Johnny Murtagh wants to train the best horses and, while he may not yet have that superstar to take him to the next level, the season thus far has been a huge step forward in his training career.
Champers Elysees became the latest rapid improver from the yard when she raced to a facile success in the listed Colm Quinn BMW Irish EBF Corrib Fillies’ Stakes.
Inhale set a furious gallop but was in trouble coming out of the dip, where the winner scooted past and quickened right away to win by seven lengths from the running-on Auxilia, with A New Dawn in third. The success was another feather in the cap of rising star of the saddle Ben Coen.
The filly was sold to race in America but, as Murtagh explained: “There was a little bit of a technicality, but I said I think she’s a very good filly and I was happy to keep her.
“I didn’t think she’d do that today, though. I thought the best was yet to come with her because she had been coming along nicely. It was a very impressive win today, and we’ll probably run her in the Fairy Bridge Stakes next.
“Last year, she was always quiet, a good ride, and showed us a bit all the time. Shane Foley said when he won on her in the Curragh last year that he liked this one.
"Danny Sheehy does most of the work on her and I asked him how she was, and he said she was flying. Coming to Galway is always a risk, but I’m very, very impressed with what she did today, and surprised as well.”
Of the prospect of further improvement, Murtagh added: “We bring the horses along like that and they seem to be running and improving so hopefully she can step up.
"If she stays like that she’ll do me, but we’re hoping there’s a bit left from now until the end of the season.”
So close was the finish to the Colm Quinn BMW Mile, the feature on the card, it took an age for the result of the photo to be called. When it came, the result showed that last year’s winner Saltonstall, ridden by Gavin Ryan for Ado McGuinness, had got up in the final stride to touch off Njord. Jessica Harrington, trainer of the runner-up, also saddled the third and fourth.
“A few minutes ago, I’d have taken the dead-heat, but they won’t take it off me now,” said a delighted McGuinness.
I love this place, and to have a winner down here is unbelievable. It’s like our Cheltenham. I’m just grateful to have the horses to come down here and do that.
Of the winner, he added: “He ran a blinder in the Lincoln, but I was very disappointed with him in Navan. We worked him last Tuesday and he worked badly, but we checked him out and he was fine We gave him a few days on the beach, and here we are again.”
Meala completed her perfect countdown to one with a runaway success in the Colm Quinn BMW Irish EBF Fillies’ Maiden.
Fourth on debut, third second time, and runner-up last time, she made all that experience count as she tracked the pace until going on from the turn in and racing right away to win by 11 lengths from the staying-on Oh So Fine. In victory the filly became Jim Bolger’s fifth individual two-year-old winner of the season from just 15 runners.
Rocket Science made it third time lucky with a comfortable success in the Caulfield Industrial Irish EBF Maiden. Jessica Harrington’s filly broke best but Shane Foley chose to settle her in behind the pace.
She moved well throughout and could be called a winner from a way out. Well-baked favourite Teed Up briefly threatened but the winner ran on strongly to win in the colours of Ann Marshall.
Horses winning more than once at the Galway Races is quite a common occurrence, the distinction of being the first such horse at the 2020 meeting went to the Joseph O’Brien-trained Flying Scotsman.
He followed Monday’s success over a mile and a half with a hard-fought success over a mile in the caulfieldindustrial.com Handicap. Wayne Lordan was in the plate once more on Joseph O’Brien’s winner.
Philip Byrne’s Out On Friday, ridden by Colin Keane, was due a winning turn following numerous fine efforts in defeat, and he got it in the first division of the Caulfield Industrial Handicap.
Having had three runners-up from five previous runners over the two days, Denis Hogan got his turn when Mulzamm took the second division of the handicap. J
oe Doyle brought the eight-year-old through with a strong finish to get the better of Loaded and Dancing Doll.
Walking On Glass, ridden by Leigh Roche, caused a 28-1 upset in the finale, the Latin Quarter Handicap. Padraig Roche’s runner was well beaten in the ladies’ Derby on his previous start but prior to that had finished a close second to the Connacht Hotel QR Race winner Princess Zoe.
Giving that winner a further boost, the five-year-old led late to beat Conron by a head.