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Galway Festival: Current Option wins feature for record third time

Sun 31 Jul 2022

Current Option continued his love affair with Galway by registering a remarkable third victory in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF “Ahonoora” Handicap.

Successful in the €110,000 feature in each of the past two seasons, the Ado McGuinness-trained six-year-old was an 11-2 chance to make it a hat-trick after finishing fourth in Tuesday’s BMW Mile.

Partnered by 5lb claimer Cian MacRedmond, who was also on board 12 months ago, Current Option could be spotted travelling strongly into contention as the field rounded the home bend.

Watch how the Ado McGuinness-trained six-year-old landed the “Ahonoora” Handicap for the third year in succession plus all the post-race reaction.

British raider On A Session held a narrow advantage once straightened up, but he was unable to resist the McGuinness runner, who finished strongly to score by a length and a quarter.

McGuinness said: “I might never get a horse like him again. He’s been fabulous to have and the lads (owners) are great supporters.

“He’s a Group Three winner, a Listed winner, won a list of Premier Handicaps and taken us everywhere. He just loves this place and was unlucky the other night.

“He’s just down to a very nice mark and we’ll probably try for the big handicap in Leopardstown. He’s won that before as well.

“Some of my horses were a bit out of form in June, but they have come back and we always primed this fellow for here. We give him the same routine each year and try to prepare him for here. It works.”

Politesse mowed down last year’s winner Battleoverdoyen to secure top honours in the Eileen Kelly Memorial Chase.

Having finished fifth in the Galway Plate on Wednesday, Battleoverdoyen was the 11-10 favourite to register back-to-back wins in this €25,000 contest.

Gordon Elliott’s charge looked sure to prevail after going clear from the home turn, but tired racing up the hill and 9-4 shot Politesse got up to beat him by a length and a quarter under Conor Orr.

“It’s taken so long to get her back after an injury in Cork and she loves good ground, she really bounces off it,” said winning trainer Lorna Fowler.

“I was so disappointed when the rain came but when I walked the track I was really happy with it. She was so tough, I’m really proud of her. Conor and her make a great partnership.

“It’s limited what she can go for so we may give her a break and try to get some black type early autumn. She’s not a winter girl.”

Teed Up justified 4-6 favouritism in the opening Adare Manor Opportunity Handicap Hurdle.

Beaten half a length into second place at the track on Friday, the Emmet Mullins-trained five-year-old comfortably went one better in the hands of Conor Clarke.

Mullins said: “It’s a great day for Conor who joined me earlier in the year. That’s the second winner he’s had for me and hopefully things will start getting into gear for him soon. A winner at the Galway Festival is great for any young jockey.

“He was 4lb out of the handicap on Friday so he had 4lb less here. He’s a horse that loves the track.

“He’ll be kept on the go and will possibly mix it back on the Flat.”

Nathaniel’s Dream was a 12-1 winner of the Kenny Galway Handicap Hurdle for Tony Martin and Sean O’Keeffe, while Elliott’s Vado Forte (16-1) and landed the Lord Hemphill Memorial Handicap Chase – providing jockey Jack Kennedy with his first winner of the week.

“It’s been a long, tough week, but it’s nice to get that now,” said Kennedy.

“I was hoping he’d run well, but wasn’t expecting him to do that. The day in Limerick when he won we let him on early and he stayed galloping so we did something similar here and it worked.

“He’s really dug deep. He stuck his head down and galloped all the way to the line.”

Willie Mullins ended the week with a winner when the Patrick Mullins-ridden No Risk No Fun led a stable one-two in the Fr. Breen Memorial (Pro/Am) INH Flat Race, the even-money favourite beating Spread Boss Ted by two and three-quarter lengths.

Mullins said: “He’s a nice horse and could be a graded horse. He does it nicely on the racetrack.

“The second horse stayed with him all the way up the straight. The winner just had too many gears for him, but the second looks a real chaser in the making.

“The winner looks a hurdler rather than a chaser. We’ll look at whether we go for a third bumper or give him a little break and then go hurdling."

He added: “It’s been a fantastic week. All my neighbours had plenty of winners as well as ourselves. Emmet and the Shark (John Hanlon) had a good week and there was a great spread of winners throughout the week.

“The win of Echoes In Rain in the Connacht Hotel Amateur Handicap (on Monday night) would have to be the highlight and it was a race that Patrick long wanted to win.

“It’s great that the crowds are back and the craic and atmosphere is back in Galway.”

Mullins also had news of Paul Townend, who picked up an injury when unseated from Agusta Gold in the race won by Politesse.

He said: “It looks like he might have dislocated his thumb. He’s going to get it X-rayed and scanned on Tuesday morning. We are just holding our breath that he’ll recover quickly and it might be just badly bruised.”

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