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Gala Marceau

Most of the focus after the Spring Juvenile Hurdle at Leopardstown last Saturday was on Lossiemouth, which was understandable, she was definitely impeded. That said, it is possible that Gala Marceau did not receive due recognition for winning the race as a result.

Willie Mullins’ mare was keen through the early stages of the race, as she had been when she had finished second to Lossiemouth on her Irish debut at Leopardstown over Christmas. She was still keen as they raced to the end of the back straight, but she still travelled well for Danny Mullins across the top of the track just behind the leaders. She moved up on the outside of her stable companion Cinsa at the second last flight, moved into the lead – still keen – on the run to the home turn, and picked up well when her rider asked her to. She came away from another stable companion Tekao on the run to the final flight, and she had enough in reserve to hold off the challenge of yet another stable companion Lossiemouth on the run-in.

You can easily argue that the incident in the back straight, in which Lossiemouth was hampered and shuffled back in the field, cost her more than the two and a half lengths by which she was beaten – she had to go wide too around the home turn as a consequence – but she wasn’t closing on Gala Marceau on the run to the line. The winner had seven and a half lengths to find with her stable companion on their running at Christmas, but that was her first run in Ireland, whereas Lossiemouth had had a run. Also, Gala Marceau was keen again here. There is every chance that she will settle better in a Triumph Hurdle, firstly because the pace will probably be stronger, and secondly because she should be learning to settle better as she gains in experience. She is a big player in the Triumph Hurdle picture, and the last two Spring Hurdle winners won the Triumph Hurdle.
Leopardstown, 4th February 2023