Murchu lands opening strike in Galway
16:23, 02 Aug 2012
Murchu struck for Shark Hanlon in the Perfect Pint Beginners Chase on day four of the Galway Festival this afternoon.
The 13-2 chance was atoning for a Down Royal departure, having got rid of Andrew McNamara on his fencing debut but jumped much better for the same pilot and progressed to touch down over the second-last in a share of the lead.
He quickened well from that point and always looked like holding the challenge of Markey Cee, eventually crossing the line with eight lengths in hand.
Hanlon said: "I was a bit afraid of the ground. He blundered and unseated Andrew at Down Royal the last day but Andrew said after the race that he'd win the beginners chase at Galway.
"He's done lots of schooling in the meantime and he jumped brilliant today.
"I nearly thought he'd win but he wouldn't want it any worse than soft.
"He'll probably make a better chaser than hurdler."
McNamara doubled up as the Colin Bowe-trained mare Glibin just held on in a thrilling finish to the Guinness Series Novice Chase.
Dazzling Susie, the 11-10 favourite, had set the early tempo but faded and was eventually a remote fourth.
Up front McNamara had to be at his strongest as the 16-1 chance Glibin saw off Great Oak by a neck.
The winner had been second to Dazzling Susie at Kilbeggan in June.
McNamara said after Glibin's success: "I thought maybe I might get one (winner) but to get two is magnificent.
"I wasn't overly happy throughout the race as she was hanging a bit and her jumping wasn't as great as it was the last day.
"She responded more than I thought she would at the third-last but it worked out.
"I thought I was in front a bit soon and I felt then I might have been in trouble when the second horse came to me as she started to idle a bit, but she's a fair mare and she battled when she felt him coming to her quarters."
Bowe said: "I'm delighted with that. That was great.
"She's been knocking on the door in bumpers and she jumps very well so she deserved it.
"Andy said she was hanging a bit early but she did it well in the end.
"The ground probably helped us turn over the 24 lengths she needed to find with Dazzling Susie on their run the last day (at Kilbeggan).
"My mare won a hurdle race on soft ground and I'd say it was a bit dead out there today. That was definitely a factor.
"It was nip and tuck the whole way to the line today but Andy gave her a brilliant ride, fair play to him."
The application of blinkers worked the oracle for Sadler's Mark in the Guinness Time Handicap.
The splits opened nicely for the Dermot McLoughlin-trained 9-2 shot at the top of the straight and he quickened through well to beat Maundy Money by two and a quarter lengths.
Winning jockey Niall McCullagh said: "I rode him for the first time at Leopardstown the last day and I just suggested that we used blinkers and drop back in trip and they worked the oracle.
"When I saw the draw I thought maybe if I just tuck in and ride for a bit of luck it might work out and everything went my way and he won nicely."
McLoughlin said: "Niall got off the last day and said to put a set of blinds on him, and that's what we did and he stayed up the hill well.
"The form worked out well as he finished fifth last time at Leopardstown, just over a length behind the second that day, Vastonea, who subsequently won the Topaz Mile on Tuesday.
"I was just a bit concerned about the ground but it all worked out."
Lady Wingshot and Kevin Manning outbattled Yellow Rosebud to land Listed honours in the Arthur Guinness EBF Corrib Fillies Stakes.
Fitter for her recent return at Naas, Jim Bolger's 9-2 chance took up the running shortly after turning for home and although favourite Yellow Rosebud eventually got close enough to mount a challenge, the line came in time for Lady Wingshot, who held on by a head.
Manning said: "She's done it well. She was a very smart two-year-old last year and her first start this year was back in Naas just over a week ago and we were a shade unlucky.
"I got caught down along the fence on her, never got the gaps and she went to the line on the bridle.
"I had a great draw on the fence today, she has plenty of pace and she travels well and when they travel well and they carry you can take the gaps when they come and manoeuvre yourself.
"She stuck her head out and kept battling. When Pat (Smullen) came at her (on Yellow Rosebud) she put her head down and kept going all the way to the line.
"They're two tough fillies, two very good fillies and I'm just thankful I came out on the right side of it."