Galway Festival: Admiral Barry is fleet of foot
The disappointment of a short-head Curragh defeat last month on the part of Admiral Barry’s connections was handsomely compensated for with a gritty success in Galway’s featured Carlton Hotel Amateur Handicap last night.
Backed from fancy prices in the morning to 10/1 eventually, this hitherto frustrating five-year-old seems to have turned the corner in earnest since trainer Eoin Griffin consigned him to living mostly in a field, with a mare for company.
“You’d have to say he’s been frustrating since his two-year-old days and he hated jumping hurdles, but John Brennan is a very loyal owner for us and this win makes up for it all,” said Griffin, who saddles The Last Derby in the same Wexford county colours in tomorrow’s Tote Plate.
Successful also with Cuan Na Grai in the 2006 Guinness Hurdle at Ballybrit, John Brennan was delighted to see 20-year-old fellow Wexford native Mikey Fogarty delivering his Kalanisi gelding with a sustained challenge to gallant top weight Mount Helicon off the last bend.
Despite wandering about on the punishing climb to the post, Fogarty kept his mount at full stretch to grind out victory over Tom Hogan’s English import, which was beaten by a head on his Irish debut at Killarney recently.
“Mount Helicon is the best I’ve trained and it’s frustrating that I haven’t won with him yet. Giving so much weight (22lbs) to the winner was some performance after my other runner, Spinning Wings, had cut out most of the running,” said Hogan.
Savouring his most important success to date in a burgeoning career founded on 30 point-to-point scorers, Fogarty, from Cleariestown, said: “I got a great run through on the rails when I needed it and he’s a tough horse.”
The layers would have much preferred to see 20/1 outsider Mount Helicon retaining his advantage rather than paying out on Admiral Barry, which had been a 16/1 chance in the morning.
The initial signs from the country’s most important fixture were heartening indeed, with a crowd of close on 18,000 showing over 600 ahead of last year’s attendance and racecards being sold out early in the evening.