The Noel Meade trained Curley Bill from the Noel Meade yard held off the late challenge of Gordon Elliott’s Bayan by a head to land the lucrative mile and a half Guinness Handicap, the feature race on Day 5 of the Galway festival, at odds of 9/2. Curley Bill is part owned by Philip and ‘Abbie’ Reynolds, sons of former Taoiseach Albert Reynolds.
“I’ve always liked him, he has a lot of speed. I think he is more of a summer horse. He wouldn’t fancy the ground too heavy and he just about got away with it today. He ran poorly in a maiden hurdle at Punchestown earlier in the year as he didn’t handle the ground that day but he has run great ever since on the flat. I thought he was the best chance we had of a winner this week but I was worried when I saw all the rain, however I’m delighted that he got away with it. He jumps brilliantly and could make up into a nice hurdler in time” said Noel Meade.
The win for Curley Bill brought up a double on the night for Jockey Fran Berry, who had also won the opening race of the night, the 7f Guinness 17.59 EBF Median Auction Maiden, by a comfortable 10 lengths on 4/1 chance Hidden Oasis for trainer David Wachman. Hidden Oasis’ owner JP McManus was also successful in tonight’s principal contest over jumps – the Guinness Galway Blazers Steeplechase – when the Mouse Morris trained Bruff (5/1jf) landed the spoils by 6 lengths from another horse owned by JP, Ballyburke.
Paddy Power horse racing betting fans have been quick to back Dermot Weld’s mare Unaccompanied (8/15f) who battled gamely on the gluey surface to hold off the challenge of Fleur De Nuit by a length in the 1m6f Guinness Race to register the Master of Rosewell House’s ninth winner at this year’s festival.
Trainer Tony Martin chalked up his sixth winner of the week at Ballybrit when 4/1 shot Woodsophiesmile won the 1m Arthur Guinness Handicap under jockey Wayne Lordan by a head in a driving finish from New Regalia.
The racing prices seem to suggest that 4/5 favourite Agreement who was the winner of the Guinness EBF maiden for Aidan and Joseph O’Brien could be a future group winner.
There was another Tipperary winner on the night when 25/1 outsider Reafaddawho was successful in the night’s concluding contest, the Guinness (Q.R.) Handicap Hurdle for trainer John Patrick Ryan and jockey Pat King.
The attendance on Friday was 23,555, compared to 20,368 in 2012.
Tote Turnover €686,058 (2013) €590,770 (2012)
Bookmakers €1,382,360 (2013) €1,112,223 (2012)