Dream Walker wins feature on final day at Galway
Brian Ellison plundered the Irish Stallion Farms EBF ‘Ahonoora’ Handicap for the third year in succession as Dream Walker flew to get up late in the feature contest on the final day of the Galway Festival.
Tribal Path came off the reserves’ bench to give a bold sight out in front, but was collared by the Ger Lyons-trained Reckless Endeavour at the furlong marker.
The pack were closing, though, and Chris Hayes got the splits at the right time aboard Dream Walker (7-1), who sprouted wings and pipped Reckless Endeavour by a neck.
Tribal Path hung on for third, with Cailin Mor fourth, and the winner’s stable companion Baraweez, who scooped this big prize for the past couple of season, also close up.
Camlann made it third time lucky at the festival with a determined display in the Martinstown Opportunity Handicap Hurdle.
The John ‘Shark’ Hanlon-trained five-year-old finished third over hurdles on Monday evening before occupying the same position on the Flat 48 hours later.
Sent off at 5-1 for his latest assignment in the hands of Rachael Blackmore, Camlann knuckled down well to get the better of Afatcat by three-quarters of a length, with 7-2 favourite Dollar And A Dream the same distance away in third.
Hanlon said: “The first day was my fault as I didn’t put the hood on him, and his next run on the Flat he just didn’t get a clear run at the right time.
“He’s a galloper and stays well.
“I’m delighted for the Mee family (owners) and for myself but especially Rachael Blackmore as she has been knocking on the door all week and that means a lot to her.
“He’s a very genuine horse and will get a month off now.”
Galway Plate runner-up Alelchi Inois went one better with a dominant performance in the At The Races Chase.
The Willie Mullins-trained eight-year-old’s task was made easier by the withdrawal of Road To Riches but he still had Plate fifth Clarcam to contend with.
The pair had outsider He Rock’s for company in a leading group of three until shaking him off on the run to the third-last, and slicker leaps at the final two carried Alelchi Inois clear.
Ruby Walsh did not have to break sweat on the 4-9 favourite, who coasted across the line with any amount in hand of Clarcam.
Mullins and Walsh wasted little time in following up as Plate fourth Devils Bride got his head in front in the Lord Hemphill Memorial Handicap Chase.
The nine-year-old was sent off the 13-8 favourite, despite having top weight.
Draycott Place made a bold bid for home and was still a few lengths clear jumping the last, but Walsh was biding his time on Devils Bride and once the jockey picked his moment, his mount responded impressively to score by eight lengths.
Mullins said: “Ruby really enjoys riding him and was seeing strides six or seven strides from fences. He rode both the chase winners today with such confidence, and is riding as good as ever if not better. Age is certainly not affecting him.
“We will look for something over two and a half miles, and he likes good ground. Maybe if the ground is suitable he could go for the Grade Two at Gowran Park (October 1).”
Dermot Weld and Pat Smullen teamed up to land the JPK Fencing Handicap with Tarazani.
Having finished a distant third to Derby-winning stable companion Harzand in a Cork maiden on his latest appearance in March, the Dutch Art gelding was a well-supported 15-8 favourite for his handicap debut and travelled strongly throughout.
Smullen kicked from the home bend and Tarazani, wearing a visor for the first time, was always doing enough to hold Ondamoura at bay by a length.
Kris Weld, assistant to his father, said: “His form had a decent look to it. He won nicely, and we’ll look for a similar handicap next time.”
Garri Rua claimed an eventful Galway Shopping Centre Handicap Hurdle for trainer Garrett Power.
There were multiple fallers following a nasty incident at the second flight from the finish, while 11-8 favourite Sea Light was still bang in contention when tipping up at the last under Davy Russell, interfering with Oisin James leading to Blackmore being unseated.
Garri Rua, a 14-1 shot following some decent runs in defeat of late, kept out of trouble in the hands of Danny Mullins and galloped clear to score by six lengths from Bye Bye O Bye.
Mullins said: “Garrett does a good job as he’s not exactly straightforward.
“If Davy’s horse had challenged me on the run-in my horse would have pulled out more, although I can’t guarantee he would have won.”
John Oxx got his first winner of the week as Nonetheless landed the Kenny Galway European Breeders Fund Fillies Maiden under Declan McDonogh, who was recording his first victory.
Mounira was the even-money favourite for Weld and Smullen, but having led she dropped away when push came to shove.
McDonogh produced his mount to perfection and went on to score by a length and three-quarters from Remarkable Lady.
McDonogh said: “She’s a nice filly and had a good run at the Curragh. She’s plenty of heart and quickened well.”
He added: “I have good supporters in Ado McGuinness, Andy Slattery and the boss (Oxx). They’re running well.”
The eclipse of Mounira meant Mullins was confirmed as champion trainer for the 2016 Festival, ending the long reign of Weld.
From 17 horses that contested 15 races, Mullins had nine winners, including the Galway Hurdle on Thursday with Clondaw Warrior.
Walsh was top National Hunt rider with seven winners and Smullen best on the Flat with six.