Monday 16 September 2019

O'Grady lines up Aintree tilt for 'Westerner' after Limerick glory

Westerner Point and Philip Enright jump the last to win the Tim Duggan Memorial handicap chase. Photo: Healy Racing
Westerner Point and Philip Enright jump the last to win the Tim Duggan Memorial handicap chase. Photo: Healy Racing

Justin O'Hanlon

Ballyclough trainer Eoghan O'Grady and his stable star Westerner Point have a knack of landing big handicap chases, and that was proven once more at Limerick yesterday when the nine-year-old landed the Grade B Tim Duggan Memorial Handicap Chase for the second time in three years.

O'Grady was known as a good target trainer before this win and yesterday's success will have only enhanced that reputation.

He has managed to keep Ballclough sweet enough to win 10 races, and his second triumph in this contest was achieved in customary game fashion.

Jockey Philip Enright was rewarded for charting a course on the inner, and the horse stayed on well from the last to beat brave old warrior Kylecrue by two-and-a-half lengths.

It wasn't without moments of worry though for O'Grady, who commented: "I thought we were in a bit of trouble turning in when he was caught on the rail but Philip got him out. He stayed great to the line and he jumped great. Philip knows him well and gave him a super ride."

He added: "We had him entered in the Paddy Power at Leopardstown as well but he needs soft ground and it was an easy decision to come here instead.

"He was in savage form at home, it was just because of the quick ground that we were unable to get a run into him in the autumn. He did it well fresh today though.

"It depends on the ground, but I have an eye on the Topham Trophy at Aintree in the spring. He ran over the National fences there last year in the Becher Chase and he jumped those fences very well.

"That was after a bad journey over and he didn't eat or drink once he got there. We might have one more go at it."

By far the biggest cheer of the day was reserved for Glorious Galway, owned by a syndicate of the same name, after he ran out a fortunate winner of the maiden hunters chase.

He was left clear by the fall two out of Wrong Direction, who looked like winning, but Glorious Galway did not spurn the opportunity when it presented itself.

Trained by Declan McNamara, the winning syndicate has six members, with considerably more hangers-on in tow, and exactly none of them are from Galway.

Syndicate spokesman Paddy Quinn, from Newmarket-On-Fergus in Clare, said: "It's a bit of an off-the-wall syndicate. Four of us are related by marriage and things, and the other two members we hadn't met before today! It seems to work thank God."

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