Zeroberto set for quick return

Zeroberto is set to reappear later this week after forming the middle leg of a brilliant treble for trainer Dermot Weld on the opening day of the Galway Festival.

Zeroberto is set to reappear later this week after forming the middle leg of a brilliant treble for trainer Dermot Weld on the opening day of the Galway Festival.

The six-year-old was given a masterful ride by Ruby Walsh in the GPT Dublin Handicap Hurdle, the 9-2 joint-favourite looming large on the turn into the home straight and skipping clear after the last for a four-and-a-half-length call over Thunder Road.

“A penalty for this win will hopefully put him in the Galway Hurdle on Thursday,” said Weld, who is also set to be represented in the big race by Kinger Rocks, for whom Tony McCoy has been booked.

“He was unlikely to get in before this race but we did it with Ansar (winner of both races in 2001) so hopefully we can do it again. The horse jumped super.”

Weld and Walsh had struck first in the GPT Sligo Novice Hurdle over two miles, with the four-year-old Summer Soul always prominent as the previously unbeaten Serve Time took the field along.

Walsh waited until after the final flight to collar Paul Carberry’s mount and go on for a length success on the 15-8 favourite. Miss Ailbhe was third.

Weld said: “That was a very true run race and the first two are obviously decent horses. It was a brilliant ride from Ruby.

“I think there’s a very good Flat handicap in this horse. He’s a real good staying type. He’s also adaptable as I’ve always thought before of him as a fast ground horse.”

The attention switched to the Flat after those two races but that made little difference to Weld as he sent out Fleeting Shadow to claim the GPT Access Equipment European Breeders Fund Maiden.

Chivalrous, with Seamus Heffernan deputising for the absent Kieren Fallon, threw down a challenge turning for home but Pat Smullen had saved a bit on the 11-8 favourite and the Danehill colt went away to score by a length.

“He did it nicely. He had a lovely run on his debut when second at the Curragh on Derby Day and he came on from it,” Weld said.

“There was a big gap to the third and he’ll move up to Group level now with the Futurity a logical race. He’s also entered in the Phoenix Stakes and while that’s going back to six, it’s still a possibility as he has a lot of natural pace.

“He’ll make a nice miler next year.”

Meanwhile, P’Tit Fute turned the feature €75,000 GPT Galway (Q.R) Handicap into a procession, scooting clear on the final bend and coming home some 12 lengths clear of Navajo Chieftain, with Athlumney Lad third and Hasanpour fourth.

It was a marvellous training performance by Francis Flood, as the winner was having his first start for 324 days.

He said of the 14-1 chance: “He won here last year (over hurdles) and we always planned to come back this year.

“The plan was to give him a run earlier in the year but the ground was so firm we were unable to. John Mahon (head of winning owners the Jim Racing Syndicate) has a couple of pubs in New York and likes to come back to Galway races each year.

“We’ll see how he comes out of this race. He’s in the Galway hurdle but I’m not sure whether he will get in, and he’s also in the two mile, five handicap hurdle on Saturday. The drop of rain definitely favoured him and he stays very well.”

Fallon missed a winner when the Ger Lyons-trained 13-2 chance Raspberry Beret, again with Heffernan deputising, ran out victorious by half a length from Careless Abandon in the GPT Cork Handicap.

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