Colin Keane lands another big Galway pot as Saltonstall takes feature
Jockey enjoys double to extend championship lead on horse bought for €44k
Colin Keane on Saltonstall (red and black silks) goes clear to win the Colm Quinn BMW Mile Handicap on day two of the Galway festival at Ballybrit. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho
Galway’s day two feature race kick-started Colin Keane’s career six years ago and the season’s leading jockey won it again on Tuesday evening as Saltonstall emerged victorious.
The Ado McGuinness-trained horse was a 9-1 winner of the €120,000 Colm Quinn BMW Mile, pouncing late under Keane to beat Innamorare with Quizical in third.
In 2013 Keane highlighted his potential by landing the big festival handicap on Brendan Brackan.
Now the 24-year-old is a Group One-winning rider engaged in a battle with Donnacha O’Brien to regain the jockey’s title he won for the first time in 2017.
“It’s been a while since we did it with Brendan Bracken so it’s nice to get the pot again,” Keane said.
Saltonstall was the highlight of a Keane double on Tuesday which gives him a seven-winner lead (63-56) over O’Brien who’d earlier struck on the card with Petite Mustique.
In the big race Keane defied a wide draw on the ex-Godolphin horse who was bought out of Michael Halford’s yard last November for €44,000.
“Stevie [Thorne], my assistant, is brilliant at picking out these horses and picked him out at Goffs. He’d had a few problems, bled a few times, but he said he was a horse we could take a chance on,” said McGuinness, who is based in Lusk in Co Dublin.
The Dooleys & O’Sullivan Partnership (owners) agreed to target Galway and McGuinness added: “Sometimes these plans don’t work out – this one did!”
Considering how rough the race can be Saltonstall enjoyed a dream run despite his wide draw.
“He actually won snug enough in the end. I got a great run around, followed Leigh Roche the whole way and he brought me to the top of the hill. When I gave him a squeeze he went away,” Keane reported.
“He’s been promising to do it for a while and on his last Curragh run he looked like a lad who was coming back to himself,” he added.
Earlier Keane’s sure touch around Ballybrit helped the hitherto frustrating Rita Levi – six times a beaten favourite – finally break her duck at an 11th attempt. The Kodiac filly had a neck in hand of Mudlahhim at the line.
“Colin is unreal around these tracks, so strong and is the last man ever to go for his stick,” praised Shane Lyons, representing his brother, Ger.
“Colin was brilliant but you need to have a horse underneath you. To be fair to the filly she looked brilliant and has taken her racing really well,” he added.
Considering the juvenile fillies maiden’s illustrious roll of honour in recent years, Donnacha O’Brien’s effusive praise of the 3-1 winner Petite Mustique could be significant.
The €1.1 million purchase made all on her third career start to land a prize won by her dual-Guineas winning stable companion Hermosa a year ago.
“I was very impressed. Things went really smoothly but I loved the way she picked up in the last two furlongs. I’d say she’s very smart,” the winning jockey said.
At one point Keane looked like stretching his championship lead even further when Sharp Focus ranged up in another handicap. However, he had to settle for third behind the 7-1 winner One Cool Poet.
The most thrilling finish of the day came in the concluding handicap as the 10-1 shot Make A Challenge just held by a nose the fast-finishing favourite Beckwith Place who’d been last in the dip.
It was a timely winner for jockey Joe Doyle who hadn’t race-ridden in almost 18 months up to last week but is working for Tipperary trainer Denis Hogan.
Earlier trainer Emmet Mullins and owner Annette Mee combined for a second winner of the week when Zero Ten justified 1-2 odds on his debut over fences.
Previously a course winner over flights and in a bumper, Zero Ten’s jumping was less than fluent at times but the trainer’s cousin David Mullins didn’t have to get overly serious in the closing stages.
“David said he was just a bit deliberate at his jumps and wasted an awful lot of energy in the air. He was putting an awful lot of emphasis on his jumps,” said Emmet Mullins, who had saddled Russian Diamond to win Monday’s bumper.
– Despite fine weather conditions, Galway’s crowd on Tuesday of 14,596 dipped by 636 from the corresponding fixture a year ago.
Tote turnover dropped significantly to €556,721 from 2018’s figure of €776,109.
However on-course bookmaker betting rallied slightly to €864,108 from last year’s €854,972. It included €152,884 bet on the featured BMW Mile.