Quick picks off Galway rivals
Quick Jack gave trainer Tony Martin and jockey Steven Clements consecutive victories in the feature race on the first day of the Galway Festival, the Connacht Hotel Handicap.
Clements and Martin combined to win the valuable two-mile contest for amateur riders 12 months ago with Edeymi and repeated the dose with this talented five-year-old.
The 5lb claiming jockey only joined the party at the top of the home straight, after Grecian Tiger had surged into a commanding lead once Fosters Cross and Dalasiri faded out of contention.
Grecian Tiger continued to fight the good fight, but he was readily outmuscled by 4-1 favourite Quick Jack, who showed a neat burst of pace inside the final 150 yards to collect by three lengths.
Fire Fighter and Spacious Sky, a stablemate of the winner, finished third and fourth respectively.
Martin said: "He might not get into the Galway Hurdle but he's in a mile-and-a-half handicap and he's also in a hurdle race on Friday.
"We'll see how he is on Thursday morning and we'll give him plenty of time between now and then.
"He's done his job so he's under no pressure to pull out again.
"After Punchestown, we decided to put him away for Galway and, fortunately, it's worked out.
"After finishing second in the November Handicap, we thought he'd have a nice weight for this.
"He's improving all the time and hopefully there'll be some more left after this. He's a right little horse and never lets us down."
Jamaica had earlier ended Dermot Weld's dominance in the claregalwayhotel.ie EBF Maiden when he landed a sizeable punt for the Ballydoyle operation.
The Galileo colt was backed into 4-9 favouritism and was not too hard pressed in landing the odds.
Joseph O'Brien's partner was fourth behind Vocaliser for much of the race, but he took closer order three furlongs out before gaining a slight lead at the top of the straight.
Jamaica responded gamely to his rider's urgings by haring three and a quarter lengths clear of Weld's runner, Postulation, whose trainer had won this race five times in the last six years.
Aidan O'Brien said: "He had a nice first run and came forward well from it.
"You'd have to be very happy with that - he seems to have learnt plenty.
"He won't mind the step up and could go for the Futurity (Curragh, August 24) now. He should get a mile."
Bookmakers Racebets were suitably impressed, with Jamaica cut to 25-1 for the 2015 Epsom Derby.
Willie Mullins had earlier got off to a fine start to the meeting when Mckinley claimed the opening Radissonhotelgalway.com & Galwaybayhotel.com Novice Hurdle.
Given an astute ride by Paul Townend, the 7-1 chance was driven home along the stands side to defeat Ridestan by two and a quarter lengths.
Mullins said: "He's improving and his jumping is improving.
"He's getting more confidence. He handled the ground fairly well.
"I thought it was a very hot race beforehand. I'm very happy he has improved from his maiden."
Henry de Bromhead then hit the target when (12-1) Beckwith Star charged three and a quarter lengths clear of Eric The Grey in the Easyfix Rubber Products Handicap Hurdle.
De Bromhead said: "He could run over hurdles or fences later in the week, he's very adaptable.
"Now that we know he goes on good ground we might run him more on it."
Winning jockey Brian Hayes said: "It's nice to have a good winner in Galway to keep the ball rolling.
"He's a straightforward horse."
Galway king Dermot Weld got off the mark in the penultimate race when Timiyan showed the way home in the Pillo Hotel Handicap over a mile and a half.
The 3-1 chance, ridden by Pat Smullen, eventually got the better of bold trailblazer Resiliency passing the one-furlong pole to score by five lengths.
Primogeniture, the 5-2 favourite, was third.
Weld said: "He's a nice staying horse.
"They went a cracking gallop all the way and he got a great ride from Pat.
"The step up in trip helped and being gelded helped, too.
"He's a late-maturing horse who appreciated the better ground. The mile and a half suits him well."
Weld again had to be content with second place in the concluding Colm Quinn BMW Flat Race when Call Vinnie, the 5-4 favourite, was convincingly subdued by Princely Conn (7-1).
Expensive Taste (12-1) was earlier kept on the straight and narrow by Chris Hayes to defeat Botanical Lady by three-quarters of a length in the Claytonhotelgalway.ie Handicap.
Trainer Andy Oliver said: "He's in again on Friday night.
"He's quite a big horse and Chris said he did take a heave so hopefully he will be OK for Friday night."