Cove fits the Galway bill
Saturday 4 August 2012
Veteran Ballybrit specialist Fit The Cove won the Galway Shopping Centre Handicap for the second time on the closing day of the Galway Festival - eight years after his first success.
Now a 12-year-old, Fit The Cove was winning for the fifth time at Galway and made great use of a plum draw in the hands of Chris Hayes. Sent off the 3-1 favourite, he won by two and a half lengths.
Winning trainer Harry Rogers said: "He loves it around here. A mile stretched him the last day. He got the run of the race today. He still retains his enthusiasm and has his engine. He is in at Sligo on Wednesday and he'll probably run there."
Paddy O Dee put up a bold front-running display to waltz away with the feature event, the Connacht Tribune Handicap Chase. Racing from 1lb out of the handicap, Mark Enright set out to make full use of his very light weight and his rivals did not see which way he went.
Philip Rothwell's 10-1 chance was in splendid isolation turning into the straight and beat Darenjan by 28 lengths.
The trainer said: "I'm thrilled to bits. I always believed if he snuck in off a light weight in one of these type of races that there was a good race in him. The winning distance was no reflection on how well handicapped he was as he got things his own way and things worked out really well."
Shadow Eile (2-1 favourite) notched up her second win at the Festival from three runs in the Easyfix EBF Mares Handicap Hurdle.
Having finished eighth on Monday, she then won on the Flat on Friday and showed her versatility in winning by four and a half lengths under Andrew McNamara.
Trainer Dot Love's assistant Ciaran Murphy said: "She was in super form. She travels so well and we might pick out a nice Flat race in the autumn like the Cesarewitch or the November Handicap. In the meantime she'll go over hurdles at Killarney, and long-term the mares hurdle at Cheltenham is the plan."
Dermot Weld drew a blank on the final day, meaning he ended the Festival with nine winners. He did, however, take the day's main race at Cork with Sapphire.