Galvin keeps up winning run on Punchestown return

Galvin took his winning run to six with a pleasing display on his seasonal debut in the Irish Daily Star – Best For Racing Coverage Chase at Punchestown.

Absent since winning the National Hunt Chase at the Cheltenham Festival when in the temporary care of Ian Ferguson as Gordon Elliott served a six-month suspension, Galvin got the new campaign off to the ideal start in the Grade Three heat.

The Willie Mullins pair of Brahma Bull and Annamix ensured it was a proper test over three miles, with Davy Russell happy to sit in third place in the five-runner field.

Annamix tried to set sail for home after the third-last fence, but Galvin (evens favourite) was up to the challenge despite his seven-month absence.

The seven-year-old jumped the final obstacle with a narrow lead and kept on stoutly to hold the renewed bid of Annamix by half a length.

Davy Russell (right) with Galvin after their Grade Three success at Punchestown
Davy Russell (right) with Galvin after their Grade Three success at Punchestown (Alan Magee/PA)

Elliott said: “I thought it was a good performance with the weight he had, and we knew he was going to come on plenty from it. He was up against two race-fit horses.

“He’s entered in Down Royal and is a horse to look forward to for the season. It’s a race (Ladbrokes Champion Chase) that could cut up and he looks like he’s entitled to take his chance in a Grade One.

“We missed Listowel as we thought it was coming a bit too soon for him and he’s having a good blow after that race today.

“He only really does what he has to do, but he’s a grand honest horse and this has been a lucky race for us.”

Owned by Ronnie Bartlett, Galvin was cut to 33-1 from 40-1 for the Cheltenham Gold Cup with Paddy Power.

Elliott added: “He might be more of a Grand National horse than a Gold Cup horse, but he knows how to win.

“He doesn’t want bottomless ground.”

Embittered and jockey Bryan Cooper after their triumph in the Extra Places Everyday at Bet Victor Novice Chase
Embittered and jockey Bryan Cooper after their triumph in the Extra Places Everyday at Bet Victor Novice Chase (Alan Magee/PA)

Embittered landed a first graded success with a game performance in the Extra Places Everyday At BetVictor Novice Chase.

Bryan Cooper sent the Joseph O’Brien-trained seven-year-old into the lead two out after Exit Poll, who had beaten him at Roscommon, faded after setting the pace.

Embittered (5-4 favourite) stuck on well to hold the challenge of Hurricane Georgie by two and a quarter lengths to claim the Grade Three prize.

O’Brien’s assistant Brendan Powell said: “It was probably a bit sharp for him the last day and they got him out of his comfort zone halfway around. The extra few furlongs today suited him.

“He jumped lovely today and I thought he won the race by taking the other horse on a long way out.

“He tends to jump a bit left at times, but he jumped pretty straight today. Bryan gave him a lovely ride.”

My Mate Mozzie on his way to victory in the BetVictor Proud To Support Irish Racing Maiden Hurdle
My Mate Mozzie on his way to victory in the BetVictor Proud To Support Irish Racing Maiden Hurdle (Brian Lawless/PA)

My Mate Mozzie (11-8) was an impressive winner on his debut over the smaller obstacles in the BetVictor Proud To Support Irish Racing Maiden Hurdle.

A point-to-point and bumper scorer, Gavin Cromwell’s five-year-old made all under Sean Flanagan to beat smart Flat performer Barbados by eight lengths.

Cromwell said: “He’s a lovely horse and likes a bit of nice ground. He looks a nice festival horse.

“I haven’t really formed a plan, but maybe something like Leopardstown with some nice ground at Christmas and then the spring. I wouldn’t like to run him on heavy ground.

“He’s a very straightforward horse and has been very good from day one. He does everything professionally.”

My Mate Mozzie was introduced at 50-1 for the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle with Betfair and Paddy Power.

Galvin primed for Punchestown challenge

Cheltenham Festival hero Galvin bids to provide trainer Gordon Elliott with a seventh victory in the Irish Daily Star – Best For Racing Coverage Chase at Punchestown on Wednesday.

It is a decade since Elliott first landed the Grade Three prize with the admirable Roi Du Mee, who successfully defended his crown 12 months later.

Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Don Cossack also landed back-to-back renewals for the Elliott team in 2014 and 2015, with Toner D’Oudairies (2013) and The Storyteller (2020) others on the roll of honour.

Galvin will line up bidding for a sixth successive victory, his most recent coming in the National Hunt Chase at Prestbury Park in March.

The seven-year-old was trained by Ian Ferguson to win at the Festival due to Elliott’s well-publicised suspension, but has returned to Cullentra House ahead of his seasonal reappearance on Wednesday.

“He’s in good form. Obviously he’s giving a good bit of weight away and it’s a big ask, but he’s in good form and it’s a lovely starting point,” said Elliott.

“He’s taking on a few race-fit rivals as well, but we have to start somewhere.”

Galvin must concede 8lb to each of his four opponents in the hands of Davy Russell.

Willie Mullins saddles the Rich and Susannah Ricci-owned pair of Brahma Bull and Annamix, who were last seen finishing second and third respectively in last month’s Kerry National at Listowel.

Dommage Pour Toi (Andrew McNamara) and Snugsborough Hall (Liam Cusack) complete the quintet.

Scottish National remains an option for Festival hero Galvin

Cheltenham Festival winner Galvin will not run in the Irish National, but an outing in the Coral Scottish Grand National is still a possibility.

The seven-year-old quickened up smartly to win the National Hunt Chase last week, proving stamina is no issue in the process.

A second-season novice, he was transferred from Gordon Elliott to Ian Ferguson by owner Ronnie Bartlett before the Festival, but with Galvin having spent his early days with Ferguson, the handler already knew the horse well.

“There’s a possibility he could run in the Scottish National, but definitely not the Irish, – it will come too soon,” said Ferguson.

“He’s been entered at Ayr, so we’ll see how he is between now and then. It looks to be coming up at the right time.

“We know he stays, he’s a good jumper and he acts on decent ground, so he has all the plusses to go there.

“The Irish National was just a bit soon, but he’s come home fine after the race, so we’ll play it by ear and see how we go.

“He’s a quality horse, he’s been a great servant to us all and Cheltenham worked out very well.

“The rating he’s got (154) is understandable, you don’t win five in a row and expect to get off lightly.”

Jack Kennedy to partner Galvin in National Hunt Chase

Jack Kennedy is to ride Galvin in the Sam Vestey National Hunt Challenge Cup Novices’ Chase at Cheltenham on Tuesday.

Galvin has proven course form and is second-favourite for the three-and-three-quarter mile stamina test behind Royale Pagaille.

The seven-year-old has performed creditably at previous Festivals, finishing sixth in the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle in 2019 and runner-up to Imperial Aura in a two-and-a-half-mile handicap chase last year.

Galvin has won all his four starts since then, the latest coming over an extended three miles at Cheltenham in October.

He had been trained by Gordon Elliott, but with the County Meath handler suspended he is being looked after by County Antrim trainer Ian Ferguson, who has had a long association with Galvin’s owner Ronnie Bartlett. He bought Galvin for 34,000 euros at the sales in 2017.

“I look after Mr Bartlett’s horses, buy his horses for him and things. It’s no stranger for me to have Galvin in my yard,” said Ferguson.

“He came in good shape and he seems that way. We were just looking after him until he runs.

“The horse seems well and this was always the target he had from early on in the year. Hopefully he gets there safe and well.

“Jack Kennedy rides.”