Wednesday 18 September 2019

Keane has last laugh to claim feature prize on Galway finale

Laughifuwant won a maiden at Galway last October, but returned to Ballybrit as a 20/1 shot. Stock photo: Getty
Laughifuwant won a maiden at Galway last October, but returned to Ballybrit as a 20/1 shot. Stock photo: Getty

Thomas Kelly

While the arrival of rain didn't please Galway racegoers, Laughifuwant made full use of it by leading his rivals a merry dance in the EBF Ahonoora Handicap to claim the final-day feature for Gerry Keane.

The Ado McGuinness-trained Saltonstall went off 3/1 favourite for the €120,000 contest on the back of his BMW Mile win on Tuesday, but he endured a troubled passage and was never able to land a telling blow.

Laughifuwant won a maiden at Galway last October, but returned to Ballybrit as a 20/1 shot, having unseated his rider on his latest appearance at Limerick in mid-June.

A smart start enabled jockey Seamie Heffernan to navigate his mount across the track from a wide draw and he steadily made his way to the front. The challengers were queuing up on the home turn, but the four-year-old kept up the gallop to prevail by three-parts of a length from On A Session.

"The ground is the key to him. He grows another leg on this ground and won a maiden here on bottomless ground last year," said the trainer. "He'd get a mile, but I'd say seven furlongs is probably his trip. We were going to run him in the Lincoln but didn't have him ready in time."

Yorkhill was another to benefit from the softening ground as the enigmatic Willie Mullins-trained charge claimed his first victory since the 2017 Cheltenham Festival with a facile success in the Watch Racing TV Now Chase.

The nine-year-old was considered a superstar in the making after winning the JLT Novices' Chase, but he has flattered to deceive since then.

Turning out just four days after unseating Paul Townend in the Galway Plate, the 6/4 favourite appeared to have everything in his favour in this two-mile-six-furlong conditions event.

Yorkhill did jump out to his left on occasion but was still full of running when he loomed up to challenge the pacesetting Valseur Lido racing down the hill. After safely negotiating the final two fences, he cruised into the straight to see off his rallying stablemate Some Neck by three lengths.

Mullins, saddling his 10th winner of the week, said: "He could go for the Kerry National at Listowel, and going left-handed would suit him better."

Linger (7/2), successful over hurdles on Monday, claimed his second win of the week in the JPK Fencing Handicap, which completed a double for trainer Joseph O'Brien whose All The Answers justified 11/4 favouritism for Darragh O'Keeffe in the Lord Hemphill Handicap Chase.

Irish Independent

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