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Galway Races: Sarah Dawson in hunt for a stunning Festival hat-trick

By Frank Brownlow

Sarah Dawson returns to the scene of her greatest triumph tomorrow when Boris Boru runs at the Galway Festival.

The Banbridge trainer enjoyed a stunning career highlight when Clare Glen won the big Guinness Handicap in 2011, while Grand Opera was another Galway Festival success story for Dawson, winning the 2012 Ladbrokes Handicap.

Sammy-Jo Bell, from Ballyclare, was in the saddle for the latter triumph and is currently making waves as one of the rising stars of English racing.

"Yes, the Galway Festival has been kind to us. Clare Glen and Grand Opera have provided us with some very happy memories," Sarah said.

"I would certainly take a few others like that pair," she added.

"They were great stalwarts - flagships for the yard."

Boris Boru runs in the Ladbrokes Mobile Maiden Hurdle tomorrow, the penultimate fixture of the seven-day extravaganza.

"Boris Boru is in need of a run. He recently had a wee setback," she said.

There is plenty of Ulster interest over the final three days of the Festival with Brian Hamilton, Stuart Crawford, Ian Ferguson, Mervyn Torrens and Suzy Barkley among those local trainers with runners.

Andy Oliver and Jim Lambe have contenders - I'll Be Your Clown and Sang Tiger - in tonight's feature, the £100,000 Guinness Handicap.

Tony Martin's magnificent dual-purpose performer Quick Jack took the glory in yesterday's Guinness Galway Hurdle.

Since winning on the level at last year's Festival at Ballybrit, the six-year-old has finished third in the Cesarewitch at Newmarket, third in the County Hurdle at Cheltenham and second to subsequent Gold Cup hero Trip To Paris in the Chester Cup.

Given his clear improvement on the Flat, he appeared nicely weighted on his return to hurdling and was prominent in the market at 9-2.

His supporters had few worries for most of the prestigious contest, with Quick Jack travelling powerfully in the hands of Denis O'Regan.

Quick Jack looked set for comprehensive victory early in the straight, but his stable companion and last year's winner Thomas Edison came with a strong challenge, only to suffer a heavy fall at the final obstacle.

His exit left O'Regan's mount clear and the jockey punched the air as he passed the post two and a quarter lengths to the good.

Max Dynamite fared best of the Willie Mullins brigade in second, with Ted Veale, another Martin-trained runner, third.

Winning owner John Breslin, who also owns Ted Veale, said: "What a ride. He gave him the best ride I've seen in the Galway Hurdle.

"He kept on the rail and came into the bend full of horse. Tony has done a fantastic job with him.

"He's a class horse. We've been unlucky in big handicaps like the Cesarewitch and the Chester Cup and the County Hurdle, but everything went right.

"Denis gave him a peach and what can I say? It's the biggest day of my life. I'm very emotional. I never dreamed I'd win a Galway Hurdle."

Belfast Telegraph


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