Dermot Weld continued where he left off from last year with a treble on the opening day of the 2012 Galway Races. The King of Ballybrit trained 17 winners at last year’s week long extravaganza and it seems inevitable after just one day that a 28th leading trainer award will be his come Sunday afternoon.
Under sunny skies, a rarity this summer, the Weld juggernaut got into top gear in the very first race of the meeting. Teaming up with multiple champion jockey Ruby Walsh the Master of Rosewell House sent out Train of Thought to win the Radissonhotelgalway.com and Galwaybayhotel.com novice hurdle on his hurdling debut.
Walsh sent Train of Thought to the head of affairs from flag fall and after jumping the second last flight he pushed the son of Sadlers Wells on. The move left the rest of the pack trailing in his wake and he stayed on strongly to beat Faustina Pius by four and a quarter lengths.
Surprisingly Train of Thought was only second favourite but obliterated his rivals, including market leader Discoteca who could only manage a well beaten fourth in the hands of reigning champion Davy Russell.
The first flat race of the meeting also went Weld’s way as Thunder Mountain was an impressive winner of the Claregalwayhotel.ie EBF 2yo Maiden. Pat Smullen made virtually all on Thunder Mountain, who showed the benefit of experience gained from his debut run at the Curragh, where he finished last.
He was joined at halfway by red hot favourite Line Drummer and Joseph O’Brien from the Ballydoyle yard but his challenge faltered and he was caught in the shadow of the post by Don’t Bother Me for second. Thunder Mountain was a comfortable four length victor. The winner is a half brother to Riviera Poet, Weld’s 2011 winner of this race.
Weld’s third winner was a history making one as Jane Mangan became the first woman ever to ride the winner of the amateur handicap, the highlight of the first day of the Galway Races. The 18 year old daughter of Grand National winning trainer Jimmy is one of the rising stars of Irish racing. Her victory on Midnight Music in the Carlton Hotel Galway City Qualified Riders’ Handicap came on her first ride at the Festival. It was also Mangan’s first ride for Weld. Midnight Music’s snug two length victory over Cry for the Moon was the final leg of a 155/1 three timer for Weld.
On an evening of firsts for Galway, two trainers were in the Ballybrit winners’ enclosure for the first time. Denis Hogan is successfully combining his riding career with training and he had his first experience of a Galway when Kalellshan took the HotelMeyrick.ie and theghotel.ie Handicap Hurdle.
Talented claimer Mark Enright guided Kalellshan to an all the way success. The gelding was having his first run over hurdles since returning from an eighteen month injury break. Kalellshan is no stranger to Galway glory and won twice here at the 2010 festival. He may attempt to repeat the trick this year and has entries in a handicap hurdle tomorrow and a chase on Sunday.
Former Kildare footballer Willie McCreery was another trainer celebrating his first Galway winner yesterday. Apprentice jockey Ronan Whelan is on fire right now and he had Kanes Pass in a prominent position throughout the Claytonhotelgalway.ie seven furlong handicap.
When Whelan asked the filly for an effort rounding the home turn she picked up well and went clear inside the final furlong to win by an eased down three and a quarter lengths.
Shane Foley and Mick Halford have struck up a successful partnership and Sure Reef provided them with another winner. Foley gave a clever display of front running tactics in the Galway Oyster Hotel Handicap over 12 furlongs to deny yet another Weld favourite as Encrypted Message couldn’t get close to Sure Reef, who stepped up from his Killarney win to record an easy three and three quarter lengths victory.
Jim Bolger’s jumps runners are rarer than sightings of the sun during an Irish summer so when he does send one out it’s worth taking heed. The jockey booking was also notable as Patrick Mullins was entrusted with guiding Cul Baire, who was fifth in a bumper at the Punchestown Festival, in the pillohotelgalway.com bumper.
Mullins settled him in behind Silver Concorde and Masterofdeception but Cul Baire powered clear in the home straight to win in the colours of Bolger’s daughter Una Manning. Weld’s odds on favourite Silver Concorde was seven lengths adrift in second.
8 ran Distances: 4¼l, 1¾l, 12l
WIN £2.50 PL £1.10, £1.40, £2.20
20 ran Distances: 5l, 4½l, 4l
WIN £9.70 PL £2.40, £1.60, £3.10, £3.80
8 ran Distances: 4½l, shd, 3½l
WIN £4.10 PL £1.20, £1.60, £1.02
19 ran Distances: 2¾l, 2l, ½l
WIN £13.40 PL £3.10, £4.10, £1.90, £5.20
RULE 4: Donatis Comet was withdrawn. Price at time of withdarwal 16/1. Rule 4 does not apply.
NR: California Rose
15 ran Distances: 3¼l, 1¼l, nk
WIN £25.80 PL £6.40, £2.90, £2.10
11 ran Distances: 3¾l, 1¼l, ½l
WIN £7.30 PL £2.00, £1.60, £10.80
20 ran Distances: 7l, 1¼l, ½l
Daily Double: Not won. Pick Six: Not won. WIN £3.10 PL £1.20, £1.10, £10.00