Saint Sam starred in final day double for Willie Mullins as the champion trainer ended another excellent week at the Galway Festival with 10 winners.
The Closutton handler has once again proved the dominant force at Ballybrit, with Zarak The Brave’s success in Thursday’s Galway Hurdle the obvious highlight of his double-figure haul.
Saint Sam was the 4-7 favourite to notch a fourth win from seven starts over fences in the the Eileen Kelly Memorial Chase and the result was never really in any doubt – quickly opening up a big lead under Paul Townend and coming home with 13 lengths in hand over Born By The Sea.
“That was a huge performance from him over that trip the way he did it. Paul never got a chance to settle him, he just galloped and jumped the two-mile-and-six,” said Mullins.
“I thought that was way better than anything he has shown. He’s given himself a very hard race, but it’s the way he likes to race.
“I think we’ll be looking at conditions races for him, but the Kerry National is worth a lot of money. We’ll think about it and he may be entered for it.”
Mullins teamed up with son Patrick to complete his brace as 4-9 favourite You Oughta Know followed up his debut bumper success at Kilbeggan with a straightforward win in the Fr. Breen Memorial (Pro/Am) INH Flat Race.
Mullins said: “It was a good performance giving the second horse a stone (including rider’s claim).
“Patrick felt the ground was fast enough for him so we might put him by now before going jumping.
“It’s been a great week and the ground here is fantastic.”
The tough-as-teak Teed Up won the Adare Manor Opportunity Handicap Hurdle for the second year in succession on what was his third appearance at this year’s festival.
The Emmet Mullins-trained course favourite won the Connacht Hotel (Q.R.) Handicap on Monday night and was only narrowly denied a major double on the Flat by Brazil in Friday’s Guinness Handicap.
Reverting to obstacles, Teed Up was the 4-6 favourite in the hands of Conor Clarke and got the job done with a three-and-a-half-length success.
Mullins said: “He has a serious appetite for racing and is an unbelievable horse to have in the yard.
“He loves it here. It might not have seemed that likely in the dip, but as soon as he meets the rising ground, he grows another leg.
“He’s had a tough week and he could tell you what the traffic has been like coming up here this week! I’d imagine he’s earned a little break now and we can start planning for next year.”
My Design struck of odds of 14-1 in the Kenny Galway Handicap Hurdle for trainer Declan Queally and amateur rider Ray Barron, while Philip Dempsey’s Fighting Fit was a shock 33-1 winner of the Lord Hemphill Memorial Handicap Chase.
“Last year just didn’t go right, he had niggly problems the whole time. He never got a proper run at it last year and it’s great to get him back today,” said Dempsey.
“He could go to Listowel and it looks like he’ll probably get further judged on that. He didn’t travel early and lost his position a bit, but his jumping was very good and kept him in it.”