Baraweez leads home British clean sweep at Galway
Colm O’Donoghue defies wide draw to bring home 4 to 1 join favourite
Baraweez and Colm O’Donoghue go on to win the Irish Stallion Farms EBF “Ahanoora” Handicap on the final day of the Galway Festival at Ballybrit. Photograph: PA
Brian Ellison vowed to return to Galway after Baraweez and Pacific Heights gave him a one-three in the €100,000 Irish Stallion Farms EBF “Ahonoora” Handicap on the final day of the Festival.
It was a clean sweep for the British raiders as George Baker’s Jack’s Revenge split the Ellison duo.
The first two had run with credit in the Topaz Mile earlier in the week with Baraweez third and Jack’s Revenge fifth and the four-year-old confirmed his superiority.
Baraweez had been disqualified from a decent race at Newcastle before his Galway exertions but the connections of the former Freddy Head-trained gelding will not be worried about that now.
He defied a wide draw for Colm O’Donoghue and the 4 to 1 joint-favourite won by half a length.
Ellison said: “It was always the plan to run in the two races as long as he acted on the track. We had him out the other day and he dropped the lad, he was bucking and kicking so we knew he was well.
“We’ve had a great week here and have been looked after very well. It’s a great place and hopefully we’ll have runners here again. I think we’ll be looking at the Cambridgeshire for both of them.”
Having his eighth start over the larger obstacles, the seven-year-old was good enough to win a County Hurdle at Cheltenham the year before last.
In fairness, he had been campaigned at a high level and his confidence appeared to have taken a knock when he fell in the Arkle back at Cheltenham in March.
Barry Geraghty was hard at work in the straight as Clonbanan Lad proved tough to catch but he eventually prevailed by a length and a quarter.
“He wasn’t loving the ground but he’s only done what he was entitled to on his winter form,” said Martin.
“He jumped well apart from getting a little close to the second last and that may have been a blessing as it gave him something to shoot at.
“He’s got plenty of options between novices chases, the Flat and hurdles.”
Later in the Trappers Inn Handicap Fran Berry guided Martin’s Pyromaniac (5 to 2 favourite) to victory.
“He’s had a run over hurdles and he’ll probably mix it between the two,” said Martin.
Robbie Power rode his third winner of the Festival when Blossom Gate ran out a ready victor in the Vision Express Handicap Hurdle.
Power’s previous two winners were provided by Aidan O’Brien but this time he was legged up by Yvonne Latta, who was celebrating just her second ever winner.
“Robbie gave her plenty of daylight at her hurdles and she was always travelling well. She’s as tough as old boots and stays well,” said Latta.
Ballybrit regular Foster Cross, making his 13th appearance at the course, was a popular winner of the Lord Hemphill Memorial Handicap Chase.
The veteran had run respectably for Tom Mullins on the Flat earlier in the week but it appeared the 12-year-old’s best days were behind him.
Davy Russell poached an advantage coming into the straight and while Martin and Shane Shortall have enjoyed a great week, this time they had to settle for second with Pires, beaten half a length.
“You can never get him fit enough at home and it always takes a couple of runs to get him right,” said Mullins.
“I have to take my hat off to Davy Russell. He probably knows the horse even better than I do and I’d have to say that was one of the best rides that one of mine ever got.
“If he doesn’t get off in front, it’s not that he downs tools but he’s not happy. Davy kept him wide and kept him interested.
“There’s no point talking about the future as he’s a 12-year-old. Hopefully that’s not his swansong but if it is it’s a good one.”
Dermot Weld ended the Festival in familiar style with his ninth winner of the week when his Windsor Park won the final event, the Fr Breen Memorial.
He looks another promising type with Robbie McNamara not having to move a muscle on the 2 to 9 favourite.
“It’s nice to get a winner although it was a bit disappointing not to ride one during the week as I had a few fancied ones,” said McNamara.