Trainer Brian Duffy had some divine intervention on his route to the to Galway to win the €120,000 Colm Quinn BMW Mile Handicap with Magic Chegaga on Tuesday at the Galway Festival.

It was the biggest success of the Meath-based trainer’s training career. It was just his fourth in total. However, it very nearly never happened after the horse box overheated in Rochfortbridge and they pulled into a nearby churchyard to assess the damage.

Duffy went into the Church to pray for better luck before the five-year-old mare was shipped in with stablemate Mean Fomhair in a box for the rest of the journey.

It wasn’t ideal preparation, but everything went smoothly when she hit the track as Colin Keane negotiated a tough draw in stall 19 to score by half a length.

Speaking on Friday Night Racing, Duffy explained the full story of his interesting journey from Trim to Galway.

“We sat off from Trim, we thought we’d be good and early, but the second runner we had could be quite cantankerous in the box,” Duffy said.

“She always has to try and have a go at whatever is beside her when you travel with her. For going the long haul up to Galway, we didn’t want either of them to get really worked up, so we said we’d get two boxes.

“We’d just go in tandem and go as a little convoy. I was following my dad in another Jeep. I saw the turn off for Galway, and I saw him heading for Milltown Pass.

“I said, ‘what is going on here?’ We pulled in and the Jeep he was driving was overheating, the coolant was flying out of it. Lucky enough, he had a bit on him, we put it in, and we only went a few miles and the light wasn’t going off.

“So, instead of travelling with a partition, we had to travel them together with no partition.”

‘I prayed that they don’t kick the living daylights out of each other’

While Magic Chegaga is no stranger to rooming with other mares on the road, it is usually for short trips. This time, however, both horses were not happy to be sharing a box.

“It was a bit hairy for a few minutes,” Duffy said. “We just pulled into a carpark. It turned out to be the church carpark in Milltown Pass!

“We pulled the two of them out of the box and walked them around the carpark for a few minutes. I said a prayer that they don’t kick the living daylights out of each other down to Galway!

“We got there in one piece anyway.”

All Duffy was thinking, aside from hoping the neighbours in the area weren’t watching him parade his horses in the church carpark, was that he’d get both horses to the races in one piece.

“We’d stopped about three times in the space of about 10km,” Duffy said. “By the time we’d stopped [in the church carpark] they were kind of wound up.

“We were walking them around the carpark, it was nice and calm, so they did a couple of laps of Milltown Pass church carpark!”