Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 23 November 2014

Bally makes most of light weight

Ballyfinboy and Eddie O'Connell have the race won
Ballyfinboy and Eddie O'Connell have the race won

Ballyfinboy stayed on strongly from the final fence to land the feature Lord Hemphill Memorial Handicap Chase at Galway.

In a race run to suit those with proven stamina on the tacky ground, the Jimmy Finn-trained seven-year-old was held up through the early stages and was always likely to be doing his best work late on as a winner already over a longer trip.

He was under pressure a fair way out, but Eddie O'Connell's mount, who was pulled out of a beginners chase on Thursday because of the testing conditions, relished the long run from the last, eventually coming eight and a half lengths clear of Darenjan.

Finn, who bred and also owns the 9-2 winner, said: "It's grand when things go right.

"He likes good ground, but he had a light weight here and just got into the handicap, which was a big help.

"This is by far my biggest win so far and I've a half-brother to him going to the sales this month. We'll see how he comes out of this and he might go for a two-and-a-half-mile handicap in Killarney."

Dermot Weld notched his 11th victory of the week when Notable Graduate (evens favourite) caught runaway leader The Black Russian in the Trappers Inn Maiden Hurdle, battling away under Derek O'Connor to score by a length and three-quarters.

O'Connor came in for the ride at the last moment as Robbie McNamara was booked but couldn't make the weight, while the stewards turned down a request to allow Ruby Walsh to take over as they considered it was not a like-for-like change (a professional taking over from an amateur).

The winning jockey said: "He was on and off the bridle throughout the race and there was a fierce pace set by Tony Kelly's horse. He missed the last hurdle but kept on well up the hill. I was very lucky to get the ride, but there is no better man to ride for around Galway than Mr Weld."

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