but you just have to say enough is enough," said the Wexford native. "My wife Anne-Marie has been worried about me for a while and is relieved that I've made the decision myself."
Attendance on the day was up marginally on last year to 18,932, while the bookmakers' turnover grew 4pc to €1,554,758.