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Tom Weekes

Tom Weekes

Santa Rossa wins Grimes Hurdle, is Galway-bound

Thu 30th Jun 2022, 20:20

Santa Rossa and Darragh O Keeffe
© Photo Healy Racing

Dermot McLoughlin is targeting the Galway Hurdle with Santa Rossa which today won Tipperary's Grade 3 Kevin McManus Bookmaker Grimes Hurdle for the Irish Grand National winning trainer.

The daughter of Jeremy had previously won a Grade 2 bumper at the 2019 Dublin Festival and while a beaten 11/10 favourite at Killarney last month, today bounced back to form under jockey Darragh O'Keeffe.

The 11-runner race featured five J.P. McManus-owned runners, including heavily-backed 8/11 favourite Saint Roi who faded tamely, having raced keenly. Prominent-racing Santa Rossa eventually shook off the challenge of last year's winner Sole Pretender for a three lengths win.

McLoughlin, who won consecutive Irish Grand Nationals with Freewheelin Dylan in 2021, and April's winner Lord Lariat, reported "the plan was to jump her out - she was shuffled back the last day at Killarney and it didn't suit.

“They were well strung out at halfway and I thought they went too quick but he (O'Keeffe) said he had plenty of horse and said she jumped and travelled well.

"She is a quality mare and can be keen but is better in a better race like that. Maybe the way to ride her is with a good gallop and with a bit of light as she seems to settle.

"She will keep going until the weather changes and the Galway Hurdle might be an option for her and she'll get in now. We might also run her on the flat."