THE GALWAY races proved to be fertile hunting grounds for Kilkenny punters in the know last week. The ’Three Friars Cross’ syndicate landed the Galway Guinness Hurdle and Willie Mullins took the Galway Plate.
A syndicate made up of four farmers, two plumbers and an accountant from Glenmore/Tullogher were celebrating their charge, Moondice’s, win from Thursday well in to the weekend. Moondice piloted by Inistioge jockey Tom Doyle ran the race to perfection. All of Tullogher and Glenmore were celebrating as the six year old bay gelding cleared the final hurdle and overtook the leader, Fosters Cross, before galloping up the Ballybrit hill and claim victory in the Galway Guinness Hurdle.
Moondice was born and reared in Ballyfacey, Glenmore in south Kilkenny as was the gelding’s mother ‘’Ellie Come Back’. The horse was called after a patch of land known locally as ‘Moondice’ in the townsland of Ballyfacey and Haggard.
Local knowledge earned some a small fortune as those connected to the syndicate backed the horse at odds of 20/1. The celebrations were started in Galway with many from both parishes making their way to Galway to witness the win. The celebrations continued in The Glen bar on Saturday night. The Rose of Mooncoin was called for and was duly sung by Donie Aylward of Ballyfacey and he gave a rendition that varied slightly to be of the Rose of Moondice
Moondice’s victory came on the back of another Kilkenny triumph. Willie Mullins trained the well backed, Blazing Title to victory in Wednesday’s Galway Plate.
Blazing Saddles was well backed and became the on-course favourite. Punters pushed the odds in from a morning price of 10/1 to 5/1 by the time that the race got under way. Blazing Saddles was the first mare to win the €120,400 feature since the trainers late father Paddy Mullins scored with Boro Quarter in 1986. A delighted Willie Mullins told the press that he’s been trying to win the race for years. He said “What can I say? The Galway Plate is one of those iconic races that you want to win. I’ve been second in it a few times and finished second in it as a rider too, so I’ve certainly tried hard enough to win it over the years. It’s great to finally do it.”