Trouble-free JP serves up winner on the Plate

They must be doing something right in the west

They must be doing something right in the west. As the meeting moves into its fourth day, delegations from two top English racecourses are in Ballybrit this week to learn from the phenomenon that is the Galway races.

They have come from Ascot and Cheltenham to study the Irish "Sport of Kings", with the chief executives from both courses in the city as guests of the Galway committee and the Irish racing authority, Horse Racing Ireland. Heads could easily be turned as a result of such exalted attention, but there is too much work to be done to get overexcited. It's Ladies Day today and almost 50,000 are expected to attend the afternoon meeting.

Yesterday's big race, the William Hill Galway Plate, was won by the JP McManus-owned Far from Trouble, a horse backed by most of the politicians at the track for obvious reasons.

JP is no stranger to winning but it was a special day for substitute jockey Roger Loughran, who stepped into the breach when the Limerick millionaire's first choice jockey, Tony McCoy, was unseated in the second race and had to go to hospital with an injured wrist.


Roger, who shot to fame for all the wrong reasons earlier in the year when he mistakenly commenced celebrations on his mount Central House before it reached the Leopardstown winning post, was a popular winner yesterday.

Meanwhile, away from the racing, the Fianna Fáil tent did a brisk business, with 520 guests paying €400 a head for the pleasure of socialising in the company of Taoiseach Bertie Ahern and a few of his Ministers. Galway Races stalwart and tribunal veteran Michael Bailey was there as always, although he seemed a little more subdued than usual.

Businessman Denis O'Brien arrived by helicopter with PJ Mara, while Páidí Ó Sé and golfer Christy O'Connor Jnr were among the guests who enjoyed themselves in the tent.

Taoiseach Bertie Ahern entertained a princess from Bahrain at his table, before getting into an intense discussion with Co Clare-born English champion jockey Kieren Fallon, who is currently banned from riding across the water pending investigations into allegations of race fixing.