Weld turns to Mangan for Music
THE 18-year-old amateur jockey Jane Mangan created a plethora of “firsts” in the Day One Galway festival feature, the most important of which was guiding Midnight Music to a landmark success.
It was a first ever victory for a female rider in the Carlton Hotel QR Handicap, possibly the most coveted prize for amateur jockeys in the country and one which proved elusive over the years for many legendary names, even Ted Walsh.
But Mangan, daughter of Grand National-winning trainer Jimmy, and who finished her Leaving Cert just a couple of months ago, was having her first Galway festival ride and a first spin for the Galway King, Dermot Weld, whose decision to employ the teenager’s 7lb claim on Midnight Music proved inspired.
Weld himself famously won the race as a 15-year-old on Ticonderoga and his willingness to place faith in youth paid off in style as Mangan put up a hugely polished display on the 11 to 1 winner.
It proved the centrepiece of a brilliant 155 to 1 hat-trick on the card for Weld but it’s Mangan who’s likely to get the most mileage out of the latest family success-story at Galway.
“My Dad won the Plate with Stroll Home in 1997 and we’ve watched the video so many times at home. I’m sure we’ll watch this one too,” beamed the jockey who was riding just her eighth ever winner on a racecourse and who currently rides out at Aidan O’Brien’s Ballydoyle yard.
“I was thrilled when Mr Weld’s office rang to ask me to ride. His horses are flying. He really could win with a donkey around here.
“My one worry was whether she’d stay the two miles but I was travelling so well in the dip and when I shook the reins the response was immediate. I lost my whip a furlong out and she was still going on at the end,” Mangan reported. Jimmy Mangan was at home in Co Cork and his daughter joked: “I think we’ll leave him at home from now on. I seem to ride winners when he’s there!”
Weld’s enjoyment of Galway is famous but his tactical appreciation of what his jockeys do is deadly serious and the legendary trainer was hugely impressed by Mangan’s performance. “She rode that horse to perfection. I can’t speak highly enough. She’s a 7lb claimer and rode like a professional,” he said.
Weld’s usual amateur pilot Robbie McNamara rode Scots Gaelic in the race and the trainer explained his reasoning behind plumping for the new rider.
“Robbie would have struggled to do the weight and this is a small filly so I decided to use the 7lb claim,” he said. “And you can see why, when she rides like that.”
The well-backed favourite Clarach shaped like a winner on the turn into the straight but was swamped by the winner and lost second to the 16 to 1 outsider Cry For The Moon in the closing stages.
Mangan though was oblivious to what was going on behind her, a feeling common among jockeys riding for Weld. “Coming here to ride a Weld horse you have to be confident,” she said. Clearly the feeling is reciprocal.
An impressive crowd of 17,710 attended day one yesterday – an increase of 140 on last year – after an earlier than normal start time of 4pm.
There was also an upswing in bookmaker turnover with a tally of €1,412,596 up €102,670 on 2011.
Tote turnover was down though, from last year’s €663,167 to yesterday evening’s €599,047.