Dermot Weld has the last laugh with Galway four-timer

Dermot Weld

I doubt that Dermot Weld engaged in anything even remotely approaching a Clive Brittain-like jig, but he must have at least allowed himself a wry smile!

At Galway on Monday night Weld saddled four winners, from seven races, and the irony was hardly lost on him.

It has long been accepted he will emerge from the Galway festival as the leading trainer, but only succeeded this year because of a crazy points scoring system.

Over the seven days, he managed, by his standards, a paltry five winners and that was basically as bad as it gets for the Rosewell House maestro.

It must have annoyed him, at least a little, but the old adage tells us not to get mad, get even.

So he returned to Galway on Monday, with literally all guns blazing. And one by one they banged in to indicate that Weld could enjoy a delightful and lucrative end to the campaign.

To my way of thinking the star of the Weld show was Almela and she didn’t even win, going under to her stable companion, Zhukova, in a driving finish to a 12 furlongs Listed race.

Almela went off the evens favourite, which was logically ridiculous, considering there were a number of horses in the contest, including, Zhukova, who had achieved far more than she had.

But the daughter of Sea The Stars was all the rage throughout the day and also very much on the exchanges.

In the end, she nearly landed the wagers, but was out-battled in the closing stages and beaten a head.

Even in defeat, it was a fine performance. Her only previous outing was at the Galway festival when she won a nothing contest by half the track. But yours truly would surely shape as mildly impressive running past trees!

On Monday, however, Almela will have learned so much more than she did when winning that maiden in early August

The other thing to take from the Galway programme was the confirmation it offered that the Aga Khan horses have greatly boosted the power of the Weld yard.

Almela, of course, is owned by the Aga Khan, who also saw his colours carried to victory by the three other Weld winners, the newcomer, Ebediyin, Simannka and Alveena.

The two-year-old, Ebediyin, is of particular interest. He was far from fully wound up, you suspect, but was still good enough to beat Aidan O’Brien’s once-raced Cole Porter in a mile plus maiden.

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It’s a massive weekend for Irish racing and, hopefully, the weather won’t prove a real spoilsport.

If all the horses that have been declared actually turn up then this certainly has the capacity to get people excited about the flat game.

The problem, of course, is how much of a difference might the substantial rain make to the going and will the likes of Gleaneagles and Golden Horn take their chance in today’s Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown?

Anyway, Free Eagle, who has neither ground or trip worries, to my way of thinking, is fancied to cope with whatever turns up.

The other horse that interests me is Aidan O’Brien’s Order Of St George. It was originally a trifle complicated, after he was declared for the Leger at Doncaster today and also for the Irish equivalent at the Curragh tomorrow.

But we now know he won’t run at Doncaster, so that simplifies matters somewhat. If he shows at the Curragh then will be the only three-year-old in the 11-strong field.

Anyway, the bottom line is the softer the surface the better his prospects. The difference it makes to him should not be underestimated.

Order Of St George is just a far better horse on soft ground and, granted his conditions, we may well be tempted to unload both barrels!

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Sometimes you wonder if at least one or two off-course bookmakers have a couple of comedians on their respective staffs.

At Galway on Tuesday evening, Willie Mullins’ Bachasson won his third race in Ireland, in as many runs, since arriving from France.

That followed on scoring at Sligo and the Galway festival and, on what he has achieved so far, I doubt there is anyone who might feel the need to crab him. All three of successes, though, were modest affairs, where he simply toyed with the opposition on the way to impressive victories.

But after he won at Galway the comedians among the layers were given their heads and Bachasson was quoted at 12-1 for the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham.

That really was an insult to the intelligence of punters. He has yet to contest any sort of proper race, relative to Cheltenham, and I’ll bet those responsible for issuing the quotes wouldn’t back him right now at 33-1!

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The antics of some of those on the exchanges never cease to amaze. Take a horse of John Murphy’s called Cape Discovery, who won at 50-1 at Dundalk on Sunday.

This was a nine-runner, one-mile maiden and, admittedly, Cape Discovery’s prospects were hardly overly apparent.

But, for those who were tempted to lay Cape Discovery, it might have been worth keeping in mind that Murphy has a history of winning with decent priced horses.

That was lost on at least one exchange player, however, who offered 159-1. Presume he, or even they, were accommodated.


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