Monday 19 February 2018

Weld beats own recordas Clare Glen steals plaudits for Dawson

Thomas Kelly

Dermot Weld again made the Galway headlines last night as he brought up his tally to a record-breaking 13 winners.

But Clare Glen provided trainer Sarah Dawson with the biggest win of her career as she landed the featured Guinness Handicap.

The five-year-old was sent off a 14/1 shot in the hands of Seamie Heffernan and the rider had to work hard to secure the spoils.

Clare Glen swooped down the outside to challenge Jumbo Rio, with the pair virtually stride for stride in the final furlong.

Heffernan just managed to conjure the necessary extra from Dawson's charge, though, gaining the verdict by a head with Celendine third and Flowers Of Spring fourth.

Dawson, who trains in Banbridge, Co Down, said: "She just loves a battle and is as tough as they come. I have nine in training and she's the stable star at the moment."

Heffernan added: "I won on her last year and Sarah and her assistant have done a good job with her. She might have been a bit keen the last day so I was happy to settle her in today."

While Dawson was gaining the first major win of her career, Weld smashed his own record for winners at the Festival as he saddled his 12th and 13th winners of the week courtesy of a first and last race double.

The 5/4 favourite, Rainforest Magic, proved a facile winner of the opening handicap hurdle under Robert McNamara and the Curragh trainer made it 13 for the first five days when Address Unknown captured the evening's finale under Pat Smullen.

In stark contrast to Weld, Jim Gorman and Chris Hayes successfully teamed up to both open their accounts as Kingdomforthebride (7/2) just touched off odds-on favourite Makalali and then survived a stewards enquiry in the Guinness 17:59 EBF Auction Maiden.

The head-on camera showed Makalali (9/10 fav) edged out from the rail under a right-hand drive from Wayne Lordan, while the winner gave him a bump in the closing stages.

It appeared a case of six of one and half a dozen of the other, and the stewards agreed after their deliberations and confirmed the placings.

"She's had plenty of runs but she's tough, and the ground was plenty quick enough for her,'' said Aidan O'Ryan, representing Gorman.

"She ran well at the Curragh last time on soft ground she likes considering she also lost a shoe."

For a change, Weld was out of luck with Along Came Casey in the Arthur Guinness Handicap as Balbriggan-based Damian English saddled his first winner as 25/1 chance Cash Or Casualty upset the odds.

Tony Martin was another trainer to saddle his first winner at the Festival this week when Another Ambition (14/1) came home a facile winner of the Guinness Galway Blazers Handicap Chase.

After an incident-packed race, Another Ambition cruised to the front in the straight with Davy Condon hardly moving a muscle, and had four and a half lengths to spare at the line over Sea Stallion.

Noel Meade's Sam Bass (100/30) just prevailed in a three-way photo for the 1m4f maiden.

The attendance of 25,240 was up 2,186 on the corresponding fixture last year but betting with both the Tote and the bookmakers was down 11pc and 7pc respectively on 12 months ago.

Irish Independent

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