A grade one winner over both hurdles and fences, Blackstairmountain could have his biggest day ahead of him yet after Willie Mullins’ seven-year-old warmed up for a crack at the www.Tote.com Galway Plate with an easy win on the Flat at Bellewstown on Friday evening.
Contesting the Meath Farm Machinery Race for Qualified Riders, the seven-year-old was sent off the 4/9 favourite to oblige and he did so with an emphatic ten lengths success.
“He is just a class above.” said winning jockey Patrick Mullins. “When he stays on the bridle, he runs well on that ground. It’s soft ground out there for jumps horses. He is a very consistent horse. He goes for the Galway Plate now and this was his prep run. The Galway Plate has been a lucky race for the owners, who won it last year with Blazing Tempo, and he will take a bit of beating there.”
Blackstairmountain, who could well be second in the weights behind Captain Cee Bee should both take their chance at Ballybrit on August 1. Incidentally, Blackstairmountain was a winner at the 2009 Galway festival when winning the 1m4f maiden for qualified riders.
Another horse Galway bound could very well be Clarach after the Tony Mullins-trained mare completed a hat-trick in the Adare Festival Weekend Rated Hurdle at Limerick on Sunday.
Given a confident ride from Danny Mullins, the seven-year-old jumped fluently on route to a comfortable two lengths win to add to her recent wins at Sligo and Tramore. And the Galway Hurdle could now be on the agenda for Clarach.
“Since she won at Galway last year, we’ve had nothing else on our mind other than going back there for the Galway Hurdle this year. I hope the handicapper won’t be too hard on her for that. She is a very honest mare who finds plenty without being asked too much. I’m really looking forward to Galway and she loves fast ground. All my life I have been waiting to train one for the Galway Hurdle and we are all set now. With her handicap mark and the experience she has, I think she must have a great chance. I may also run her in the amateur race on the Monday there but we will see about that.” said winning trainer Tony Mullins.
The Supreme Racing Club have been enjoying a superb run this year and they notched up another winner when Weatherbys Champion Bumper third Pique Sous warmed up for possibly one of the top novice hurdle contests at the Galway festival with a facile win in the concluding bumper at Bellewstown on Saturday.
The grey gelding never came off the bridle under Patrick Mullins and looks a potential top prospect over hurdles. “He did exactly what we thought he would do. His class got him through as he is really a good ground horse. He has got loads of speed and he is probably a Supreme Novices’ horse. The sky’s the limit for him and he’s very exciting.” said Patrick Mullins on Pique Sous, who is available at 25/1 for next year’s Supreme Novices’ Hurdle.
Another weekend winner likely to head for one of the novice hurdles at the Galway festival is Thomas Edison, who made it third time lucky when winning the Buck Mooneys Maiden Hurdle earlier on the same card Bellewstown. Never out of second gear, JP McManus’ big money purchase never gave Mark Walsh any worries as he came home on his own to register a nine and a half lengths triumph.
“He is a nice horse and we will tip away with him and feel our way with him. We wanted to get today out of the way. He is a horse that would like nice ground and we will keep things intact with him.” reported Tony Martin afterwards.
And on the subject of Galway, the feature race at Limerick on Sunday was the www.tote.com Galway Plate Trial Handicap Chase and this went the way of another Tony Martin trained runner in Vixtrix Gale, who completed a hat-trick in fine style under Paul Townend.
The winning jockey produced this half-sister to Troytown Chase winner Takagi to lead at the penultimate fence and despite a sticky jump at the last fence, she had plenty in the tank to beat Jamsie Hall by a comfortable two and a half lengths.
“It’s great for the lads involved, the Badgers Syndicate, from Kerry. They’ve had success with me before and they deserve it. She was very good today and it has taken a while for her to come right. Maybe we can find something for her at Killarney before Galway. We may also try to get her some black type in one of those mares races.”
In other news, Speaking Of Which, ruled out of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby due to the heavy ground, could be the latest Dermot Weld horse to go travelling after connections revealed over the weekend that a crack at the Secretariat Stakes at Arlington in Chicago could be on the cards for this smart three-year-old.
“He might go to Secretariat in Arlington next month over a mile and a quarter,” said Stan Cosgrove, racing manager to owners Moyglare Stud. And another Moyglare-owned charge in Princess Highway looks on course for the Darley Irish Oaks at the Curragh on July 22 following her scintillating success at Royal Ascot, according to connections.
“She’ll go for the Irish Oaks.” informed Stan Cosgrove. “She was very impressive in Ascot and is in fine form.”
Cosgrove also had news regarding Sapphire following her runner-up performance behind Izzy Top in the Group 1 Pretty Polly Stakes on Irish Derby weekend.
“She ran well behind Izzi Top but the mile and a quarter was too short for her. I congratulated John Gosden after Izzi Top beat Sapphire and he said we should run Sapphire back over further.” added the Moyglare Racing Manager.