Geraghty at his strongest as Beau Michael prevails

BARRY Geraghty was seen at his strongest when powering Beau Michael to a neck victory over Armaramak in the St James’ Gate Novice Chase at Galway yesterday, writes Pat Keane.

Beau Michael landed in front at the second last, shook off Adajal and then battled on to resist the persistent challenge of the runner-up.

Trainer, Adrian McGuiness, said: “Barry gave him a super ride, our horse picked up again when the other one came to him.

“He will probably go to one of the Festivals in September, either Killarney or Listowel. Then it might be Cheltenham in November, but we won’t race him in the winter. The plan is to come back here next year for the Plate.’

Geraghty was suspended for one day for using his whip with excessive frequency.

Gordon Elliott, successful with Hoopy on Wednesday, was on the mark again when Chicago Grey took the Perfect Pint Beginners Chase.

The seven-year-old had performed poorly at Perth previously, but was back on song here. Paul Carberry drove him through on the inside early in the straight and he stayed on to hold Prince Erik, who didn’t travel well for most of the journey, but finished to real effect.

“It’s important to have a winner at Galway and I am delighted”, reported Elliott.

The stewards were in action after the Guinness Time Handicap and this was a contest which took a fair bit of sorting out.

Victory went to Separate Ways, who beat the gambled on Luttrell Lady by half a length. When Luttrell Lady launched her initial effort, she hampered favourite, Designated Decoy.

Separate Ways got a clear run towards the outside, but tended to edge to his right, as Luttrell Lady tried to get up the far rail.

Joseph O’Brien soon snatched up on Luttrell Lady and then switched out to start again. She finished with a flourish, but the damage was done and was never going to close down Separate Ways.

The stewards, following much deliberation, decided that the placings should be reversed and Luttrell Lady was promoted to first. It was the correct decision.

O’Brien completed a 143-1 double when Dusty Trail sprang a 25-1 shock in the Arthur’s Legacy Handicap, getting the best of a tight tussle with Hawk Flight by a short head.

Dermot Weld’s Force Of Habit, successful over flights here earlier in the week, went off a ridiculous 5-4 favourite and never threatened to deliver.

John Oxx’s Leopardstown maiden winner, Smart Striking, landed a little touch — 5-1 to 5-2 — in the Arthur Guinness EBF Fillies Handicap. Ben Curtis, the find of the season, was in the plate and was seen to advantage in the closing stages.

He gave her the full treatment and the filly responded to beat Anam Chara a hard-earned half a length.

Commented Oxx: “You are always worried in their first handicap and whether she would handle Galway.

“She has improved a lot for blinkers, likes fast ground and is doing okay. We may stretch her out another furlong.”

Wexford handler, James Cousins, enjoyed his first Festival success when Persian Gayle won the Signature Novice Hurdle in the hands of Niall Madden.

Persian Gayle was on terms with Bacher Boy over the final flight, soon forged away and had plenty left, as Cooper’s Crest stayed on from behind to claim second.

“He’s an honest, decent horse”, remarked Cousins. “Winning at Galway is as good as winning the jackpot. He will have a break now.”

Robbie McNamara continued his amazing run when guiding David Marnane’s newcomer, Coronea Lilly, to victory in the Bumper. It was McNamara’s fourth of the week.

“She was placed in a couple of point-to-points, but doesn’t show much at home”, revealed Marnane. Coronea Lilly was returned at 33-1, but paid over 66-1 on the Tote.

The attendance was up 2,000 on last year. The Tote was €1, 329,114, as against €1,376,846 a year ago. The layers held €2, 861,791, €261,251.

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