Great days at Galway Festival once again


Edward Brady

WELL, it was great to see the Galway Festival back with a crowd there to watch and enjoy it as they did before the pandemic stopped people getting into the racetrack in 2020. In 2021, 1000 punters were allowed in, but this year the Galway Festival Executives were expecting 130,000 to come through the turnstiles to enjoy great racing and good craic.

On the first day of the festival, Mrs John Harrington had three winners with Pivotal Trigger, Dairerin and Irish Lullaby. It was a great day for her so well done! Congratulations to Patrick Mullins too who finally won the Connacht Hotel QR Handicap on Echoes In The Rain. With 23 Grade wins on his CV, the biggest amateur race in the Irish calendar was one of the few big prizes that had eluded him. At the 16th attempt he joined his father, Willie Mullins, on the roll of honour of Galway’s opening day highlights.

On Tuesday night, a horse called Dunum finished first in the 7.50 race, to win his fourth race in a row. Dunum is trained by lesser-known trainer Miss Natalia Lupini and was ridden by Wayne Lordan. What a feat this win was. He won by a big handicap at the Curragh recently to secure a hat-trick of wins. He was put up 17lbs for winning that race, but it didn’t stop him winning one of the big handicaps at Galway. So, well done to Dunum. I wonder how much the
handicapper will put him up by now!

Credit must go to the Kerry trainer Shark Hanlon too, whose horse, Hewick, ridden by Jordan Gainford, won the Tote Galway Plate at 16/1. Bought at the Gorebridge Sales for €850 as a two-year-old, Hewick (above) had already claimed a famous success under Gainford in the Bet365 Gold Cup at Sandown in April. At 11st 7lbs, his triumph was the most impressive weight carrying performance in the €270,000 feature since Galway legend Ansar shouldered 11st 11lbs in 2005.

The Guinness Galway Hurdle on the Thursday was won by Tudor City, trained by AJ Martin and ridden by Liam McKenna, who claims 7lbs. This was his first ride of the season and the second time that Tudor City has won this race, having triumphed three years ago. He was a 22/1 winner in this race, which was worth €159,000. So, it was a great day for both trainer and owner John Breslin, who has had some good winners with Tony Martin in the past. So, well done to them!

Willie Mullins’ well-backed White Path won the last race on the Thursday as a 5/2 favourite. Mrs John Harrington had another winner on Friday to give her five winners in the past week so congratulations to her once again. Monasterevin trainer Noel Quinlan continued his fine form as Sit Down Lucy gave him his fourth winner of the week. Rachael Blackmore, meanwhile got off the mark by winning the Guinness Galway Blazers Handicap Chase on Gabbys Cross, trained by Henry De Bromhead.