Coltor claims top honours for Weld on first day of Galway Festival
Coltor and Finian Maguire snatched the spoils in the valuable Connacht Hotel (Q.R.) Handicap to deny Aubrey McMahon a third victory in the day one feature at Galway
Maguire himself had ridden subsequent Group One scorer Princess Zoe to victory 12 months ago, while McMahon had partnered Whiskey Sour and Uradel to win in 2017 and 2018.
When McMahon hit the front on Foveros, like his two previous winners trained by Willie Mullins, he looked sure to win, but Maguire pulled Dermot Weld’s Coltor out from in behind and his mount quickened well.
Sent off a 14-1 chance, it was Weld’s first victory in the race since Midnight Music in 2012.
Coltor went on to win by three-quarters of a length with a further length and a quarter back to Harry Fry’s Litterale Ci in third.
Weld said: “I thought he’d run very well last time out at the Curragh but by the time the last race came, the ground was gone very heavy and testing and that’s not for him. It was beautiful ground today, on the slow side of good.
“Finny was with me for a couple of years, is a very talented guy and has been in France riding successfully for the past six weeks. He came back especially to ride today and this is the owner Mischa Bucher’s, son of Eva Haefner of Moyglare Stud, first horse.
I thought coming down in the car that a two-mile handicap at York in the middle of August would be a plan for him. York is now the immediate target
“I thought coming down in the car that a two-mile handicap at York in the middle of August would be a plan for him. York is now the immediate target.
“He’ll go jumping at Leopardstown at Christmas time, he never wants the ground too heavy.
“It was a lovely race to win, it has been a very lucky race for me as a trainer and I won it four times as a amateur jockey, starting as a 15 year old.”
The opening Claregalwayhotel.ie Irish EBF (C & G) Maiden went to Michael O’Callaghan’s I Am Magic (15-2).
Despite finishing in front of Aidan O’Brien’s Anchorage last time out, that one was sent off the 5-4 favourite but the form was confirmed as Leigh Roche made all on I Am Magic.
“It was a lovely performance, he is a nice horse and we thought a lot of him. The plan was to make every post a winning post and he got the fractions right,” said O’Callaghan.
“He travelled very strong, has plenty of natural pace and Leigh said he was just getting lonely in front. It is tough to make the running here, but we’ve found it a way of keeping things simple as well.
“We think he’ll improve again, will get a mile and we’ll step him up to Stakes company now. He has a Futurity Stakes entry but we’ll look at a few options in the UK as well.”
Black Cat Bobby (14-1) prevailed in a tight finish to win the Claytonhotelgalway.ie Handicap for Ciaran Murphy and Gavin Ryan.
“He loved the hill and hung on and I’m over the moon with the horse. We thought plenty of him as a two-year-old but he grew and was backward, so we minded him along,” said Murphy.
“He’ll have an entry for the weekend and see how he is.”
Jessica Harrington and Shane Foley got off the mark for the week when Maud Gonne Spirit was an 18-1 winner of the Galwaybayhotel.com & Galmont.com Handicap.
“She has frustrated us up until now. We were baffled by her runs compared to her work and we fancied her once or twice but she ran bad. It all worked out today. ” said Foley.
Foley and Harrington also struck gold with Citronnade (7-1) in the Eventus Handicap.
Dylan Browne McMonagle once again advertised his talents when winning on Joseph O’Brien’s Merroir (6-1) in the Easyfix Handicap.