A year ago Tony Martin and Stephen Clements combined to land the Connacht Hotel Handicap with Edeymi and they repeated the feat last night when Quick Jack stormed away with the first feature of the week at the Galway festival.
It was a smashing piece of training on the part of Martin, who put the five-year-old aside for this major prize, after he had finished third over flights at Leopardstown in January.
Quick Jack stripped fit and well and travelled like a dream through the contest. Grecian Tiger was committed for home a fair way out, but the winner ranged up as a big danger early in the straight.
Clements powered his charge ahead over a furlong down and Quick Jack swept away to score by three lengths.
“We will get him home now, see how he is and then make a plan,” said Martin. “He’s a right little horse, has a big heart and never lets us down.
“He is in here again on Friday, in a mile and a half handicap and a handicap hurdle, so we will see how he is.”
Said Clements: “Tony had plenty of confidence about him. The worry was the bad draw and that he hadn’t run in a while, but I worked him during the week and knew he was spot-on.”
Aidan O’Brien’s Jamaica was backed as if defeat was out of the question, in the www.claregalwayhotel.ie colts and geldings Maiden, and duly obliged.
All the 5-4 and 11-10 early doors soon dried up and he was a sustained gamble throughout the day, finally lodging at 4-9.
Joseph O’Brien had him racing just off the pace, until allowing the son of Galileo to surge to the front off the home turn.
Jamaica then lengthened in style, shooting clear to beat Dermot Weld’s Postulation by three and a quarter lengths.
“He’s a nice horse,” said Aidan, with more than a hint of understatement. “He came forward nicely from his first run and learned plenty too.
“He won’t mind stepping up in trip and is a horse with a lovely nature and rhythm to him.”
Willie Mullins’ McKinley, successful in a modest maiden at Sligo, stepped well up on that to take the opening Galway Bay Hotel Maiden Hurdle.
A whole wall of horses had a chance down in the dip, but there was only going to be one winner once Paul Townend asked McKinley to lead coming away from the last.
Said Mullins: “His jumping is improving, he is getting more confident. I thought that was a good race, so I’m happy. He will stay novice hurdling.”
Dermot Weld’s recruit from the flat, Manhattan Swing, went off favourite, but never threatened to take a hand at the business end.
Tony Martin’s Artful Artist was all the rage for the EasyFix Rubber Products Handicap Hurdle, but ran no sort of race and was out of contention a long way from home. He was subsequently found to be blowing hard with a nasal discharge.
Victory went to Henry de Bromhead’s Beckwith Star, given an enterprising drive by Brian Hayes.
The winner was taken to the front going to the second last and kept finding to easily beat Eric the Grey.
“I always thought he wanted more ease in the ground, but Brian said he loved it,” reported de Bromhead.
Andy Oliver and Chris Hayes, who won the race a year earlier with Target Acquired, did it again when Expensive Taste took the claytonhotelgalway.ie Handicap.
Hayes made his move up hill to the home turn, sending Expensive Taste on and the late rush of Botanical Lady was never going to succeed.
The Moss Vale gelding had been done for his wind and gelded since his previous run and that seems to have worked the oracle.
“I am very happy with him and he is in again here on Friday night,” said a delighted Oliver.
Dermot Weld, following a couple of setbacks, finally struck when Timiyan landed the Pillo Hotel Handicap.
Produced by Pat Smullen to lead early in the straight, Timiyan stayed on strongly to beat the front-running Resiliency.
“He’s a nice staying horse,” said Weld. “They went a cracking gallop all the way and he got a good ride from Pat.
“The step up (in trip) and being gelded helped him. He appreciated the better ground and is a late maturing type.”
Princely Conn, having a first outing since March, showed his liking for a sound surface when proving far too good for Weld’s market leader, Call Vinnie, in the Bumper.
The five-year-old is trained by Tom Mullins and was very capable handled by his son, David.
The attendance was 18,938, as against 17,789 last year.
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