Airlie Beach could race on
Airlie Beach's racing days may not be over just yet following her good effort to finish third in Thursday's Galway Hurdle.
The Willie Mullins-trained mare won her first seven starts for the Supreme Horse Racing Club, an unbeaten run which was rounded off with a Grade One success in the Royal Bond Novice Hurdle at Fairyhouse in December.
She disappointed at the Cheltenham Festival and Fairyhouse in the spring, but performed better to chase home Apple's Jade in the Mares Champion Hurdle at Punchestown and was subsequently covered by stallion Mount Nelson.
Having warmed up for Galway by finishing a close third on her Flat debut at Killarney, Airlie Beach jumped the final flight upsides eventual runner-up Swamp Fox before passing the post a highly creditable third.
Mares in Ireland can run for 120 days after being covered and as the seven-year-old has until September before she officially has to stop racing, connections are keen to boost her broodmare value by trying to win a race on the level in the coming weeks.
Steve Massey, racing manager for the owners, said: "It was another great run from her and we're all extremely proud.
"She's been an absolute star for us. We didn't pay much for her when we bought her from Patrick (Mullins) and we could never have imagined that she'd end up winning seven races, including a Grade One, as well as finishing second to Apple's Jade and third in a Galway Hurdle.
"We were all getting a bit excited when she turned for home in front and that's what it's all about.
"She was beaten by two better handicapped horses on the day, but she ran her heart out as usual and being in foal certainly doesn't seem to have done her any harm.
"We'll obviously see how she comes out of the race, but there's every chance she could run again if she's in good form.
"I'm not sure exactly what date she has to stop, but it's in September, so we still have a bit of time.
"I'll have to discuss it with Willie, but I'm not sure there will be much for her over hurdles, so she could go back on the Flat.
"Having won a bumper and done so well over hurdles, it would be great to see her win a Flat race somewhere before she calls it a day."
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