Galway: Rajik magic for O’Briens
Rising star Joseph O’Brien bagged another big Galway winner as he finished with a wet sail on the Charlie Swan-trained Rajik to land the feature Guinness Handicap on the fifth day of the festival meeting.
The in-form O’Brien is excellent value for his 7lb claim and the son of champion trainer Aidan produced his mount to perfection down the middle of the track to readily account for Scandal Sheet and 13-8 favourite Natural High.
Rajik was going one better than in this race 12 months ago and O’Brien – who recorded a double on Thursday – said: “I fancied him coming into the race. He finished second last year and was a little unlucky.
Swan also saddled Zaralabad and admitted: “I fancied Zaralabad as he was working really well, but he met a lot of trouble in running. When Rajik met the rising ground he flew home and he could run again over hurdles here on Sunday.
“We’ll see how he comes out of this before making any decision.”
Wins Now (20-1) just got up in a desperate finish to turn the Guinness Galway Blazers Handicap Chase into a family affair.
Top-weight Truckers Delight made a bold bid from two out, after creeping nicely into ocontention under John Cullen and looked to have nicked enough of an advantage off the turn.
But Niall Madden was hard at work on Wins Now, with King Ali also in full flight, and in the end
that pair just ran the 5-1 favourite Truckers Delight out of it.
A head was the margin of victory for Madden on the nine-year-old trained by his father, Niall, and running in the Galway Plate-winning colours of JP McManus.
Madden Snr said: “He has been a bit disappointing, but runs well around here and was fifth in the Plate last year. The better ground was a help.”
Dermot Weld recorded his 10th victory of the week as the Pat Smullen-ridden Raffaello Santi (9-4 favourite) got the better of O’Brien on Battleoftrafalgar by a head in the 12-furlong maiden.
Meanwhile, Freddie Head’s wonder mare Goldikova will face seven rivals as she bids to win the Prix Rothschild at Deauville for the third year in succession on Sunday. The five-year-old secured a remarkable ninth Group One victory in the Queen Anne at Royal Ascot and is certain to go off a hot favourite.
Jean-Claude Rouget’s Elusive Wave was second to Goldikova 12 months ago, but has failed to rediscover her best form so far this year.
Michel Zerolo, racing manager for the owner Martin Schwartz, said: “It looks like we’re running for second place, but that’s all right and she’s in good form.
“I think she is coming into form now and just coming to hand.”
The Mick Channon-trained Music Show is already a Group One winner, having won Newmarket’s Falmouth Stakes, but Bruce Raymond, racing manager for the owner Jaber Abdullah, admits she has more on her plate this weekend.
“I think our filly is on the up. She certainly produced a much better performance at Newmarket than she had in her previous races this year,” said Raymond.
“I don't think she’ll beat Goldikova, but I’d be disappointed if she’s not in the first three.”