Thomas Edison the leading light in Galway Hurdle
Owner JP McManus enjoys long-awaited first success in Galway Hurdle with hot favourite at Ballybrit
Hasanour ridden by Shane Foley wins The Guinness Time Handicap on day four of the Galway Festival. Photograph: should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire
Tony McCoy onboard Thomas Edison on his way to winning The Guinness Galway Hurdle. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho
Thomas Edison delivered on his big-race potential with a superb Guinness Galway Hurdle success that finally vindicated the faith of his trainer Tony Martin and secured owner JP McManus a first ever victory in the €250,000 festival feature.
The heavily-supported 7-2 winner had bookmakers scurrying for cover as a massive 34,077 ‘Ladies Day’ crowd watched Thomas Edison beat his market rival Bayan by three lengths with The Game Changer in third. Bayan’s second meant the Gordon Elliott-Davy Condon team finished Galway Hurdle runners-up for the third year in a row.
Thomas Edison had struggled home only eleventh in the 2013 Galway Hurdle and maybe the torrent of support in the betting ring might have dwindled significantly if punters had heard Tony McCoy beforehand.
“In my heart of hearts I found it hard to fancy him. But the trainer knew better than any of us,” the legendary champion jockey said while McManus deflected praise for his patience by adding: “It’s not my patience, but Tony Martin’s.”
Anyone thinking McManus originally purchased the horse due to admiration of the original Thomas Edison’s business acumen might be better looking back to the Christmas of 2011 when the equine Edison beat no less than Champagne Fever in a bumper. The following summer he won his first race over jumps for his new owner - and then waited until yesterday to win the second.
“I’ve always had faith in this horse. He’d been his own worst enemy, acting the eejit and running too free. But he’s learned to settle and I’ve always thought he could win a race like this,” said Martin, a big race victor here on Monday with Quick Jack, but who was also winning Ireland’s most valuable hurdle race for the first time.
If Thomas Edison had been hitting the bar over hurdles, McCoy felt a couple of wins this summer on the flat were crucial in transforming him at just the right time yesterday.
“I think they must’ve helped his confidence. Winning is a great habit to get into and today was certainly a good day to be in the winning habit,” said McCoy who won the 1997 Galway Hurdle on Aidan O’Brien’s Toast The Spreece. “I couldn’t see a lot of what I was jumping in the big field but the horse was very professional.”
Even a brief bumping match with Bayan in the dip couldn’t get Thomas Edison off-script yesterday as he cruised through from off the pace to give an elusive big Hurdle victory to McManus thirty five years after he secured the first of six Plate successes.
“This race was on my to-do list so it’s great to have it,” admitted the owner, something Gordon Elliott can probably identify with after an unwanted hat-trick of seconds. “It’s unfortunate but he ran well. There’s a flat race at Leopardstown in six weeks he might run in next,” he said.
Johnny Murtagh enjoyed plentiful success as a jockey at Galway and he secured a first win as a trainer around Ballybrit in some style as Dalkova made all the running in the Listed Corrib Stakes to beat the odds-on favourite Tested.
“I fancied her, even with the favourite in the race. She has kept improving and we can think about upping her to a Group 3 now over Champions weekend. She reminds me a bit of the filly Belle de Crecy in how she’s improved, although seven furlongs to a mile is her trip,” the legendary former rider said.
Desertmore Stream is another horse starting to deliver on early potential and despite some sketchy jumping he was able to pounce on Icy Reply’s late drift left to land the novice hurdle for Philip Fenton.