Gilligan’s stable star obliges at Ballybrit in terrific 24 hours for Galway trainer

PAUL Gilligan is heading with two horses on the boat to the big November meeting at Cheltenham.

And why wouldn’t he after both stable star Buddy One and Sequestered were successful at the weekend Galway October Bank Holiday Festival.

A memorable 24 hours for the Craughwell-based trainer at his local track was made even more special by the fact that one of his four sons, seven lbs claimer Jack, was in the saddle for both wins.

Buddy One, which has been a model of consistency over the past 18 months, finally landed a decent pot in the featured WB Gavin & Co Handicap Hurdle at Ballybrit on Saturday.

Never too far off the pace, the popular six-year-old scooted clear on the climb to the line for a near four-length success from Gabby’s Cross in the €22,000 contest.

Placed at both last season’s Cheltenham and Aintree Festivals, Buddy One will now be heading back to the Cotswolds later this month to run in a staying handicap hurdle.

Carry the colours of local owners, Tom Quinn, John McGrath and Eddie Lynch, the horse will remain over hurdles this season and depending on his fortunes over the coming months, a tilt at the Grade One Stayers Hurdle at Cheltenham next March could be in the offing.

Naturally, Paul Gilligan was thrilled that Buddy One had achieved a second career victory after running a series of fine races in defeat.

“He deserved that. Jack gave him a great ride and got him covered up. He ran a bit free in Listowel but jumped brilliantly today. He is going the right way, and we will kick on to Cheltenham in November.”

The Gilligan father and son team were back in the winners’ enclosure at Ballybrit on Sunday when the improving Sequestered battled on stoutly to get the better of Stuzzikini in the Ann Walsh Memorial Hurdle.

Pictured: Galway jockey Jack Gilligan and his brother Ollie returning to the winners’ enclosure with Buddy One after landing the featured W.B. Gavin & Co. Handicap Hurdle at Ballybrit on Monday. Photo: Iain McDonald.

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