Friday 15 December 2017

Victrix Gale blows Limerick rivals away

Thomas Kelly

PROGRESSIVE mare Victrix Gale continued her rise up the chasing ranks by capturing yesterday's Galway Plate Trial Handicap Chase at Limerick, but she's far from certain to head for the Ballybrit showpiece.

Tony Martin's 11/4 favourite was completing a hat-trick, after a win over fences at this course and over hurdles at Listowel, and looks to have more scope for improvement.

In the race itself, Paul Townend held up the market leader before making smooth progress to be among a host of runners in with a chance two out.

A great jump at the penultimate fence gave Victrix Gale the edge and she powered clear to score by a comfortable two and a half lengths from Jamsie Hall.

"She'll mix and match over fences and hurdles," explained Martin. "She jumps well and we'll try to get some black type for her in those mares' novice races somewhere to make her a lot more valuable down the road for stud.

"There's nothing concrete regards plans. That would be a long way off Galway Plate class, but we'll just feel our way with her."

The Galway Hurdle is on the agenda for Clarach after the Tony Mullins-trained mare completed a hat-trick in the conditions hurdle.

The seven-year-old, ridden by the trainer's son Danny, still looked one step ahead of the handicapper after she added to her wins over jumps at Sligo and on the Flat at Tramore in convincing fashion. Brought with a smooth run, the 9/4 favourite sealed victory with faultless leaps at the last two flights, gaining a two-length verdict over Pires.

"Since she won at Galway last year we've had nothing else on our mind other than going back there for the Galway Hurdle this year," said Mullins Snr.

"I'm really looking forward to Galway and she loves fast ground. All my life, I have been waiting to train one for the Galway Hurdle and we are all set now.

"With her handicap mark and the experience she has, I think she must have a great chance."

Ruby Walsh gave Devil's Elbow, trained by his father Ted, a confident ride to deny the front-running Prince Ludovic in the Chase.

Prince Ludovic appeared to have the field in trouble apart from Devil's Elbow, which cruised through to challenge two out. The 4/1 shot jumped into the lead at the last but had to work fairly hard for a three-and-three-quarter-length victory. The first two pulled well clear of Our Victoria in third.

"He's a great and handy little horse. He jumped great and travelled well," said Walsh Snr. "Barry (Conlon, the owner) loves Galway, so he'll go there. I don't know what yet, there are loads of options there for him."

Walsh was completing a double, having made all on The Folkes Choice for trainer Henry de Bromhead in the opening maiden hurdle. The 6/4 favourite responded well to pressure in the closing stages to hold Lord Of Isenay by a length and a quarter.

Eightybarackstreet jumped his way to victory under Robbie Power in the beginners' chase. A fine leap at the second-last saw Tom Cooper's charge take the lead and gallop on strongly to hold Lord Ben's late rally by a length.

Galway could also be on the horizon for First Impressions after he caused a bit of a surprise in the Hermitage Green Play Live 26th July Handicap Hurdle. John Cullen set sail for home on Michael Mulvany's six-year-old before the second-last, defeating Zaralabad by three and a half lengths.

At Bellewstown, Gordon Elliott's Discoteca just managed to get the better of Dibella to record his fourth victory in a row in the conditions hurdle under Keith Donoghue. The 11/8 favourite didn't jump too cleanly on the soft ground but battled well to edge out Dibella in a photo-finish.

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