TONY MARTIN has long been renowned as a man to respect in a big handicap but even by his own standards he really did take it to a new level in the Guinness Galway Hurdle yesterday afternoon.
Approaching the last hurdle it was fairly certain that for the second year in-a-row it was going to be AJ Martin in the winning trainers section as last year’s winner Thomas Edison approached the last with eventual winner Quick Jack and the stables other runner Ted Veale was staying on in behind but a fall at the last from Thomas Edison left the result in no doubt as Quick Jack went on to win the richest jump race ever run in Ireland by a snug two and a quarter lengths.
Denis O’Regan was continuing his fruitful association with owner John Breslin and Quick Jack was following up his win in the big amateur handicap at Galway 12-months ago and it was yet another plan well orchestrated by the winning trainer who even felt that his horse Pyromaniac which didn’t make the cut in the Galway Hurdle could have also been on the scene at the business end.
Martin’s initial concerns were for Thomas Edison who suffered that final flight fall but he was able to walk back to the stable yard at least.
“It’s magic,” beamed the Meath trainer.
“It couldn’t have been better going to the last but unfortunately poor old Thomas (Edison), a good friend of mine came a cropper - the first time he’s fallen - I hope he’s okay, he might be a bit stiff and sore but Mick Cromwell (travelling head man) will go down and tidy him up and get him right hopefully.
“Quick Jack has been well all year.
“He’s come here with the right backing behind him. He had a great run the last day in Chester and we felt he was in as good a form today, as he has been at any time of the year, and the ground was probably in his favour today, it’s the first time he got really nice ground.”
He added: “Everything went right in the lead up to the race and we couldn’t have been happier coming here with him. All we were looking for was luck in running and we got that - Denis was very good on him. He’s one of the top five jockeys and they don’t make mistakes.
“I don’t race him very often as he’s had issues and while he’s entered at Sligo next week, he definitely won’t be going there! We’ll sit on the fence for a while but the Greatwood Hurdle or the Cesarewitch are options.” O’Regan had won the Galway Plate ten years ago on Ansar for Dermot Weld and was following up his Paddy Power Chase winner for Martin and Breslin last Christmas on Living Next Door and at just 10st4lbs he was doing his lightest weight of the year on the six-year-old.
He admitted: “Barry fell beside me going to the last and I don’t know how he was going but my fella really quickened away after the last.
“I was lucky to get the ride and I sat on him during the week and he jumped and travelled and gave me a great feel at home. “He did miss the second last but I didn’t want to get there too soon on him.”
Willie Mullins went into the action today with a total of five winners compared to Dermot Weld’s two after a
second rare blank day at Galway for Rosewell House and it was Mullins who denied Weld in the listed Guinness Corrib Stakes as Laviniad rallied under a strong Declan McDonogh with a dream run on the inside to deny favourite Tested and in the concluding bumper it was all fairly straightforward for Prince D’Aubrelle bolted
up under the trainers son Patrick.
The colours of Rolling Stone Ronnie Wood were carried to victory by the game Sandymount Duke who made all the running to win his fourth on the bounce.