Wests Awake passes Galway Plate test nicely

GRAHAM LEE, who took this year’s Aintree Grand National on Amberleigh House and the Scottish equivalent aboard Grey Abbey, enjoyed his third success in his native country when partnering the Iggy Madden trained Wests Awake to land the valuable Byrne Handicap Chase at Tipperary yesterday.

Lee has spent most of his career riding in Britain and couldn’t recall exactly when he rode his two winners in Ireland.

Commented Lee: “I went to England in October of ’93 and they both came prior to that, for Dessie McDonogh.”

Lee, who comes from Galway - right next to the racecourse - is looking forward to the action at Ballybrit later this month.

“I hope to ride Wests Awake in the Plate, the plan was to come here and get a feel of him”, revealed Lee.

Trainer-Madden, whose main profession is the haulage business, confirmed the Plate was the plan - if the horse gets in. Said Madden: “He will also be entered in a two miles and six at Galway on the Tuesday.”

Fable, despite a couple of dodgy leaps, made a brave attempt from the front and the tactics looked like succeeding for most of the journey.

But Wests Awake stayed on dourly to challenge going to the last and he was in front, and in control, shortly after the obstacle.

Accordion Etoile, trained by Paul Nolan, who went to Sligo, was hugely impressive in winning the betdaq.com Hurdle.

Grimes set a scorching pace and that had the heavily-backed favourite, Royal Alphabet, in trouble a long way from home.

It was perfect for the winner, however, who cruised past Grimes between the last two hurdles to score in a canter for John Cullen.

James Nolan represented his brother and said: “We schooled him the other day and it was electric.

“He will be given a short break and definitely misses Galway. He will come back to Tippperary in October for the J P McManus Hurdle, as long as the ground is good, and we are dreaming of the Champion Hurdle.”

The tough Lasquini Du Moulin proved far too strong for his rivals in the O’Dwyer Tarmac Hurdle, under a typical Ruby Walsh ride.

The winner was near the front from the start, led over the fourth last and galloped up the straight in relentless fashion to beat Red Square Lady.

Trainer, Willie Mullins, is currently unwell at home and his assistant, Jim Nash, did the honours. Said Nash: “He stays and loves the ground. He has schooled over fences and Ruby says he jumps well.

“The plan was to go chasing after today, but whether Willie might like to give him another run over hurdles after this I don’t know.”

Dermot Weld’s King Of Tory was all the rage in the ring for the Irish Stallion Farms’ EBF Maiden, finding evens from 6-4, but again looked less than enthusiastic and went down by half a length to the Jim Bolger trained, Roman Rose.

This daughter of Charnwood Forest, in contrast, showed all the right qualities in the closing stages.

She was on the pace throughout with En Passant going for glory over a furlong down.

King Of Tory was soon in pursuit, but Kevin Manning’s mount showed much the greater resolution in the closing stages.

Manning and Bolger went on to complete a double when Leeside Music, following a promising reappearance at the Curragh, took the Tolpuddle Maiden.

She was a major order, hardening from 4-5 to 4-7, and justified the confidence with a game performance.

Manning drove her into the lead with a furlong and a half to run and the late surge of the blinkered Pulitser was never any sort of worry.

Leeside Music is owned by Bolger’s head man, Pat O’Donovan, who will find the almost 9,000 prize a help, having got married three weeks ago!

The market principals, Foxhollow Lady and Irish Verse, had a real set-to in the Irish Stallion Farms’ Fillies Handicap.

Danny Grant drove eventual winner, Foxhollow Lady, ahead with over a furlong to travel and the mare held on by a fast diminishing short head. “She will probably go to Galway now”, said trainer, Pat Flynn.

Seamus Heffernan powered After Shock to the front inside the furlong pole to beat Amber Nectar Two in the five furlongs Stone Throwers Handicap.

John King (19) from Holycross, Co Tipperary, rode his fifth winner when the Pat Doyle trained Murrosie stayed on doggedly from the furlong pole to grab the Bumper.

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