DERMOT WELD may have missed out on winning the Plate, but otherwise it was largely business as usual at Galway yesterday, writes Pat Keane.
It has been well publicised his previous record for the week is ten winners, but that is virtually sure to be smashed, sooner rather than later.
Weld landed a treble, taking his score to nine, and they all cost the layers a bundle, each of them going off favourite.
Endless Intrigue started the ball rolling, toying with the opposition on his way to winning the www.thetote.com Maiden for amateur riders. Tracking the leaders throughout, he was asked to lead up hill to the straight by Robbie McNamara — this was his third of the week — and he quickly scampered eight lengths clear of Pozyc.
“I thought he (Endless Intrigue) lost concentration at the Curragh and that’s why we put on the blinkers”, said Weld.
“He worked in them the other day and they certainly sharpened him up. He will make a lovely dual purpose horse, but will stay on the flat for the moment and you will see him over hurdles at Christmas.”
Weld did it again with a superb training performance with Rock Critic in the Tote Trifecta Handicap.
This appeared a hard contest to solve and Rock Critic was making a somewhat belated seasonal debut, not having been seen since the previous August.
But the man can literally walk on water at this Festival and Rock Critic went off a strong favourite.
Those who invested never had the slightest cause for concern. The Pivotal gelding shot away in the straight for Pat Smullen to score by a whopping eight lengths.
“He’s an odd horse”, reported Weld. “He has given trouble in the stalls before and today was the best he’s ever been at the start.
“I was happy he was drawn on the outside, this is a big horse and needs room. He will run back at Naas next Monday.”
Weld rounded off the bonanza with previously once-raced Unaccompanied showing all the right qualities to get the best of a short, sharp tussle with market rival, Barrow Island, in the Tote Return All Profits To Racing Maiden.
Said Weld: “That was a very good ride by Pat Smullen, she got a bit unbalanced, we were worried the ground might have dried out too much for her.”
Carrigtwohill, Co Cork trainer Terence O’Brien clearly has a decent horse on his hands in Ballyadam Brook.
The imposing six-year-old completed a hat-trick in the Tote Placepot Races 1 to 6 Novice Hurdle, with easily his best performance to date.
A relentless galloper, he was content to take a lead from Regal D’Estruval for much of the trip, as Paul Townend waited his moment to pounce.
Townend made his move coming away from the second last, easing the heavily-backed Ballyadam Brook into the lead.
Market rival Final Day was soon out after him, but his cause was hopeless and the winner bounded away from the final flight to score unextended by three and a half lengths.
“I couldn’t be more delighted”, said O’Brien. “He showed nothing in point-to-points and we were hoping might win a handicap off 85 to 90.
“But he had an operation on his nostrils and that seems to have done the trick. I didn’t dream it would come to this.
“Today was the plan and I’m not sure where he will go now. He didn’t jump great, but does jump fences better than hurdles. He may head to Listowel next.”
John Brassil, who partnered Hamers Flame to win the Plate in 1983, saddled Novel Investment to land the Tote Telebet 1850238669 Handicap Hurdle.
Tom Doyle made his move after two out and runner-up Mr Bones never threatened to close the winner down.
Said Brassil: “He’s very consistent and I thought was a little unlucky at Limerick. It’s great to win at Galway and he’s in here again on Saturday over two miles and five, so we’ll see how he is.”
Gordon Elliott, out of luck earlier with Final Day, struck for the first time at the meeting when Hoopy won the Tote Jackpot Races 3 To 6 Handicap Hurdle.
The winner and King Of Redfield had a real battle on the run in, with Hoopy prevailing bg a neck.
An inquiry was immediately called, which was inevitable, given that Hoopy took the second’s ground close home.
But it was literally on the line and there was never any possibility of a change in placings.
Paul Carberry, on Hoopy, however, had his whip in his right hand — the wrong hand as it turned out — and he was cautioned as to his future riding.
This was an extraordinary decision and how he wasn’t given a couple of days suspension simply defied logic.
The attendance was 20,446, marginally down on last year at 20,740. The Tote at €970,472 was down €73,000, while the layers held €2,484,547, only €68,000 short of a year ago.
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