Al salutes in open company

Imported gelding Al Galayel finally put two wins together and did it impressively in the Events @ The Valley Handicap at Moonee Valley on Saturday.

Ridden by Craig Williams, the son of Zoffany settled second last throughout the run and then tracked up into the race at the 600m to hit the lead with 100m to go and fought on strong to win by half a length.

Williams, who now has two wins from two rides on the horse, credited Ciaron Maher and David Eustace for keeping the horse happy to allow him to still race well, this far into his campaign.

“They spaced this horse’s runs, he came here presented over 10 furlongs in a step up again in grade and he just really enjoyed himself,” Williams told post-race.

“We were able to ride him a bit more conservative from the tricky draw and he’s responded really well so they’ve done a great job managing him and most importantly his attitude because he’s a happy horse.”

Co-trainer David Eustace was on course at The Valley for the win and believes there could be bigger and better things in store for al Galayel.

“He’s a real flag bearer for the stable and is starting to look very, very progressive so it was pretty impressive,” Eustace said.

“It’s probably his style of racing, to chase, and he travels very strong into it.

“He’s never going to win very far, he does have a look around when he hits the front and the visors have probably just got that extra bit out of him instead of the blinkers.

“I think there’s a nice race in him.

“I think he’ll get a mile and a half, he switches off nicely, and now that he looks like he’s getting beyond open company we’ll have to have a think about where that’ll be.

“He looks very versatile, track and trip from 2000 and beyond.”

The co-trainer also believes there’s no reason for the five-year-old to head to the paddock, despite being up racing since June, as he hasn’t dropped in weight and is still enjoying racing.

He spends a lot of time at the beach and only comes in for a gallop between runs so that seems to be the key to keeping him fresh and racing consistently well.

Other notable mentions from Saturday’s racing were Soul Star who returned to the races at Moonee Valley very impressively and two-year-old Igniting who made his debut at Randwick.

Soul Star ran second to what looks to be a serious horse of Mick Price’s after coming wide around the home turn and flashing home.

Igniting drew a poor barrier and raced wide from a poor barrier and also flashed home to finish second and is definitely one to watch for the future.