Willie Mullins was once again crowned leading trainer at the Galway Festival after ending the week with 12 winners.
The perennial champion National Hunt trainer has enjoyed another fantastic week at Ballybrit, remarkably winning the feature event on five of the seven days.
The obvious highlight was Sharjah’s victory in Thursday’s Galway Hurdle, with the trainer’s son, Patrick, in the saddle.
The Closutton maestro’s big-race winners also included Riven Light, who claimed the BMW Mile for the second year in succession despite having been off the track since suffering a serious leg injury in Australia last October.
Mullins’ total for the week equalled his tally from last year. Dermot Weld is the only trainer to have more winners in a week at Galway, with 17 victories in 2011
After seeing odds-on favourite Dorrells Pierji win the the very last race of the week, the Fr. Breen Memorial (Pro-Am) INH Flat Race, Mullins said: “The horses were in great form all week and the jockeys were all riding fantastic as well.
“I’m delighted the way the whole week turned out, and my staff have been excellent all week.
“Sharjah would have to be the highlight, but Riven Light also has to come in there as well. I’m delighted also to have Ruby (Walsh) back in winning form, too.
“We’re lucky to have such good owners behind the yard and without them we wouldn’t be able to have Festivals like this.”
Mark Enright was confirmed as the top National Hunt jockey after riding his third winner of the meeting aboard Henry de Bromhead’s Show And Go in the Lord Hemphill Memorial Handicap Chase.
Enright, who considered retirement after battling depression a couple of years ago, steered the Gordon Elliott-trained Clarcam to glory in Wednesday’s Galway Plate and completed a double on the same afternoon through Jessica Harrington’s Rovetta in a mares’ handicap hurdle.
The leading Flat jockey was Billy Lee, who also enjoyed three winners.
Lee won on Tom Hogan’s Honor Oak and Shark Hanlon’s Camlann on Thursday, before landing the featured Guinness Handicap on Friday aboard the Mullins-trained Nessun Dorma.
The total attendance for the week was 132,691, and while that was down from 137,682 last year, general manager Michael Moloney was able to reflect on the meeting as a great success.
He said: “I’m delighted with how the week has gone. We had a great crowd here on Monday and we were obviously a bit affected by the weather on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, but we had a huge crowd of over 30,000 on Friday.
“We’ve had some great racing and a huge amount of runners. It’s the most runners I can remember with maximum fields in many races and some great finishes.
“It’s been a positive week and roll on now for our 150-year anniversary (in 2019).”