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Dublin: 10 °C Monday 6 July, 2020

Enigmatic Yorkhill claims big victory on final day at Galway

Meanwhile Gerry Keane saddled the most valuable winner of his career when Laughifuwant landed the feature Irish Stallion Farms EBF Ahonoora Handicap.

A general view of the Galway Races.
A general view of the Galway Races.
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

THE ENIGMATIC YORKHILL had not managed to win since landing the JLT Novices Chase at the 2017 Cheltenham Festival and hopes could not have been too high that he would ever return to winning ways, but the 2m6f Watch Racing TV Now Chase at Galway on Sunday provided the ideal opportunity and the 6-4 favourite didn’t spurn it.

It was not all plain sailing as he jumped and hung left, and came close to running out jumping the second last, but once Paul Townend got him over the last and into the straight, he eased on and held off his staying-on stable companion Some Neck by three lengths. The Kerry National at Listowel is likely to be next.

It’s a rare day when trainer Gerry Keane steals the limelight from his son Colin, but that’s how the final day of the 2019 festival panned out, as Keane the elder saddled the most valuable winner of his career when Laughifuwant landed the feature Irish Stallion Farms EBF Ahonoora Handicap.

Making more or less all for Seamie Heffernan, the son of Roderic O’Connor found no takers to challenge him when he extended his lead early in the straight and in the end his three-parts-of-a-length success over the staying-on On A Sessions was achieved with the minimum of fuss. He was returned at 20-1.

Mr Smith is best-known for being one leg of the famous Charles Byrnes treble at Roscommon in August 2016, has had a couple of years on the sidelines since but he has come back very strongly this year and comprehensively landed the Kenny Galway Handicap Hurdle.

Ridden by Adam Short, he was sent to the front before the fourth last and galloped his rivals into submission from there, scoring by ten lengths from Goodnightngodbless. He’s entered again, yes, at Roscommon on Tuesday at the equivalent meeting and chances are high that he will return there.

The J.P. McManus-owned Ilikedwayurthinkin became the third horse to at least double up at the 2019 Galway festival as he landed the opening Adare Manor Opportunity Handicap Hurdle, winning the race sponsored by his owner.

A consummately easy winner of a handicap hurdle over 2m5f on Wednesday, the 5-6 favourite found the drop back to 2m to be a non-issue here as he travelled strongly throughout for Darragh O’Keeffe and was just ridden clear from the last to beat Dumhach Tra by five lengths.

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