50-1 shock as McGuinness completes memorable hat-trick with Sirjack Thomas
Ado McGuinness' strength-in-numbers approach to the €100,000 Colm Quinn BMW Mile reaped massive dividends as 50-1 shot Sirjack Thomas – one of six runners he saddled – made it a hat-trick of wins in the race for the yard.
The Dublin trainer, who claimed the prize with Saltonstall in the last two years, has never made any secret of his ambition to tackle the Galway festival's most valuable handicaps, but some luck was required in the success, with the three-length winner sneaking in at the 11th hour as the third reserve.
The talented Mikey Sheehy received the call-up from agent Kevin O'Ryan to ride the former festival winner just before his head hit the pillow on Monday night, and he could hardly have dreamed of a better script to overcome a wide draw in stall 17.
A late challenge from admirable handicapper Quizical briefly threatened to spoil the party, but the Dooley Thoroughbreds-owned six-year-old had enough up his sleeve to hold firm at the line, benefiting from his rider's 5lb claim.
"Mikey has only ridden for me a couple of times but he's a top-class young man and his claim was a big help," said an elated McGuinness.
"It's unbelievable to win it three years on the bounce. I knew I threw plenty of bullets but that's what you have to do sometimes. I'm lucky and privileged to have the owners here this year, and lucky that they have faith to send me these horses to train."
McGuinness added: "He's in again this weekend and will rock up with Current Option, Laugh A Minute and Spanish Tenor if they're all sound."
Sheehy, expressing his gratitude for being given the ride after the biggest win of his career, added: "The horse did everything lovely for me. Coming down into the dip, I got every run I wanted and I picked up well coming out of it."
Murphy's Galtee gamble pays off
The importance of course form at Ballybrit shone through once again as Joe Murphy's bold campaigning of Galtee Mist was rewarded when she recorded a first win at Listed level in the Corrib Stakes.
Registering the most timely of victories - given she's already been covered by Make Believe and has less than a month left in her racing career - the 93-rated five-year-old, a previous course winner, proved impossible to catch under an enterprising Gary Carroll ride.
"That was the plan," said Murphy after the Tom Egan-owned mare struck at 11-1.
"She ran a great race in the Minstrel Stakes - not beaten far - because the race didn't suit her. They crawled for three furlongs and sprinted for three furlongs then."
He added: "We thought this track would suit her. She's a good mare and might have to find a Group 3 in England or somewhere as she's finished racing on August 20."
Weld continues bright start to festival
Dermot Weld has started the Galway festival in excellent style - with form figures from his five representatives on the opening day reading 33122 - and the master trainer kicked off Tuesday's card with an early candidate for the easiest Flat winner of the week.
There was no stopping the beautifully bred Emilie Gray in the 7f maiden as she drew clear convincingly to score by eight and a half lengths as the 4-5 favourite under Colin Keane in the colours of Moyglare Stud.
It was a case of fifth-time lucky for the daughter of Dubawi and four-time stakes winner Carla Bianca, having made a bright start to her career at the Curragh in March when third to Prix de Diane heroine Joan Of Arc.
"She did it nicely," said the Rosewell trainer, who has been leading trainer at the Ballybrit extravaganza on a remarkable 29 occasions.
"She handles the ground and is a progressive filly. Her form was there, she's been very consistent. The trip and ground were right and she delivered."
Weld added: "She's from one of the best Moyglare families - a beautifully bred filly. It was lovely to win with her. We'll look at black type with her later in the year."
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