Although the crowds were well up to average they were much more selective in their choices which in turn showed a reduced betting turnover but those following trainer Dermot Weld came out showing a hefty profit as the Curragh handler smashed his own record to saddle a staggering seventeen winners over the seven days some of which left the bookies reeling. Although he only visited the winners enclosure once on the opening evening his winner Riviera Poet could yet prove to be one of the juvenile stars of the season. Weld has chosen this seven furlong maiden for some of best 2.y.o’s in the past when his winners included the likes of Grey Swallow and Zagreb and although Riviera Poet was a market drifter he turned over the odds on Aidan O’Brien trained favourite Learn in impressive fashion. Partnered by Pat Smullen Riviera Poet raced just off the pace early on but improved to throw down the gauntlet to Learn a furlong out before asserting to win going away by a length from the favourite. Time will tell but this could prove to be one of the best juvenile races of the season as both the first pair are well regarded and the fact that they put thirteen lengths between themselves and the third placed Shukhov speaks volumes. Weld told me that he will now step his charge up to Pattern level and his long term objective will be the Group1 National Stakes.
Tommy Stack kept the premier county punters happy by taking the 50-75 handicap over seven furlongs courtesy of Good Shot Noreen. Nicely supported the daughter of Sleeping Indian was never out of the leading group, she took over with a couple of furlongs to race and although tiring close home held on by half a length from Lake George. Owned by Eimear Mulhern who is the daughter of the late Charlie Haughey Good Shot Noreen has been running well without troubling the judge, she will be kept on the go with a similar type contest as a target.
Tom Mullins took the first big prize of the meeting when Fosters Cross under a positive ride from Colin Motherway landed the two mile amateur handicap. A decent horse over hurdles and fences the Dr Massini gelding led after a couple of furlongs and defied all comers to catch him. He had everything in trouble coming down the hill into the dip and kept pulling out enough to defeat Jim Culloty’s runner Cry For The Moon by four lengths. Owned by Pat O’Donovan who is a long standing patron of the Mullins stable the winner carried the same colours as Vintage Tipple which landed the Irish Oaks back in 2003 when trained by the late Paddy Mullins.
Dermot Weld struck with a vengeance the second day recording a three timer which began with Rainforest Magic in the 55-80 handicap over two miles. The Montjeu gelding led before the straight under Pat Smullen and easily accounted for Striking Force by four and a half lengths. The trainer and jockey were back in the winners circle again just half an hour later this time Stunning View was the provider when he took the extended mile handicap after swooping late while Catch The Eye completed the three timer with an easy victory in the concluding seven furlong maiden.
Willie Mullins has won virtually everything worth winning as a trainer but the one race that was missing from his CV was the Galway Plate and he put things right by saddling Blazing Tempo to capture the spoils on Wednesday under a great ride from Paul Townend who was returning from injury. The Accordion mare went to post a heavily backed favourite, she raced in the rear of mid division for the first circuit but made eye catching progress to be in contention off the home turn. At this point the JP McManus owned Wise Old Owl held the advantage but Townend was getting a fine tune out of Blazing Tempo and the combination asserted inside the final 100 yards to record a stunning victory. The Kerry National at Listowel is next on the list for the winner and the Hennessy Gold Cup in November is also a possibility.
All the ballyhoo about the Edward O’Grady trained The Real Article’s run at Tipperary came to nothing in the Galway Hurdle as the Definite Article gelding could finish no nearer than fourth after starting favourite. Racing on the outside The Real Article was keen early on but gradually settled into a rhythm for Paddy Mangan, he was being niggled along after three out and failed to pull out enough to trouble the leaders. Victory went to the 20/1 chance Moon Dice which found most from the last to defeat the gallant Fosters Cross under a cracking ride from Tom Doyle. Owned by a seven member syndicate from Co Kilkenny the son of Norwich landed some nice wagers at all kinds of fancy prices and the post race celebrations were long and noisy