Vastonea returns to reign at Galway again
The Kevin Prendergast trained Vastonea recorded his second success in the Topaz Mile Handicap at Galway, with a strong staying performance to cut down the front-running Piri Wango by three parts of a length.
The six-year-old was returning to the race which he won in 2012 and finished third in last years renewal, becoming only the second horse to win the race twice.
Under the guidance of young Gary Halpin, Vastonea was switched to the outside coming out of the dip and travelled strongly up the unique Galway hill, to cut down the long time leader by a narrow margin.
Piri Wango finished an honourable second, with English raider Baraweez back in third for trainer Brian Ellison.
Gary Halpin said: “It’s great to win it especially for the boss. The old horse is as genuine as they come. He knows his way round here better than I do. They went good and hard. I was flat out the whole way and I was never happy until the dip. He took me from there up the straight, he loves battling. He was in off the same mark as two years ago.”
Kevin Prendergast said: “It has been a very lucky race for us over the years. It’s nice to be here and nice to get a winner with nice Galway people. He was a little bit better off at the weights this year. The old boy seems to like the place.
“Norman (Ormiston) is still a big shareholder in him but he’s a family horse. He’s an easy ride and Gary’s been riding him work. My daughter Natasha’s wedding reception is tomorrow and that will help pay for it! She got married two years ago in Melbourne and is having the reception back home tomorrow.”
By Joseph Smyth / Photo: Brian Lawless/PA Wire
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