Jazzaway, delivered late by Conor McNamara, denied Western Victory in the €80,000 Guinness Handicap Hurdle to provide Willie Mullins with the highlight of a Friday treble at the Galway Festival.
The 9/1 shot, stepping-up in trip, prevailed by a head, with Litterale Ci, third in the big amateur handicap on Monday, filling the same spot again.
“We’re very happy with her,” stated Mullins.
“She has a lovely pedigree and has done more than we ever thought she would,” before explaining, “She was lame the other day and I told her owners she wouldn’t be running this week. But 24 hours later, she was fine. And, now, she has come and done this.”
Purple Mountain, in the Mee colours, had given Closutton the perfect start to Day 5 of the Festival, justifying 5/6 favouritism in the opening James’s Gate Maiden Hurdle, in which stable-companion Gamin Original unshipped Paul Townend, when holding every chance, at the final flight.
Townend meanwhile partnered chasing debutant Grand Bornand to victory in the Arthur Guinness Chase, left in command when Russian Diamond, upsides, crashed at the final fence.
Winning rider in the feature, Conor McNamara had earlier tasted his first success since returning from injury when getting ‘Shark’ Hanlon’s 2/1 favourite Hallowed Star (a second winner on the day owner Mrs Annette Mee) up close home to beat longshot Ashqar by a half-length in the Adare Manor Opportunity Handicap Hurdle.
“It’s always great to get a winner in Galway – just one does the job,” declared Hanlon, who explained, “He’s lazy and needs stoking-up and Conor was brilliant on him.”
Mrs Mee was back in the winner’s enclosure after The Gossiper, ridden for Emmet Mullins by Mike O’Connor, made all to land the winners’ bumper.
Even with the restricted crowd, there was plenty of excitement after Born By The Sea (10/1) landed the Guinness Galway Blazers Handicap Chase in determined fashion for the Gilligan family, based just 12 miles away, near Athenry.
Unplaced on the Flat on Monday, Born By The Sea who represents the father and son combination of Paul and Jack Gilligan, powered up the hill to beat favourite Popong.