THREE horses who had been making news among the racing fraternity earlier in the week, finished first, second and fourth in Wednesday’s final qualifying round in the Treo Eile thoroughbred class at the Stepping Stones to Success league at Wexford Equestrian. The winner was the eight-year-old stallion Galileo Dance, who had a fence down for a total of 28.5 penalties, while his six-year-old full-brother, Galileo Secret, finished fourth on 33.8 having picked up eight jumping penalties. The sons of Galileo, who featured in an article in the Racing Post on Sunday, were partnered for Julie Radden by Patrick Whelan, who is joint-owner of the younger horse.

The pair, who were both in training with Joseph O’Brien, were bred by Canada’s Charles Fipke out of the Danehill Dancer mare Dance Secretary, a maiden-winning, Group 3-placed half-sister to the Sadler’s Wells stallion Perfect Soul, who earned over £1 million in prize money.

Galileo Dance, who was unplaced in a bumper and in four races on the flat, was foaled in France, while the unraced Galileo Secret was foaled in the United States. They differ physically too, Galileo Dance being a compact bay, while his brother is a tall chesnut. They both competed in the thoroughbred stallion class/exhibition at the Dublin Horse Show last August, where Galileo Dance won the Croker Cup. That class is one of the targets for the pair again this year.

“It was good for Galileo Dance to win and I was delighted with him,” said Whelan. “As he is being used for breeding, I’m not thinking of anything for him after the final until Dublin, but the other fellow is learning his trade and may do a bit more. Galileo Dance evented back in 2022, when he won an EI90 and two EI100s and may do some more in the autumn.”

As he was competing at Wexford Equestrian on Wednesday, Barnadown on Thursday and with eventers aimed at both Crecora tomorrow and the Ballindenisk international next week, we were relieved to learn that Whelan is no longer riding out in the mornings for local point-to-point trainer Harley Dunne. “I gave that up before I went to Kronenberg,” said the rider.

Busy schedule

On Tuesday, the dual Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Al Boum Photo was one of the stars of the evening at the Women’s Irish Network for Racing (WINR) and Treo Eile spring showcase at the Racing Academy and Centre of Education in Kildare.

On Wednesday, the French-bred Buck’s Boum gelding was at Wexford Equestrian, where the 12-year-old finished second, on his dressage score (30.5), under Louise Duffy, who has previously successfully re-trained other graduates of Willie Mullins’ Closutton yard, such as Assessed and Arvika Ligeonniere.

Rachael Doyle was placed once again on Le Grande Pomme, whose total of 32.6 included four jumping penalties.

This eight-year-old Milan gelding, who pulled up in all three of his well spaced-out point-to-point starts, is out of the Apple Tree mare Pomme Tiepy, whose seven wins included two Grade 2 novice chases, while she was also Grade 1-placed over fences. A half-brother to the Grade 2 chase winner Mortal (by Kings Theatre), Le Grande Pomme cost €40,000 as a foal and twice that as a three-year-old. All 14 starters completed.

Pony class winner, Tom Hayden and Tullowcussane Peaches at the penultimate leg of the Stepping Stone to Success series \ Tadhg Ryan / Bit-Media

Pony producers

There was a second success in the TRI Equestrian pony producers’ class for the Connemara mare Tullowcussane Peaches (192.3 marks), although the grey missed out on league points when winning earlier in the month. The Derryveeney Cruise five-year-old is ridden by Fethard’s Tom Hayden for his mother Mary, who bred the dual winner out of Shanagolden Báire, a Coosheen Stormboy own-sister to Charlie of Blakehill.

Belline Equestrian-based Caitie Slater improved a place from last week to finish second with her own and her mother Alison’s five-year-old Condios mare Grantstown VIP (186.3), with veterinary physiotherapist Leah Kent placing third on one of her two rides in the class, the Connemara gelding Gusty (179.6), a four-year-old dun by Little Chieftain. All 19 starters completed.

All videos from the Viewing Day should be posted online shortly, so check out the Wexford Equestrian Facebook page for further information.

The Stepping Stones to Success league final takes take next Tuesday, April 23rd, and the start lists will appear on Equipe this evening.