Galway report: Hint Of A Tint bounces back

David Wachman-trained filly belies sliding handicap rating to claim Topaz Mile

Hint Of A Tint’s sliding handicap rating suggested a career on the wane, a suggestion the David Wachman-trained filly rebuffed in some style with a Topaz Mile victory on Day Two of Galway.

Carrying the colours of JP McManus’s daughter, Sun-Ann Foley, Hint Of A Tint recorded a first victory since her 2012 debut in what was a second crack at one of the most prestigious handicaps of the season.

Sixth to Vastonea off a mark of 100 in 2014, four subsequently uninspiring efforts last year saw her make her first start of 2015 in the €120,000 feature off a rating of 86.

That Hint Of A Tint might be ready to put in a display more in keeping with a Group Three runner-up effort in a 2013 Guineas Trial was hinted at in steady market support that saw her start a 6-1 shot and although having only half a length in hand of the English raider Baraweez, and the unlucky in running Unsinkable, she always looked in command.


That handicap slide meant Fran Berry was unable to make the weight and Wayne Lordan successfully stepped in.

Little puff

“Coming to the line she had a little puff which she was entitled to on her first run of the season,” Lordan said after patiently creeping into the race following Hint Of A Tint’s slow start.

It was a first win in the traditional highlight for the McManus team and for Wachman who explained: “It’s been the plan since the beginning of the year. She’s best fresh. She was a good two year old and three year old but lost her way a bit last year. We took a chance and it’s great it has come off. Normally they don’t!”

Colin Keane had a frustrating spin on Unsinkable and afterwards the jockey got a one day suspension for careless riding in an incident in the dip. Baraweez's rider, Donnacha O'Brien, got three days for a separate incident in the dip.

Powerhouse operations

Galway’s juvenile fillies maiden threw up Wachman’s subsequent 1,000 Guineas heroine Legatissimo in 2014 and it’s easy to imagine how short something from one of the powerhouse operations would be in betting for next year’s classics if they were to emulate the style of Now Or Never’s sparkling all-the-way victory in the same race this time.

The £42,000 purchase is instead trained for a partnership by the 26-year-old Curragh-based Michael O’Callaghan who has held a licence for just three years but who has already caught the attention of bloodstock behemoths such as Qatar Racing.

There’s unlikely to be a shortage of chequebook interest in Now Or Never after she managed to win by a wide-margin while still giving the impression the best is yet to come.

“She appreciated a little dig in the ground but that isn’t a surprise to us. Normally I miss putting them in early closing races but she’s in the Moyglare and the Debutante Stakes. Anything she does this year though will be a bonus. She’s very nice. She jumped sweet, travelled very well and was plenty green, looking at the stands. Winning at seven furlongs in Galway means a mile should be no problem to her but she has the pace for six,” the Kerry-born trainer said of this close relation to the multiple-Group One winner Dream Ahead.

The Willie Mullins-Ruby Walsh team again picked up the opening hurdle with an impressive prospect, this time the 1-2 shot, Long Dog, who overcame a bad jump at the second last to win by 10 lengths.

Co Meath trainer Matthew Smith saddled his first ever Galway Festival winner when Empresario made all the running to land the Beginners Chase while another Meath handler, Sheila Lavery, had a second winner of the week with Ibergman.

Brian O'Connor

Brian O'Connor

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