Moment to savour as Magic gets her head in front

There was a bit of magic about yesterday for us in Galway as New Magic won the one mile handicap under a great ride by Kevin Manning. It was very hard luck on Fran Berry, who was due to ride and would have liked the winner as he is going well in the jockeys’ championship.

Fran had a fall in the parade ring on Tuesday but went out and rode the race as the thought he was fine. When he came back, he couldn’t walk. It’s actually a bruised heel but he’s on crutches and it’s very sore.

He missed racing yesterday and will sit out today as well but he’s hoping that after a bit of rest, he will be okay to ride tomorrow.

We were very lucky to get someone of the calibre of Kevin and he did a great job as New Magic wasn’t easy. She hung off the last bend a bit but he kept her up to the task and once she got her head in front, she kept on pulling out. It was a good effort carrying top weight.

The target all year was just to win a race with her and she had three runs before this. She hadn’t been beaten far which was frustrating but this was her day and to have a winner in Galway is fantastic. We might step her up in distance now to a mile and one or a mile and two and go for a listed race.

I was delighted with Sandymount Lady in the first while Jowango just wasn’t good enough. Takeyourcapoff didn’t seem to stay again. She travelled well and Kate had her tracking the winner but she found nothing. She’ll go over hurdles now.

False Evidence did well too on his first run since April. Barry Geraghty said that he missed the start and if he had gotten away in the first three or four he’d probably have finished third, although he’d never have won. He’ll go over fences and that’s always been where he’s future lay.

The day was all about the Galway Plate and it was a great race, full of incident. Going down to the third last, you could have picked 10 or 15 horses that might have won.

For me, Bob’s Pride was the unluckiest horse in the race. He was going very easy in behind when he just knuckled over at the last. Hampstead Heath refused to go down to the start and the English horse, Grand Slam Hero fell at the first, hampering Deutschland badly.

Nicanor hit the second last very hard and never really got into it after that while Don’t Be Bitin took a bad fall at the fourth that unfortunately was fatal.

What the race showed, once again, was what a jockey AP McCoy is. He was at his strongest on Finger Onthe Pulse to get him up. It was just brilliant. Themoonandsixpence looked like he was going to get there but the winner, thanks to AP’s trademark persuasive skills, kept pulling out a little bit more.

People looked at Finger Onthe Pulse’s form and wondered how he could win a Galway Plate. He unseated rider last time out, fell the race before that and was pulled up before that.

Obviously he had lost his way but this was a horse that won a handicap at the Cheltenham festival. Apart from that, Tom Taaffe’s horses weren’t firing for a while but they obviously back to form now and you’d have to be pleased for him.

The crowds were brilliant once again yesterday, down just 294 and with the figures up for the first two days, it says it all about Galway. I was talking to someone from England who was in Galway for the first time and they were amazed by the fact that there were so many places to sit even with the enormous crowds. There are benches and seats and various different areas and that means you’re not standing all day. You don’t notice these things when you’re a trainer but it’s a great credit to the management and committee.

While he might have been feeling hard done by with what happened to Bob’s Pride, Dermot Weld is well on the way to breaking all the records and with a treble yesterday, he has nine winners now. That’s one shy of the most winners for a trainer at the festival – a record he holds – and there’s still four days to go! I think it’s safe to say he’ll shatter it.

Everyone knows how good a jockey Pat Smullen is but Robbie McNamara is a top pilot as well. People may point to the fact that he’s an amateur but that’s only because he’s 6’3”. He is very, very good but then, when Mr Weld is happy to put him up once he can do the weight, you know that already.

The Galway Hurdle is the feature today. It is a race I look back on fondly because I won it with Oh So Grumpy in 1994, when Mark Dwyer was in the saddle. It was very important as it was one of the early big wins in my career. Since then I’ve been second twice and third once.

I was hoping to have a strong team today but I won’t know for sure until around 11am at the latest.

No One Tells Me definitely runs but Dreamy Gent is first reserve, Gimli’s Rock second reserve and Alpine Eagle third reserve. One trainer has never had the three reserves so I’ve been getting plenty of ribbing.

They’re all in good form and they’ll enjoy the ground but it will be a bit up in the air. I like my horses to be at the track two hours before the first runs to settle in. So what we’ll do is send the ones we definitely know are going up in the main truck and I have another if we get word that one or more of the others get in. They could leave at 11 and still run.

Tarrsille is in a seven furlong handicap and Blaze Brightly runs in the fillies; handicap. I would hope Blaze Brightly runs well but the two of them have bad draws.

I run a nice horse in the bumper called Castle Cove that has had only one run and that was 15 months ago at the 2009 Punchestown festival. He has had a wind operation and leg trouble. He’s going all out to win but you’d imagine that after so long out, whatever he does, he will improve for it.


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