Sport Horse Racing

Sunday 25 February 2018

Record-breaking week ends on a high for Weld

Thomas Kelly

THE peerless Dermot Weld took his final haul at the Galway Festival to 17 winners when Comedic Art, his last runner of the week, was a smooth scorer of yesterday's fillies maiden at Ballybrit.

Smashing his previous best of 11 last year, the Rosewell House maestro missed his last winner of the week as he was in Germany for Famous Name's unsuccessful attempt to gain an elusive Group One triumph.

But Weld -- who landed a short-priced treble at Saturday's meeting -- will have been heartened to hear of yet another strike as his domination continued at the Ballybrit track.

With 5lb claimer Leigh Roche having taken over from stable jockey Pat Smullen, who was also on duty in Munich, it was a routine victory. Taking over from Jazz Girl on the home turn, the 13/8 favourite forged clear to score by three lengths, with Landenstown Lady in second place.

The feature race on day seven, the Connacht Tribune Handicap Chase, was won by John 'Shark' Hanlon's Truckers Delight. An unlucky fourth on Tuesday, he ended a frustrating week for his trainer with a five-and-a-half-length verdict over Norther Bay.

"Thank goodness for that after the week we have had. He always pulls it out of the fire for us," said a relieved Hanlon. "He is a real Festival-meeting horse. He was unlucky on Tuesday. I am so delighted to have at least a winner as I thought I was going to have a good week."

Having won aboard Down In Neworleans for his mother Mags on Thursday, Danny Mullins repeated the dose, but this time for his father Tony as he partnered Clarach to victory in the Easyfix Mares Handicap Hurdle.


On her last start at Ballinrobe behind Giant's Quest, Mullins Jnr lost second place close home and was suspended by the stewards for five days as a result. However, he got that ban down to three days upon appeal.

Having travelled well throughout aboard Clarach, Mullins allowed Benefit Of Porter to kick on before the straight, but easily pegged her back approaching the final flight and eased clear to win by four and a half lengths.

Winning trainer Tony Mullins said afterwards: "That was the plan for a long time, we had it in our heads. I was afraid she wouldn't come up the hill as she does tend to empty."

At Cork, meanwhile, John Oxx's Alanza finished with a flourish under Niall McCullagh to snatch the Platinum Stakes from Wild Wind. The 5/2 joint-favourite stormed ahead of the Ballydoyle runner to win by three-quarters of a length, with Hujaylea another half a length away in third after Wild Wind's stablemate Eirnin had made the running.

Supersub Joseph O'Brien's decision to challenge down the centre of the course with Pink Symphony paid dividends in the EBF Give Thanks Stakes.

O'Brien was replacing the injured Jamie Spencer on the Fitri Hay-owned filly, which was making her debut for David Wachman, having previously been in the care of Paul Cole.

The 8/1 shot enjoyed a smooth run through, while there was a lot of tightening up on the far rail with Spin, the 5/2 favourite, the chief casualty. Pink Symphony came through strongly to lift this Group Three contest by a length and a quarter from Haziyna, with Amazing Beauty third.

O'Brien Jnr was completing a double as he had also won the juvenile maiden on Among Equals for his father Aidan.

Irish Independent

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