Surprisingly, the only winning favourite on day five of the Galway Festival came in the ultra-competitive Arthur Guinness Handicap, but it was no shock to punters who backed the Tony Martin-trained Tudor City down from a high of 7-1, to a starting price of 5-2. There were a couple of anxious seconds before he prevailed in the cool hands of Fran Berry.
There was little luck for punters in the opening race, as Riviera Sun was heavily backed in the opening handicap hurdle but was one of the first in trouble, while Morning gamble Rupert Lamb raced prominently but was unable to raise his game in the closing stages. Victory went to 14-1 chance Vive La France, who quickened away from the last to win readily.
Soft ground was a concern for odds-on favourite Palmetto Dunes in the maiden, and the Dermot Weld-trained hot-pot ran a fine race but may have come unstuck in the mud as he was touched off by 8-1 chance Whiskey Sour.
Willie Mullins’ Devils Bride was the well-backed 11-2 favourite (from 10-1) for the Galway Blazers Handicap Chase, but never landed a telling blow and was eventually pulled up.
Mullins supporters were back on track in the featured Guinness Handicap as 4-1 chance Clondaw Warrior landed the €60,000-to-the-winner feature at the expense of gambled-on favourite Golden Spear (10-1 to 7-2).
Weld newcomer Pictogram was easy to back in the Guinness Maiden, returning 5-2 from even-money on the early markets. He ran a promising race in defeat behind the experienced 4-1 chance, Nova.
The evening’s action closed with Tony Martin again coming out on top, this time with Dark Crusader, who had plenty of supporters at odds of 7-4. Well in at the weights, she proved too strong for heavily backed odds-on favourite Good Tradition (9-10).
The attendance was 21,532, which was 369 up on the same evening last year.
Bookmakers recorded a significant increase in turnover, up almost €200,000 with a figure of €1,221,017, while the Tote was €43,296 down on last year, with turnover of €668,254.
Trainer standings: 6 Willie Mullins; 4 Tony Martin, 3 Dermot Weld, Henry De Bromhead, Jessica Harrington, David Wachman; 2 Sheila Lavery; 1, Aidan O’Brien, Matthew Smith, Michael O’Callaghan, Ado McGuinness, Harry Rogers, Garrett Power, Brian McMahon, Denis Hogan, Ger Lyons, Colin Bowe, Liam Cusack, Eddie Lynam, Mouse Morris.
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