In a fascinating race for the jockey’s title, reigning champ Pat Smullen has hit a rich vein of form and, following a 1,055-1 four-timer at Roscommon yesterday, is all but breathing down the neck of championship leader Colin Keane.
After winning the listed Coolmore Ivawood Stakes in 2016, the Aidan O’Brien-trained Capri went on to much greater things, winning the Irish Derby, and his trainer completed back-to-back victories in the Tipperary race, doing so with a filly, Ballet Shoes.
The opening day of the 2017 Galway Festival was a stern reminder of the meeting’s all too familiar dismissive treatment of punters, but amongst the torment remains the potential for a fairy-tale, and it transpired in the feature race, the Connacht Hotel Qualified Riders’ Handicap.
The Ger Lyons-trained three-year-old Intisari bolted-up in the €50,000 Red God Handicap in Dundalk yesterday, slamming Ballydoyle hope Royal Navy Ship by four lengths to give Conor Hoban the second leg of a double, on his first ride for the County Meath trainer.
Pat Smullen was at his imperious best as he landed last night’s feature races at Cork, the listed Platinum Stakes and Group 3 Give Thanks Stakes, aboard the Dermot Weld-trained duo, Eshera and Zannda, to complete a treble which he kicked off aboard the exciting Only Mine.
Surprisingly, the only winning favourite on day five of the Galway Festival came in the ultra-competitive Arthur Guinness Handicap, but it was no shock to punters who backed the Tony Martin-trained Tudor City down from a high of 7-1, to a starting price of 5-2. There were a couple of anxious seconds before he prevailed in the cool hands of Fran Berry.
Five-time champion-jockey and four-time Irish Derby winner, Johnny Murtagh savoured his first Derby success as a trainer when 20/1 shot Jocular proved best in a blanket-finish to the Done Deal Apprentice Derby at the Curragh last night.