Tuesday 31 January 2023 Dublin: 8°C
# Ballybrit
Brilliant Borice, Elliott's Plate and One Cool Poet: The Galway Races in review
Donn McClean runs down the best moments of a fantastic week of racing in Ballybrit.

IT WAS SOME week at Galway last week. So much going on.

Here’s a 10 to 1.

10. Willie Mullins’ Winners

10 – The number of winners that Willie Mullins had during the week. It started with Great White Shark and Jody Townend in the Connacht Hotel Handicap on Monday evening, and it rolled through the week.

Fast Buck on Tuesday, Diamond Hill and Buildmeupbuttercup on Wednesday, Dandy Mag and Wicklow Brave and Foveros on Thursday, Minella Beau and Mr Adjudicator on Friday, Yorkhill on Sunday.

Saturday was the only day on which the champion trainer did not have a winner, and he had the second and third that day behind Great Trango in the feature race, the Galway Shopping Centre Handicap Hurdle, Ask Susan and Great White Shark.

9. Brilliant Borice

9 – Borice’s SP in the Tote Galway Plate. 9/1. He was a fair bit shorter earlier in the day.

Gordon Elliott’s horse was very good. Luke Dempsey got him into a nice racing rhythm from early, back in the field and up on the outside. He moved closer to the pace and closer to the inside with a circuit to race, joined the front rank on the run to the second last fence, and he stayed on strongly on the near side up the home straight to win well.

This was only Borice’s fifth run for Gordon Elliott since his arrival from France. Well down the field in the Paddy Power Chase in December on his first run for his current trainer, and well down the field in the Thyestes Chase on his second, two bloodless wins in novice hurdles in Britain in June and July were good springboards, and he put up the best performance of his career on Wednesday.

The handicapper has raised him by 10lb for that win, to a mark of 146, and it would be surprising if connections were not thinking of the Aintree Grand National now off that type of mark.

Gordon Elliott and jockey Luke Dempsey on Borice goes clear to win the Galway Plate James Crombie / INPHO jockey Luke Dempsey on Borice goes clear to win the Galway Plate. James Crombie / INPHO / INPHO

8. Reign of the O’Brien’s

8 – The number of winners that Donnacha O’Brien rode during the week. Two of them for Joseph O’Brien and six of them for Aidan O’Brien, including Lancaster House in the one-mile maiden on Saturday who, making his racecourse debut, was one of the most impressive winners of the week.

7. Tudor City’s Turnaround

7 – Tudor City’s position in the field as they rounded the home turn in the Guinness Galway Hurdle. Seventh. No better.

Robbie Power had crept all the way, slowly and along the inside. He only left the inside rail in order to go between Hearts Are Trumps and Golden Spear on the run to the second last flight.

He went to go outside Band Of Outlaws at the final flight, but that horse moved to his left, so he went back inside. Then Tony Martin’s horse had the strength and the tenacity to go between Band Of Outlaws and Due Reward on the run up the hill, to get up and win by a half a length.

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It was some performance by John Breslin’s horse, to win a Galway Hurdle on his 39th run, his 20th over hurdles, and racing off the highest handicap rating of his career and it was testament, yet again, to Tony Martin’s skill as a racehorse trainer.

Robbie Power onboard Tudor City celebrates winning James Crombie / INPHO Robbie Power onboard Tudor City. James Crombie / INPHO / INPHO

6. Townend on song

6 – The number of winners that Paul Townend rode during the week. All six for his boss Willie Mullins, including the left-leaning Yorkhill on Sunday, on whom he needed all his guile, who was winning going right-handed for the first time since he won his beginners’ chase at Fairyhouse in 2016 as a 1-8 shot. Also, the number of winners that Aidan O’Brien trained during the week, three of them in the space of 65 minutes on Saturday.

5. Size Matters

5 – Darragh O’Keeffe’s claim off Ilikedwayurthinkin in the handicap hurdle on Wednesday, and off All The Answers in the handicap chase on Sunday. 5lb, and he’s big value for it.

4. Mullins’ Colours

4 – The number of winners who raced in Annette Mee’s colours – two trained by Emmet Mullins and two trained by Willie Mullins – colours that are always worth a second glance at Galway.

3. Elliott’s Plate

3 – The number of Galway Plate winners that Gordon Elliott has now trained in the last four years, and the number of Galway Hurdle winners that Tony Martin has trained in the last six.

Gordon Elliott and jockey Luke Dempsey celebrate winning the Galway Plate with Borice James Crombie / INPHO Trainer Gordon Elliott celebrates winning the Galway Plate. James Crombie / INPHO / INPHO

2. Multiple Winners

2 – The number of times that Linger won during the week. The number of times that Ilikedwayurthinkin won during the week. The number of times that Make A Challenge won during the week.

1. One Cool Poet 

One Cool Poet. There is only one. Matthew Smith’s horse won three times: by a neck on Tuesday off a mark of 66, by a length and a half on Thursday off a mark of 72, by five lengths on Saturday off a mark of 78.

Only Busted Tycoon before him, in 2013, had won three times at the same Galway Festival. Some feat.

(There’s a 0 too – Zero Ten. Winner of the Latin Quarter Beginners’ Chase on Tuesday on his chasing debut for Emmet Mullins, and one who should be worth following wherever he goes now.)

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