Mullins finally seizes big one for amateurs


From this week's Galway City Tribune

From this week's Galway City Tribune

Mullins finally seizes big one for amateurs Mullins finally seizes big one for amateurs

IT took him the guts of two decades to finally crack the code, but it proved 16th-time lucky for Patrick Mullins in the day-one feature at Ballybrit on Monday evening.

The Connacht Hotel Handicap had been the only major amateur prize on the Irish racing circuit to have eluded Mullins during a sterling career, but he ended that long quest on the well-backed 11/4 favourite Echoes In Rain.

The high-class hurdler was always doing enough up the hill to keep the persistent challenge of 16/1 stablemate Maze Runner at bay after travelling smoothly into the dip.

It was a fourth triumph in the big amateur handicap over the last six years for winning trainer Willie Mullins, but all the post-race focus was on his son, Patrick, who had begun to doubt if he was ever going to land the prestigious two-mile handicap.

“Every year I come here with a fancied ride, and it would have been a pity not to win it. This is the most valuable amateur race you can ride in, so it’s great to finally get my name on the roll of honour,” said the 14-times champion amateur jockey.

The rest of the card was dominated by the Jessica Harrington stable as the veteran handler combined with jockey Shane Foley to pull off a 123/1 treble.

The pace-setting Pivotal Trigger got the ball rolling in the Claregalway Hotel Maiden when Pivotal Trigger upset odds-on favourite Tiverton, while top weight Dairerin (9/2) obliged in the Clayton Hotel Galway Handicap.

The Harrington/Foley hat-trick was completed in the Eventus Handicap, Irish Lullaby (13/2) coming out on top in a blanket finish from the heavily supported market leader Common Practice.

Galway jockey Derek O’Connor came up trumps on his local track when steering the Emmet Mullins trained This Songisforyou to victory in the concluding Monami Construction bumper, while Denis Hogan had the satisfaction of training and riding Darkened (12/1) to a narrow win in the Easyfix Handicap Hurdle after getting the better of a sustained duel with Listentillitellyea.

There was a shock result in the opening Galmont/Galway Bay Hotels Novice Hurdle with Gordon Elliott’s second-string Royal Eagle (18/1) overhauling the odds-on Hms Seahorse, which eventually only finished third, on the climb to the post.

The first-day crowd at the Galway Summer Festival was 15,179, a significant drop on the last comparable fixture in 2019 when the Monday evening attendance was 20,397.


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