The final of the Paul McKenna Memorial A3/A4 575 brought the curtain down on racing at Galway for 2022 and the €1,500 decider went the way of Rocket Fergie, handled by leading trainer at the track, Stephen Murray.
Drombeg Khalesi was the well-supported 4/5 favourite heading into the feature but it was Rocket Fergie, who hadn’t managed to land a blow previously in the stake, that ran a stormer to land the spoils at good odds of 4/1. In truth, it proved a relatively easy success for Sean and John Hayes’ charge as despite being led early doors by the jolly, displayed huge pace down the back to quickly put the contest to bed. Drombeg Khalesi got off to the best start from trap two and the long run to the opener saw the fawn take a one length lead into the back from Rocket Fergie in second and Oaklands Lad in six. However, Rocket Fergie loomed alongside the favourite within a matter of strides and soon asserted to swoop the penultimate turn and take a three length lead. Drawing clear thereafter, the son of the very talented Peregrine Falcon and Dream Delight excelled up the home straight and he crossed the line with a healthy, six and a half length lead in hand. A dominant performance from Stephen Murray’s charge, the time was a quick 31.84 .10s as Burnpark Crash came through for second, with Oaklands Lad filling the podium back in third. Many thanks are extended to the sponsor, Vincent McKenna, on what has been another terrific competition at Galway.
Indeed, Vincent McKenna enjoyed a double on last night’s card as he sent out both Ballygrauige Ros and So Its Rapid to victory.
Ballygrauige Ros was the first to land victory in his S3/S4 350 contest in race five. Sent to traps as the even money favourite, the son of Rosbirr Ranger and Classy Ebony, owned by Thomas Bourke, made it three wins from his last four starts with an emphatic display. Breaking best of all from the stripes, Ballygrauige Ros made every yard of the running to gallop to a comfortable, three length success over Johnny Ger Gar in second. The time was 19.28 .5s.
The double was completed in race nine as litter brother, So Its Rapid, recorded a fifth career victory with a fine display in a good class contest. A 2/1 shot at the off, Paul Pardy’s charge disputed early doors with Drombeg Jake in six but he ran a fantastic opening corner to quickly produce daylight. Holding a three length lead down the back, So Its Rapid showed fine determination to maintain his advantage and despite Cheero making rapid inroads in the closing yards, So Its Rapid stayed strong to secure a one and a half length success. The time was a good 29.16 .10s.
Elsewhere on the card, the concluding race saw Abigails Hope make it three wins on the spin at the Connacht venue as she once again displayed all of her battling qualities.
Owned by Abigail Morrissey, Abigails Hope is a real pocket rocket and she was installed as the 6/4 favourite to secure her hat-trick in the final race of 2022 at Galway. It was Aulton Rafa who showed first from trap three and he turned in front as Abigails Hope stuck to the rail in trap one to turn a close third. However, showing the better of the back straight pace was the daughter of Premier Fantasy and Geelo Lu Lu and she took command rounding the penultimate turn. Once doing so, there was only going to be one winner and the 59-pounder showed impressive stamina to race to a three and a half length victory over Jumbos Bella in second. The time was 29.32 .10s.