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Maddens Now enjoy Wins

WINS NOW, fifth in the Galway Plate of last year, returned to a track he clearly enjoys when landing the feature Galway Blazers on the fifth day of the Galway Races.

Trained by Niall Madden and ridden by his Evening Herald columnist son and namesake, the fine big gelding produced arguably his best run over fences to cap a great week for owner JP McManus.

Madden had to be at his very strongest to get up late in the day for Wins Now to oblige as King Ali and Truckers Delight were only a head and a neck behind.

Incidentally, the rider of King Ali, Tony Kelly, received a 10-day ban for his efforts, or lack of, on the runner-up as the stewards deemed he failed to ride out to the finish.

Whether it would have made a difference to the result is hard to tell but for those who backed the 20/1 outsider in famous colours and for the winning connections the result was still as sweet.

Madden senior said: "We'll look for another handicap chase and may try and find something back here."


In the opener, favourite backers got off to a great start as Kalellshan defied his hefty weight to annihilate the field in the opening amateur riders handicap hurdle.

Charles Byrnes' charge showed no ill effects from his win earlier in the week nor any signs of weakening under top weight when making every post a winning one in the hands of James 'Corky' Carroll.

"There is no other way of riding him and he stays better than people give him credit for," suggested Byrnes and it may not be the last we hear of him this summer.

The King of Ballybrit, Dermot Weld, equalled his best ever Galway Festival by hitting the magic 10 with two days to go.

Lady O'Reilly's Raffaello Santi dug deep to hold off Battleoftrafalgar by a head and provide Weld with his first winner at the meeting on the Friday since 2005.

Weld, who will hope to break the record over the weekend added that he will go handicapping now with the three-year-old.

Joseph O'Brien, son of trainer Aidan, had his first ride at Galway this week. It was a winner and now he goes into the weekend with a tally of four as Rajik claimed the Guinness Handicap for Charlie Swan.

It was a good boost for the former champion jump jockey-turned-trainer as he met with some disappointments earlier in the week and also retired his great old servant Oodachee.

Indeed, Rajik may not be finished yet as he is declared to run here tomorrow over timber.

"I actually fancied Zaralabad as he was working really well but he met a lot of trouble in running and when Rakih met the rising ground he flew home and he could run again over hurdles here on Sunday," said Swan.

Proceedings ended in the Guinness Race over a mile and six furlongs as Pop Rock claimed glory very impressively for Fran Berry.

Trained on the Curragh by Takashi Kodama, it was a first run in Ireland for the nine-year-old who is still a full horse, having been second in the Melbourne Cup and Japan Cup.

Winning rider Fran Berry was confident his latest winner would be up to stepping up in class and contesting listed races and the trainer afterwards earmarked the Ballycullen Stakes in late August as a target.