Bill pays for Meade
Noel Meade is one of few to have been crowned the leading trainer at the Galway Festival and the Meath-based handler enjoyed success in the feature race on last night's card as Curley Bill toughed it out under Fran Berry to hold off the strongly finishing Bayan in a thrilling finish.
Meade's charge is in again tomorrow in a maiden hurdle, but the five-year-old gave the trainer more than just one reason to be happy, as he later revealed.
"I sold the horse to a few lads before he ran over hurdles at Punchestown and he ran bad on heavy ground and they pulled out of the deal. I hope they are sore now and it was very disappointing, but I'm sure they are disappointed tonight."
Dermot Weld's Show Court was sent off favourite and looked to be going best turning for home, but the four-year-old had to settle for third as he failed to find much in the latter stages and Curley Bill was on hand to claim the €110,000 contest.
"I thought that the second horse was going to nail him as it looked as though he was going to outrun him, but he toughed it out well," continued Meade.
"Fran coaxed him along as he was never travelling and he wants better ground, and he is a summer horse. We ran him in a few bumpers and realised he didn't probably get the trip, and he barely got away with the ground today."
The horse is owned by Philip Reynolds, who is a son of former taoiseach Albert Reynolds and Meade admitted afterwards: "I was on the holiday's with Philip's brother and they decided to buy the horse before he ran at the Curragh. But I have never actually met Philip, only spoke to him on the phone, but he sounds delighted anyway and I'm sure he is!"
Curley Bill brought up a double for Fran Berry as the rider won the first on the David Wachman-trained Hidden Oasis in the colours of JP McManus.
After running with credit on two occasions in previous maidens, most notably behind War Command at Leopardstown, Hidden Oasis went on to romp home by 10 lengths last night and continue a fantastic week for the owner.
Berry explained: "He never really got organised on the firm ground at Fairyhouse but he came home well. We were obviously going a stride slower here on this ground and I was always very happy."
McManus went on to enjoy a double as his horse Bruff won the Galway Blazers for Mouse Morris and Niall 'Slippers' Madden.
Sent off the 5/1 joint favourite, Bruff travelled extremely well throughout the race and justified some good support to beat the other McManus-owned runner Ballyburke by six lengths to give Madden, who was second in Wednesday's Galway Plate, a third win in the Blazers.