Trainer Wachman produces 'Tint' in mint Mile condition
David Wachman has probably secured the Galway Races training performance of the week award with five days still to go by producing Hint Of A Tint in mean shape after 284 days off to plunder the Topaz Mile.
Sixth in the €120,000 handicap last year, the Danehill Dancer filly, which is owned by JP McManus's daughter Sue-Ann Foley, hadn't run since finishing fifth at Dundalk in October. Second in a Leopardstown 1,000 Guineas trial in 2013, she failed to make the frame in eight further starts up to last night. The handicapper clearly took a sympathetic view, dropping Hint Of A Tint nine pounds over the winter.
That meant that she lined out here off a stone lower mark than she did in 2014, though a modest market move from 7/1 into a 6/1 SP suggested that not even McManus paid much heed.
Wachman claimed not to have been aware of the assessor's compassion and rebuffed any suggestion of a grand plan. Still, he targeted one of the most prestigious domestic handicaps of the year with the five-year-old filly and clearly had his charge fit to run for her life. "I just thought she might be a filly that is best fresh so it was worth a chance," he said of Hint Of A Tint, a first winner in the race for all concerned.
"Wayne gave her a good ride and she battled well. They went a good gallop and stopped in front, so it all fell into place. She had been Group Three placed but just lost her way a bit."
Lordan brought Hint Of A Tint through from mid-field to lead inside the distance. Last year's third Baraweez pushed them hard and Unsinkable also pressed at the death, but Hint Of A Tint had half-a-length and a head to spare when they hit the line.
"It's always nice to win a feature race in Galway," beamed Lordan, who got the nod due to regular rider Fran Berry being unable to do the weight.
"She has dropped in the weights a good bit and she had been working nicely. David took her slow, that's why he never ran her all year."
Sheila Lavery also deserves immense credit for her feats this week. The Summerhill, Co Meath handler has just 18 horses in her care, but she joined Dermot Weld and Willie Mullins at the head of the Ballybrit trainers' table when Ibergman (8/1) swooped late to score in the seven-furlong handicap under Ronan Whelan.
Lavery had got off the mark with Romiac on Monday, so this was her second win in as many days. "They must like the Galway hill," she quipped.
"I must thank Eddie Lynam, because both my horses were drawn badly and he told me not to try and beat the draw, just let them run their races. Ronan and Leigh (Roche) both did that brilliantly, and I think the bit of give in the ground really suits my horses."
Now Or Never ran out a really impressive five-and-a-half length winner of the juvenile fillies' maiden.
Michael O'Callaghan's daughter of Bushranger was second on her Fairyhouse bow, and that experience stood to the £42,000 breeze-up sale acquisition, as she led from pillar to post here under Billy Lee.
"She has big entries in races like the Moyglare Stud Stakes and I don't usually put horses in early like that," O'Callaghan said of the 6/1 shot. "I've always thought a lot of her. She is a big filly that appreciated the juice in the ground and everything she does this year will be a bonus."
Matthew Smith, another Co Meath handler, bagged a timely first Ballybrit win ahead of Rawnaq's Galway Hurdle bid when Empresario (12/1) made all under Mark Enright in the beginners' chase. "He was running around in front but when they came to him he picked up," Smith said of Empresario. "His jumping was brilliant."
As happened on Monday, Willie Mullins and Ruby Walsh got the day off to a fine start for favourite-backers in the two-mile novices' hurdle. This time it was Rich Ricci's Long Dog that delivered, pulling clear after blundering two-out when the eventual runner-up Three Stars was alongside.
"To make that mistake and still fire all the way up the hill confirms to me that he will get further, so we will probably step him up in trip now," Mullins said of the promising 1/2 shot.
Gary Halpin's turn on Beau Satchel in the later seven-furlong handicap was a thing of real beauty. Ado McGuinness's 10/1 shot looked booked for a place at best in the straight, with Cairdiuil seemingly clear. Both horses won here last year and Cairdiuil is a proven Galway specialist, but Halpin landed Beau Satchel's head in front on the line.
The attendance of 18,482 was down 674 on 2014, but the bookies' take rose 7pc year-on-year to €1,323,333.