Ashforth's Angles: Time for Gallagher to dig for victory

Pat Gallagher

Pat Gallagher: entitled to more success on the racecourse

  PICTURE: Caroline Norris (  

 By David Ashforth 6:00PM 17 JAN 2017 

WHAT is the connection between a Van Voorden Apollo 6 primary saw, the Racing UK Anywhere Handicap (Class 7) at Kempton (4.20pm) and the Ascot Gold Cup? You’ve no idea, have you?

The answer, of course, is that it’s a Van Voorden Apollo 6 primary saw that carves out the ragstone from the Hermitage Quarry in Kent. Ragstone won the 1974 Ascot Gold Cup and the Hermitage Quarry is owned by Gallagher Aggregates Limited. Gallagher Equine Limited is a subsidiary of Gallagher Aggregates and owns Rezwaan, who runs in the 4.20 at Kempton.

The whole lot, including the saw, is owned by Pat Gallagher. So is the stable of Rezwaan’s trainer Murty McGrath, who was once Jenny Pitman’s head groom and appeared in one of Pitman’s novels, The Dilemma. You never know, it might come up in a quiz.

Gallagher has owned horses for a long time, his best being Leitrim House, who Brian Meehan trained to win two Listed races and the 2004 Group 3 Tetrarch Stakes at the Curragh. There have been quite a few winners but almost all at a humble level.

Rezwaan, now a ten-year-old, has won eight times for Gallagher including six for McGrath but not since June 2015, the date of McGrath’s most recent success.

Sydney Ruffdiamond, trained by Richard Hughes, won for Gallagher Equine Limited last year and so did Freemason, trained by Gary Moore but if I was asked for my opinion (I haven’t been) I’d opine that the time has come to enjoy the fruits of all that quarrying.

Gallagher Aggregates is a very successful company. Gallagher is 67. Man cannot live by digging up rocks alone. There are some cracking maiden point-to-point winners available for a couple of hundred thousand pounds each or how about vowing to own a Flat horse better than Leitrim House. Give Gallagher Equine full rein!

The ideal name for a purchase would be Ragstone, a name with classy associations and a strong link to Gallagher’s success. There is one slight problem, apart from the possibility that Gallagher chooses to treat my suggestion with contempt. As the winner of the Ascot Gold Cup, albeit over 40 years ago, Ragstone’s name is on the international list of protected names. Never mind, the horse could be called Ragstone Boy or Ragstone Girl or Ragstone Transgender (too many letters).

So that’s that sorted out. Finding a winner is much trickier. Will Ruth Carr’s initiative in returning the horribly disappointing Lexington Times to Lingfield (12.50), the scene of his Listed race victory in March 2015, pay off? Subsequently rated 108 and 94 as recently as September, the five-year-old is now down to 79. The trouble is, he deserves to be.

I live in hope of Encapsulated (4.05) finally winning again for trainer Roger Ingram and daughter Rhiain. On his latest appearance, over course and distance, Encapsulated just got caught, at 25-1. From stall 1, expect to see him blast off and, hopefully, hang on.

I think that’s all. Yep, it is. 

Horse Racing News | Racing Post

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