Galway Festival: Mullins Ends Stellar Week with Ten Winners

Published 2023/08/10

Galway Festival: Mullins Ends Stellar Week with Ten Winners

Top Irish trainer ended another excellent week at the annual Galway Festival by rattling home a short-priced double on the final day.

Saint Sam was the standout performer, recording his fourth win over fences with a hugely impressive performance in the Eileen Kelly Memorial Chase.

The six-year-old raced into an early lead under jockey Paul Townend and never looked like being caught as he came home 13 lengths ahead of Born By The Sea.

Mullins said: “That was a huge performance from him over that trip the way he did it. Paul never got a chance to settle him, he just galloped and jumped the two-mile-and-six.

“I thought that was way better than anything he has shown. He’s given himself a very hard race, but it’s the way he likes to race.

“I think we’ll be looking at conditions races for him, but the Kerry National is worth a lot of money. We’ll think about it and he may be entered for it.

The well-backed 4/7 favourite was Mullins’ ninth winner of the week and he made it double figures in the final race of the meeting.

His You Oughta Know recorded his second career victory, staying on well under pressure to win the Fr. Breen Memorial (Pro/Am) INH Flat Race.

The five-year-old’s success dealt another blow to online bookmakers on a day where several fancied runners emerged victorious.

The top horse racing betting sites were running for cover in the opening Adare Manor Opportunity Handicap Hurdle as Teed Up made his third appearance at this year’s festival.

Trainer Emmet Mullins saddled the horse to win on the flat on Monday evening before the horse was beaten a head over 12 furlongs on Friday.

Teed Up reverted to obstacles on Sunday and overcame a couple of mistakes to claim a stylish three-and-a-half-length success.

Long-priced winners either side of Saint Sam’s success threatened to spoil the day for punters, but they hit back in style in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF ‘Ahonoora’ Handicap.

Dunum was made the 10/3 favourite to win the race after running well to finish third in the Colm Quinn BMW Mile on Tuesday.

Jockey Billy Lee looked confident throughout the seven furlong event to come home two lengths in front of the Joseph O’Brien-trained Snapraeterea.

Stromberg was another winner for favourite backers in the Kinlay Hostel Irish EBF Auction Series Maiden, romping home 10 lengths clear of the field.

He was jockey Dylan Browne McMonagle’s fifth winner of the week – a tally which made him the top flat rider at the festival.

Malbay Madness delivered another hammer blow to the bookmakers to win the Ireland West Airport Knock Handicap over one mile.

The 6/5 favourite briefly looked in trouble in the home straight, but produced a storming late run under jockey Colin Keane to overhaul Emorcee.

With Willie Mullins winning the concluding bumper, punters undoubtedly had the upper hand at the end of a packed week of top-class action.

The Closutton handler provided them with another big payout on Thursday as his Zarak The Brave produced a gritty performance to win the historic Guinness Galway Hurdle.

The four-year-old was a smart juvenile last season, ending the campaign with a fine third place finish behind stablemate Gala Marceau in Grade 1 at Auteuil.

The 9/2 shot overcame inexperience to claim victory in the Galway Hurdle to deny Noel Meade’s Jesse Evans, with My Mate Mozzie just behind in third.

Mullins was winning the race for the fifth time since 2016 – a record which highlights why he is generally a man to follow in big races.

“Only one four-year-old that I’m aware of (Perugino Diamond in 2000) has won the race before and it says something about how tough the horse is,” Mullins said.

“Paul was fantastic on him and had him out in the right position the whole way around.

“There was no point in winning another small winners’ race with him so you look at iconic races like this when you have horses like this.

“I wasn’t too far away from Noel Meade in the stand and thought my horse was beaten so it is tough on Noel whose horse was second last year and fourth in 2021.

“Paul thought he was beaten but when he changed his whip and hit him one little smack the horse got down and galloped again. That just shows how brave he is.”

Zarak The Brave will be campaigned at graded level this season, with Mullins considering a tilt at the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham next March.