Racing can be a pretty unsentimental business, and while Davy Russell showed his brilliance in winning on Rashaan at the Galway Festival, he was equally masterful in ensuring defeat for the same horse when scoring on Woods Well back at the Western venue last Tuesday.
Before the Festival that superbly game and classy performer Rashaan had not shown any particular fondness for Galway.
True the Ballybrit circuit is right handed which certainly suits, but for some reason Colin Kidd’s stable star, like many other horses down the years, did not seem to take to it’s various undulations.
Yet somehow Russell had cajoled him into putting aside any reservations – and the very sticky ground that day would not have particularly suited either – to swoop right at the death and beat Omua by half a length.
This time Rahsaan, the 5/6 jolly, was trying two miles and seven which many feared would stretch him. In fact that was not an issue, he actually stayed on stoutly but was still a neck behind the Russell ridden 7/2 chance Woods Well at the line.
Winning trainer Gordon Elliott said: “The race suited Woods Well, he jumped well and Davy gave him a good ride.”
“That’s why Davy is so good, if they had gone an end to end gallop it would have suited Rahsaan. We might go to the Troytown in Navan next with this horse.”
Later on Elliott also had reasons to be grateful to a jockey after Denis O’Regan had steered home Penny Jane – the 6/1 market leader in a wide open betting heat – in the Guinness Handicap Chase.
“We were lucky as the saddle nearly slipped and Davy gave her a great ride.”
“He said she was a little bit fresh early on and doing a bit too much but she jumped well” Elliott explained.
Patrick Mullins was adamant that the very heavy ground at Listowel was the reason that the J P McManus owned Sancta Simona had disappointed in a bumper there.
Back on a much kinder surface now the well backed Willie Mullins trained 5/2 fancy – from 7/2 – steamed home for Barry Geraghty on her first outing over hurdles.
Another Mullins runner Diamond Hill – who made a bad jumping error at Listowel – cleared the hurdles sweetly this time. Indeed Paul Townsend’s mount was just about in front at the last.
Stamina was the issue now as she faded to fifth on the run home but she will take beating if dropping back to two miles next time out.
Townend had better luck on the Mullins trained Voix Du Reve, a 13/8 joint favourite who beat the other top market fancy Mind’s Eye by seven and a half lengths.
The Henry de Bromhead trained runner up is highly regarded so this was a fair scalp for the winner and Townend was impressed.
“He was very good. He’s not massive but he measures them really well and is quick over them” he said.