Colin Keane, arguably the most talented young rider in the country, enjoyed the biggest success of his fledgling career when guiding Brendan Bracken to victory in the Topaz Mile Handicap at Galway last night.
This very valuable feature should have been fiercely competitive, but Ger Lyons’ charge scored with ridiculous ease, by an enormous eight and a half lengths.
It is the type of distance one normally associates with National Hunt racing in the depths of winter and not an extended mile contest at this festival.
Beyond Thankful made his bid for glory up hill to the home turn, but suddenly Brendan Bracken appeared in his slipstream, simply running away.
Keane pushed the five-year-old ahead shortly before the turn in and Brendan Bracken powered clear to surely put an end to his days as a handicapper.
Shane Lyons represented his brother and reported: “This has been the plan for the summer.
“We told Colin that once he hit the front to keep his head down, there was to be no looking around.
“The horse has been running in Listed company all season. We thought he was a Group 3 horse and he’s won like that tonight.
“Colin is just a lovely fellow, he’s so laid back. If you told him he was riding in the Champion Stakes or a seller, he’d just say okay, nothing fazes him.
“He is with his father (Gerry), but rides out for us six days a week and is an absolute gent. This has been the plan for a long time, fair play to the boss at home. Ger’s ultimate plan will be a winter campaign in Dubai.”
Related Keane, who is 18 years-of-age and comes from Trim, Co Meath: “I crashed the car last week, so this will be a help.”
Dermot Weld continued his good start to the meting when Tarfasha toyed with the opposition on the way to winning the Topaz EBF Fillies Maiden.
Pat Smullen soon had her bowling along in front and the attractive daughter of Teofilo only had to be nudged out to beat market rival, Ballybacka Queen, by three and a quarter lengths.
“She’s a lovely filly, who was beaten by a good colt (Geoffrey Chaucer) of Aidan’s (O’Brien) at Leopardstown”, said Weld.
“She’s a stayer with speed, is a stunning mover and loves fast ground. I hope she has the potential to go right to the top and will probably now go head for a Listed mile race.”
The progressive Mouse Morris-trained Rathlin completed a hat trick of successes with a smooth display in the Latin Quarter Chase.
Davy Russell was content to take a lead from Hidden Cyclone for much of the journey, before sending his charge ahead over the fourth last.
After that it was simply a case of popping the remaining obstacles, as Rathlin coasted clear to score by six lengths.
Commented Morris: “These are super fences, but he had a look at one or two of them early on.
“He trains himself, he’s an old fashioned chaser. We will give him a little break now and then will decide what’s next.”
Davy Condon was seen to real advantage when giving Que Pasa a superb drive to take the Topaz Novice Hurdle.
There was no great pace through the contest and Condon kicked hard coming away from the second last.
Shamar and Diplomat were soon in pursuit, but the bird had flown and, respectively, they were a head and three parts of a length adrift at the line.
“This is unreal, something you dream about”, said trainer Harry Kelly, enjoying his first ever winner at the track.
“We wanted to get as much experience into her as we could, the plan is a Grade 3 novice hurdle at Down Royal.”
Tony Martin struck for the third time this week when Busted Tycoon justified favouritism in the concluding two-mile handicap.
She had won her previous three races over flights and is clearly a mare rapidly on the upgrade, shooting ahead over a furlong down for Fran Berry to score going away.
“We got her early in the year and she just gets stronger”, said Martin. “You’d have to like her, stays well and could come back here either on Saturday or Sunday.”
Tracey Collins’ Indian Landing went off a strong favourite for what looked a wide Open Caulfield Industrial Athlone Handicap.
He had the best of the draw in one, travelled like a dream at the front and looked all over a winner into the straight.
But Indian Landing found the final furlong hard work and was swamped close home by eventual winner, Footprint, ridden by Andrew Thornton, and also, rather remarkably, by Knights Templar and Sophies Echo to boot.
The particularly modest caulfieldindustrial.com EBF Maiden saw Joe Murphy’s Sister Slew finally enjoy a turn.
Partnered by Gary Carroll, she made all, just holding on late to resist Tax Reform by the minimum margin, a nose.
*The attendance was 18,248, as against 14,058 last year.
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