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Blackmail pays off at Galway

Blackmail justified market support as he made a winning debut over obstacles in the 100,000 Euros Tote Pick Six Guarantee Maiden Hurdle, the opening event on day three of the Galway Festival.

Tony Martin's charge was sent off the 5-4 favourite for his first try over hurdles, having been down the field in the Champion Bumper at Cheltenham and finishing second to stablemate Ted Veale on the level last time out.

Ruby Walsh was happy to sit in behind on Blackmail as Tisamystery cut out the early running but once he moved to the front on the turn for home, there was little doubt about the result. A clean leap at the last sealed the victory and Blackmail powered away to win by 12 lengths from Enchanted Forest.

Martin and owner John Breslin were following up on Tuesday evening's victory for Busted Tycoon.

Breslin said: "Tony is the best, the master of them all. This horse jumped very well and Ruby gave him a fantastic ride. He's a good horse - last night was good but today was exceptionally good."

Martin was pleased with his charge's display and is already eyeing a trip to the Cheltenham Festival, saying: "He was very good. He boiled over at Cheltenham and probably shouldn't have been in Punchestown after that. He's not over-big but what he is is very agile and nimble. You'd like he's a horse that'll be going to Cheltenham again next March."

Walsh and Martin made it a double on the day as Victrix Gale ran out a convincing winner of the 40,000 Euros Tote Jackpot Guarantee Handicap Hurdle.

The seven-year-old was switching back to the smaller obstacles after a couple of unsuccessful chase starts in Britain and she made short work of her rivals in this three-mile affair. While the soft ground may not have been ideal, 7-2 favourite Victrix Gale picked up after the last to win by a cosy seven lengths from Happy New Year with Your Busy back in third.

Martin said: "I'm just happy that they're running so well and it's great that they're winning. This mare won three last year. She ran very well at Perth on her comeback run and she then pulled muscles after a mistake she made at Uttoxeter. We were concerned about the ground but she did do a super bit of work last Friday."

Robbie Dunne executed an excellent piece of front-running riding as he made all aboard Pyrus Gold Wind in the Bet 10 Euros Get 10 Euros At Handicap Hurdle.

The 3lb claimer was positive from the off aboard Steve Mahon's 25-1 shot, setting the early pace before kicking for home at the top of the straight. His rivals had little answer as Pyrus Gold Wind powered clear and while Wontbelongnow and Point The Toes tried to pursue him, Dunne had stolen the advantage to record a 12-length verdict in testing conditions.

Mahon said: "He's a little terrier. I felt he was highly rated beforehand but he'll probably get a hike for this now."


From Belfast Telegraph