Safe Voyage gets home to delight Davis
English raider Safe Voyage came from the clouds to claim top honours in the Ahonoora Handicap at Galway yesterday.
A field of 16 runners went to post for the €100,000 feature on the final afternoon of the Festival, with Brian Ellison's Baraweez and Dream Walker, formerly trained by Ellison but now with Jarlath Fahey, both bidding to win the race for a third time.
The John Quinn-trained Safe Voyage was a 7/1 shot on his first competitive appearance since running away with a Haydock handicap in May and travelled well in midfield for much of the seven-furlong contest.
Ridden by Irish-based 7lb claimer Sean Davis, the five-year-old was still well back in the field rounding the turn for home, but devoured the hill once switched nearer the stands rail and got up to beat Danielsflyer by a neck. Turbine was third, ahead of Master Speaker in fourth.
Sean Quinn, assistant to his father John, said: "He won nicely at Haydock, but we just haven't had any rain in England since then, so we have been waiting and waiting.
"This is the first opportunity that he's had on a little bit of softer ground.
"He had a lot to do as he went up 11lb after Haydock, but he's clearly still improving and that was nice."
He added: "That's a nice prize to land. There are a few nice races in Ascot later in the year and the ultimate aim would be something like the Balmoral Handicap on Champions Day at Ascot.
"He's won a valuable pot at Haydock and an even more valuable one today, so he doesn't owe us anything. He's an out and out seven-furlong horse."
Davis, 19, said: "The race went really well for me. He travelled well and when he got the gap he didn't half quicken.
"I won a Premier Handicap at the Curragh before that was worth similar money, but that's by far my biggest winner at Galway."
Sub Lieutenant claimed his first victory in almost two years in the SCL Sales Chase. The nine-year-old won his first two starts after joining Henry de Bromhead from the now-retired Sandra Hughes in the autumn of 2016, including a Grade Two prize at Down Royal.
He has been campaigned largely at Grade One level since and been placed behind the likes of Un De Sceaux, Fox Norton and Sizing John along the way.
Turning out just four days after finishing fifth in the Galway Plate, the Gigginstown House Stud-owned gelding was the 5/4 favourite for this two-mile-six-furlong conditions event in the hands of Davy Russell and was good value for the winning margin of seven and a half lengths.
The front-running Sandymount Duke boxed on to finish second, with Haymount in third. English challenger Kalondra was just about to throw down his challenge when suffering a heavy fall three fences from home.
De Bromhead said: "It was a super ride from Davy. The two-and-half-mile race in Gowran (Gowran Park Champion Chase) may be a bit sharp for him, but there is also a 3m 1f race at Punchestown in mid-October."
That completed a double for Russell, who also scored on Lizzies Champ, which provided locally-based trainer Pat Kelly with a thrilling victory in the Kenny Galway Handicap Hurdle.
Dont Kick Nor Bite looked the likely winner after cruising towards the front and grabbing the lead jumping the final flight, but Lizzies Champ came from further back and finished best to score by a length and a quarter.
Rovetta won for the second time in five days for Jessica Harrington. The four-year-old filly - a decisive winner of a mares' handicap hurdle last Wednesday - proved best in the extended 1m5f handicap under Colm O'Donoghue, who made his move with three furlongs left. She found for him though and made good headway to close on the leaders turning in.
The French bred was ridden to lead inside the final furlong and stuck to her task to close the race out by three parts of a length at 5/1. Newcross could be considered unlucky as he had no room a furlong out and flashed home strongly in second at 7/1.