Tuesday 23 October 2018

Nessun Dorma continues Galway domination for Willie Mullins

Jockey Billy Lee acknowledges the crowd as he enters the winners enlcosure after winning the Guinness Handicap on Nessun Dorma during the Galway Races Summer Festival 2018 in Ballybrit, Galway. Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile
Jockey Billy Lee acknowledges the crowd as he enters the winners enlcosure after winning the Guinness Handicap on Nessun Dorma during the Galway Races Summer Festival 2018 in Ballybrit, Galway. Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile

Limini had to make do with minor honours for the second time at this year's Galway Festival as stable companion Nessun Dorma claimed victory in Friday's Guinness Handicap.

A former Cheltenham Festival winner for Willie Mullins, Limini was the choice of the trainer's son, Patrick, in Monday evening's Connacht Hotel (Q.R.) Handicap and looked the likely winner until being mowed down late by another stablemate in Uradel.

Limini was all the rage to go one better just four days later in another 100,000 contest, but try as she might, she could never quite get on terms with the leaders under Kevin Manning and this time passed the post third.

Fresh from a first win on the Flat at Ballinrobe last month, 14-1 shot Nessun Dorma set out to make all the running in the hands of Billy Lee and while Princess Yaiza made him work for it in the final furlong, the Mullins runner clung on determinedly to emerge victorious by a neck.

Lee was riding his third winner of the week, while it was a remarkable ninth winner of the Festival for the champion National Hunt trainer.

Mullins said: "He's improved a bit since his last run in Ballinrobe and Billy gave him a super ride in front.

"He waited in front and he just kept a little bit up his sleeve - it was a very good ride."

Mullins soon hit double figures after Wicklow Brave predictably outclassed his rivals in the Rockshore Race.

A previous winner of the Punchestown Champion Hurdle and the Irish St Leger, the nine-year-old appeared to have been presented with a gilt-edged opportunity to secure a 12th career victory overall and made no mistake under champion jockey Colin Keane.

The prohibitively-priced 1-6 favourite eased to the front with half a mile still to run and never looked in danger of being caught, with Keane keeping his mount up to his work in the straight to score comfortably by three and a half lengths.

Morga was a clear second, ahead of the 11-year-old Inis Meain in third.

Press Association

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