Galway top trainer points system a farce

Even Dermot Weld, at least privately, must have found it highly amusing.

Galway top trainer points system a farce

When the Galway marathon finally drew to a close last Sunday, it was revealed that he had been crowned leading trainer at the festival for a 29th time.

Now Galway is a massive success story, has been for a very long time, and, rightly so, is rarely subjected to any criticism.

But the notion that Weld was actually the leading trainer at the end of the seven days was plainly ridiculous.

He won the title by virtue of a convoluted points system that made absolutely no sense at all.

Apparently the system has been in place for many years, but no one essentially took a blind bit of notice of it.

The reason is that it was a given literally every year that Weld would emerge as the leading trainer, no matter what criteria was used.

But a leading trainer award based on five points for a winner, three for a second and one for a third was so silly as to be almost unbelievable.

It handed the title to Weld, despite the fact he only had five winners, with Willie Mullins on eight and Tony Martin on six. You really couldn’t make it up.

The meeting marked the end of John Moloney’s long reign as manager at Galway and he can leave with his head held high, after doing an extraordinary job.

Moloney will now be replaced by his son, Michael, and it will be no surprise should the new maestro immediately move to bring sanity to proceedings and ensure that whoever saddles the most winners at next year’s festival will be the leading trainer.

For Weld, by his high standards, it was a disappointing week and he was clearly short of firepower, on the back of an excellent first half of the campaign.

Look through the form book and you will find a number of his horses that might have been held back somewhat with Galway in mind.

But Weld decided against that, winning buckets of prize money in the process, and he knows better than anyone you can’t have it every way.

Mind you he did unveil one potential superstar at the meeting in the shape of Almela. In lots of ways it really was a case of keeping the very best wine until last.

A daughter of the great Sea The Stars and owned by the Aga Khan, she started off in the final flat race of the meeting, a mile and a half maiden on Sunday.

Now in the overall scheme of things this was a nothing contest, with the 1-3 shot facing six modest rivals.

But Almela won by 19 lengths, with Pat Smullen able to basically sit motionless throughout. She just might be rather good!


Anyone else blown away by Jim Bolger’s Herald The Dawn at Naas on Monday?

As a full brother to Dawn Approach, he has a lot to live up to and his initial effort, also at Naas, was less than inspiring.

There were only fives horses in that contest and Herald The Dawn didn’t appear to have many friends in the market, going off a 7-1 shot.

He performed okay, but was no match for Ger Lyons’ 10-1 chance, Reckless Endeavour, himself beaten out the gate at Down Royal previously. But then just 26 days later, Herald The Dawn stripped a far more potent machine.

This time he carried a lot of confidence on the exchanges and in the betting ring, in what shaped as a far better race compared to when he made his debut.

Indeed, Herald the Dawn eventually shaded two other heavily backed horses for favouritism, Aidan O’Brien’s London and Dermot Weld’s Sunglider.

The son of New Approach had the very worst of the draw, way wide in 16, and, at least to my eyes, pulled far too hard for his own good in the early part of the race.

He had it all to do early in the straight, but then exploded clear in the closing stages to slam both London and Sunglider. It was impressive, although we won’t know the value of the form until the placed horses reappear.

Another to take from the contest was Michael Halford’s newcomer, Dawenkour, noted powering through late to claim a never nearer sixth.


One wonders if Irish flat jockeys, plying their trade at home, ever give a thought to what Michael Kinane did for them.

Kinane was a trailblazer, bursting the notion that they were only useful when it came to domestic duties.

He led the way on the international stage, ably supported by Christy Roche and Johnny Murtagh, and now the torch is being carried by Pat Smullen.

The thought crossed my mind watching Wayne Lordan guiding Legatissimo to a smooth victory in last Saturday’s Nassau Stakes at Goodwood.

She should have been ridden by Ryan Moore and it is not a million years ago it would have been accepted that the injured Moore would have to be replaced by a jockey riding outside of this country.

But Lordan was always going to take over from Moore and much of that thinking now has its basis on the achievements of Kinane, the best flat jockey this country has ever produced.

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Saturday, November 27, 2021

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