Galway winner Airlie Beach signs off in style for Willie Mullins

Airlie Beach rounded off her racing career in tremendous style with a typically game success in the Ardilaun Hotel Oyster Stakes at Galway.

Galway winner Airlie Beach signs off in style for Willie Mullins

Airlie Beach rounded off her racing career in tremendous style with a typically game success in the Ardilaun Hotel Oyster Stakes at Galway.

The Willie Mullins-trained mare had won eight of her previous 13 starts including six races over hurdles - featuring the Grade One Royal Bond Novice Hurdle at Fairyhouse - a bumper and most recently a first victory on the Flat at Tramore.

As she is in foal to Mount Nelson, this Listed event was to be her swansong and she went out in a blaze of glory in the hands at Pat Smullen.

A tardy start was not ideal, but title-chasing Smullen soon got her back on an even keel and she raced enthusiastically on the heels of the leaders.

Airlie Beach hit the front rounding the home turn and dug deep to see off the persistent challenge of Remarkable Lady by a length and a half.

Smullen said: "It's nothing short of a pleasure to ride such a good mare and for her to go out like that is a fairytale for all the connections.

"She is a typical one of Willie Mullins' and wants to go further than that trip and needed all of the hill.

"Every step she took up the hill she was devouring it and her stamina won out. She is a real quality mare and it's great she has gone out on a high."

Airlie Beach was one of two winners on the afternoon for Smullen, having earlier steered Hazapour (5-2) home in front in the opening Irish Stallion Farms EBF Maiden for his boss Dermot Weld.

With title rival Colin Keane also on the mark aboard Madeleine Tylicki's Coeur D'Amour (7-2) in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Median Auction Fillies Maiden, the pair are now locked together on 71 winners for the campaign.

Smullen added: "It's going to be like that for a long way yet and there are a lot of people panicking, bar me."

AP

More in this section

Join us for a special evening of Cheltenham chat on Friday March 12 at 6.30pm with racing legend and Irish Examiner columnist Ruby Walsh, Irish Examiner racing correspondent Tommy Lyons, and former champion jockey and tv presenter Mick Fitzgerald, author of Better than Sex.

Sport
Newsletter

Latest news from the world of sport, along with the best in opinion from our outstanding team of sports writers

Sign up
Home Delivery
logo-ie

HOME DELIVERY SERVICE

Have the Irish Examiner delivered to your door. No delivery charge. Just pay the cover price.

IE_logo_newsletters

Select your favourite newsletters and get the best of Irish Examiner delivered to your inbox