Galway Races: Pyromaniac can remain centre stage in feature

Tony Martin runner takes controversial path to festival feature after High Court ruling

Those among the vast Ladies Day festival crowd who back Pyromaniac to win the Guinness Galway Hurdle will mostly be either unaware or unperturbed about how his presence

in Ireland’s richest jumps race is effectively a slap in the face to Turf Club authority.

But there’s no escaping the stark reality of how a horse, who had been technically ruled out of the €300,000 Galway festival highlight through a 42-day suspension from racing’s integrity service, will still line up in the big race with a big chance.

Monday's High Court decision to grant a stay on that suspension, pending a judicial review likely to be held later this year, means Pyromaniac is a leading contender for a marquee event which could see Tony Martin becoming the first trainer in almost 70 years to win the Galway Hurdle three seasons running.


Stable companions

Should the Newtown Anner Stud-owned horse follow in the footsteps of his stable companions –

Thomas Edison

(2014) and Quick Jack last year – then the connections of the runner-up will be entitled to ponder what might have been.

That is perhaps unless Martin himself finishes runner-up too. He does after all send the defending champion Quick Jack into the fray, as well as last year's third Ted Veale, who ran a fine race in Monday's amateur highlight.

That indicated a return to form for a stable which had been notably out of sorts for weeks before Pyromaniac appeared in that hugely-analysed amateur riders race at Killarney. The subsequent state of Pyromaniac’s teeth, and complicated manoeuvrings through both racing’s appeal process and Monday’s successful High Court application, have deflected from what in the circumstances looked a promising run by a horse who looks potentially well treated.

Denis O’Regan rode Quick Jack to victory last year but now is on Pyromaniac, a course winner on the flat.

Sole British raider Superb Story has dominated ante-post betting and Dan Skelton’s runner boasts obvious claims to become the first cross-channel trained winner of the Galway Hurdle since Overturn in 2010.

Superb Story is 7lbs higher in the ratings for his County Hurdle success at Cheltenham in March, after which Skelton wasted no time outlining a summer plan for Galway.

Willie Mullins can call on the Royal Ascot winner Clondaw Warrior while Edward Harty's Moon Over Germany is another that can play a major role. However Pyromaniac has been firmly centre-stage on the run-in to the Galway festival centrepiece and it could be worth betting he remains there around 5pm.

The Listed Corrib Stakes is the main support event and Planchart can continue Andy Slattery's excellent recent run on the flat, following success with Creggs Pipes in Tuesday's big mile handicap. Planchart is dropped in trip from her last start when not beaten far at Naas.

Camlann, with Pat Smullen on board, can triumph in the mile and a half handicap.

Brian O'Connor

Brian O'Connor

Brian O'Connor is the racing correspondent of The Irish Times. He also writes the Tipping Point column