Kevkat showed a really pleasing attitude to win the the Guinness Handicap over a mile and a half at the Galway Festival.
Trained by Eoin Griffin and ridden by Declan McDonogh, the five-year-old gelding was always close to the brisk early pace set by Callow Lake and stormed past runner-up Le Leopard deep inside the final furlong to win by a neck at odds of 9-1.
Aidan O’Brien’s well-backed 10-11 favourite Hitchcock ran into traffic problems when asked for maximum effort under Kieren Fallon, who had to be content with a staying-on third, a length and a quarter further in arrears.
Charlie Swan’s High Reef, who won this race in 2005, took fourth spot behind Kevkat, who was making his handicap bow having won a Wexford maiden last time out.
Prior to that victory, the son of Dushyantor finished third behind Galilean over 10 furlongs at the Curragh – with Hitchcock runner-up.
Griffin said: “We had a 12lb swing with Hitchcock and I gave Fran (Berry) the wrong instructions that day and left it too late.
“Hopefully there’s another race in him if the handicapper’s not too hard on him.
“He likes it fast and we’ll probably keep going as long as he has his ground.
“There’s a mile-and-six valuable handicap at Tralee later this month and that will now be the target.”
Sir Mark Prescott supplemented Spectait’s victory in the totesport Mile at Goodwood earlier in the day with Elusive Dream’s facile success in the St James’s Gate Race.
McDonogh looked a picture of composure aboard the gelding and could have been called the winner a long way from home.
The jockey soon asserted full control on proceedings and stretched clear to justify his short price with 14 lengths in hand from Peak Of Perfection.
“He did it very, very well – especially on the dip – and he’s a very nice horse,” McDonogh said of the 4-9 favourite.
“He’s got a big heart and he galloped all the way to the line.”
Willie Mullins’ Euro Leader, a faller in the Racing Post Plate at the Cheltenham Festival, could again be heading to Prestbury Park in November after his eyecatching victory in the Tony O’Malley Memorial Handicap Chase.
The eight-year-old, a well-beaten favourite in the GPT Galway Handicap on Monday, benefited from a patient ride from Ruby Walsh before bounding to a clear-cut eight-length success from Prince Of Pleasure.
“He acts really well on fast ground because he’s such a good mover,” Mullins said of the 7-4 favourite.
“He was a bit sore after he won on the Flat at Leopardstown and he does not seem to be able to tolerate fast ground when he gets older.
“Hopefully he’ll be sound in the morning though.
“The aim is to go to the Traleee and Listowel Festivals, with a view to running in the Paddy Power Chase in November.”
James O’Farrell partnered 4-1 favourite Lorna’s Star to a comfortable victory in the Guinness Handicap Hurdle, to the delight of the Ballybrit punters.
The seven-year-old took up the running just before the final flight and readily galloped clear of Annameadle, who stayed on well to secure second, with Teutonic Prince and Fivestar Alstars claiming third and fourth respectively.
McDonogh went onto complete a memorable treble after Kevin Prendergast’s Rajeh came with a rattling late run to win the 1979 European Breeders Fund Maiden at odds of 4-1.
Willie Supple landed a fine double in the last two races of the evening.
The jockey struck gold aboard Careless Abandon (10-1) in the Arthur Guinness Handicap before partnering 4-6 favourite Ferneley to a determined success in the Guinness Auction Maiden.