Weld breaks record for winners at festival

Galway specialist Dermot Weld achieved a new record tally at Ballybrit this evening after the master of Rosewell House moved to an incredible 13 successes during the Summer Festival courtesy of hot favourites Rainforest Magic and Address Unknown.

Champion jockey Pat Smullen once more made a huge contribution to the unprecedented haul by partnering all ten of the stable’s scorers on the flat so far this week, the other three over jumps being guided to victory by Dermot’s tall young amateur Robbie McNamara.

The occasion was witnessed by a marvellous attendance of 25,240 people, 2,186 more than for the corresponding card a year ago, and Rainforest Magic in the opening Guinness Amateur Handicap Hurdle was a sixth victor here in a mere five days for one of Weld’s principal patrons Dr Ronan Lambe.

Address Unknown in the colours of famous international owner-breeder Khalid Abdullah had to be hard ridden by Smullen all the way up the home straight to stave off the sustained challenge of main market rival Fleur De Nuit and Dermot was full of praise for his employees.

“This new record is the result of a real team effort by our staff of 80 and I’m very happy for them. This Galway meeting is the showcase for their talents, so it’s a very pleasing outcome for all of us,” he commented.

Banbridge, Co Down trainer Sarah Dawson combined with leading rider Seamus Heffernan to register her most notable success when 14/1 chance Clare Glen just got the better of a keen final-furlong duel with Jumbo Rio in the featured €60,000 Guinness Handicap.

Unsuited by the soft going at her local Down Royal course when fourth in last month’s Ulster Derby, the Sakhee mare relished drier underfoot conditions here and kept responding to Heffernan’s urgings after the principals overtook top weight Flowers Of Spring into the closing stages.

“She was much better suited to this drier ground and certainly is the star of my nine-horse yard. She had won well at the Curragh before Down Royal and Seamus was delighted how well she battled tonight- he says she’s very tough and genuine” remarked the northern handler.

Attendance 25,240 (2011) 23,054 (2010)

Tote Turnover €745,517 (2011) €837,920 (2010)

Bookmakers €1,874,815 (2011) €2,008,711 (2010)

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