Cards fall right for Ranger
Last Updated: 03/08/14 5:20pm
Park Ranger won eventful Martinstown Opportunity Handicap Hurdle, the opening race on the final day of the Galway Festival.
Trainer Christy Roche will have been growing frustrated with JP McManus' eight-year-old, who has been difficult to win with.
His chance looked to have gone when he was slow at the second last and that left Lost Book clear with the race at her mercy.
However, she fell, leaving Lilly The Lioness in front but Park Ranger (12-1) and Jody McGarvey stayed on strongly to win by a length and three-quarters.
"It's taken a while and he had a bit of luck on his side," said McManus' racing manager Frank Berry.
"I didn't think Galway would be the place that he'd win as he has his own ideas about the game."
McGarvey only returned to action last week having suffered a fractured collar-bone and was partnering his first winner since returning.
Robbie Power rode his third winner of the Festival when Blossom Gate ran out a ready victor in the Vision Express Handicap Hurdle.
Power's previous two winners were provided by Aidan O'Brien but this time he was legged up by Yvonne Latta, who was celebrating just her second ever winner.
Power made a decisive move on the seven-year-old before the home turn and she pulled six and a half lengths clear of Kostar.
"Robbie gave her plenty of daylight at her hurdles and she was always travelling well. She's as tough as old boots and stays well," said Latta.
Tony Martin saddled his fifth winner of the week when the classy Ted Veale (6-5 favourite) finally opened his account over fences in the At The Races Beginners Chase.
Having his eighth start over the larger obstacles, the seven-year-old was good enough to win a County Hurdle at Cheltenham the year before last.
In fairness, he had been campaigned at a high level and his confidence appeared to have taken a knock when he fell in the Arkle back at Cheltenham in March.
Barry Geraghty was hard at work in the straight as Clonbanan Lad proved tough to catch but he eventually prevailed by a length and a quarter.
"He wasn't loving the ground but he's only done what he was entitled to on his winter form," said Martin.
"He jumped well apart from getting a little close to the second last and that may have been a blessing as it gave him something to shoot at.
"He's got plenty of options between novices chases, the Flat and hurdles."
Ballybrit regular Foster Cross, making his 13th appearance at the course, was a popular winner of the Lord Hemphill Memorial Handicap Chase.
The veteran had run respectably for Tom Mullins on the Flat earlier in the week but it appeared the 12-year-old's best days were behind him.
Davy Russell poached an advantage coming into the straight and while Martin and Shane Shortall have enjoyed a great week, this time they had to settle for second with Pires, beaten half a length.
Ben Case's UK raider Croco Bay was 11 lengths back in third.
"You can never get him fit enough at home and it always takes a couple of runs to get him right," said Mullins.
"I have to take my hat off to Davy Russell. He probably knows the horse even better than I do and I'd have to say that was one of the best rides that one of mine ever got.
"If he doesn't get off in front, it's not that he downs tools but he's not happy. Davy kept him wide and kept him interested.
"There's no point talking about the future as he's a 12-year-old. Hopefully that's not his swansong but if it is it's a good one."
There was a one-two-three for the British raiders in the 100,000 euro Irish Stallion Farms EBF "Ahonoora" Handicap as Brian Ellison's Baraweez led home George Baker's Jack's Revenge and Pacific Heights, a stablemate of the winner.
The first two had run with credit in the Topaz Mile earlier in the week with Baraweez third and Jack's Revenge fifth and the four-year-old confirmed his superiority.
Baraweez had been disqualified from a decent race at Newcastle before his Galway exertions but the connections of the former Freddy Head-trained gelding will not be worried about that now.
He defied a wide draw for Colm O'Donoghue, fresh from winning the Irish Oaks recently on Bracelet and the 4-1 joint-favourite won by half a length.
O'Donoghue said: "He's a fabulous horse and you'd love 10 more like him.
"He was very sharp from the gate and he got into a lovely rhythm.
"I got there too soon really but he had enough left."
Ellison said: "It was always the plan to run in the two races as along as he acted on the track. We had him out the other day and he dropped the lad - he was bucking and kicking so we knew he was well.
"We've had a great week here and have been looked after very well. It's a great place and hopefully we'll have runners here again."
Ellison went on: "I think we'll be looking at the Cambridgeshire for both of them."