We had a decent start to the Galway festival with a winner and a place, but it could have been so much better if Quizical had managed to get his head in front. Le Richebourg scored at prohibitive odds after the withdrawal of the Willie Mullins’ horse and he looked a more than useful type. Unfortunately the ground went against Father Mattie and he will be better on a sound surface. Riverrainshine ran a stinker, fading badly having made most and perhaps he needs to be ridden more patiently.
|Gary Halpin could have another winner in the finale on Day 2.
Quizical ran a massive race and I think he would have justified heavy market support if he didn’t travel so wide in the early stages. Rich History was out with the washing after drifting like a barge in the betting and a watching brief is advised on all the Weld runners on Day 2. Sir Ector was given a poor ride and though he stayed on well when finding daylight, the leaders had flown. Make It Hurrah travelled well but I think he would have liked a bit more rain. Hopefully we have a bit more luck on Day 2 and below are my thoughts on the card.
We managed to find the winner of the opener on Day 1 and hopefully we can repeat the trick on Day 2. The one we like in this Novices’ Hurdle is the Willie Mullins trained filly Law Girl, a 4yo daughter of Lawman who was mightily impressive when opening her account over timber at Roscommon last time out (16f gd/yld).
That was just her second hurdle run and though she will be racing on softer ground here she should have no issues. She won on the level back in France on heavy ground and the yielding/soft surface at Galway should suit. The horse she beat into 2nd at Roscommon by 11L won easy next time out so the form looks strong, and with Ruby up she should be hard to beat at odds of 11/4.
STEVOS’ SELECTION: LAW GIRL @ 11/4
Not a betting heat for me and one I will just watch.
When I first looked at this race I was keen on the chances of the Dermot Weld trained filly Raynama, but after seeing how his horses ran on Day 1 I won’t be touching her. At a nice price I think the Joe Murphy trained filly Shekiba could outrun her odds after she made a very pleasing debut at the Curragh a couple of weeks ago.
The ground was good to firm for that contest, but this daughter of Arcano is related to a couple of horses that handled cut and Boragh Steps, just 1.5L ahead of the selection on debut, franked the form when winning next time out. Shekiba was slow away and nearest at the finish that day and she shaped as though another furlong would suit. If she handles the ground and gets a better start here she could go well and at odds of 14/1 a small each way bet is advised.
STEVOS’ SELECTION: SHEKIBA E/W @ 14/1
I have already tipped one up for this race for Mybettingbonus and you can check it out by clicking here
This 8f handicap looks an absolute minefield and with the likes of Geological and Sands Chorus in the field a breakneck pace looks guaranteed. I think it could set up for a closer, and at tasty odds I think last time out winner Hibou could run big for Scottish raider Ian Jardine and David Nolan. This 4yo son of Street Cry swooped late for a comfortable 1.25L win at Hamilton last time off 87 (8.5f soft) and he should get a strong pace to aim at again here.
He has won on all sorts of ground so he won’t be worried about the weather at Ballybrit and though he has been hiked to a mark of 94 he shaped as though there was a bit more to come when winning at Hamilton. Jardine has had two runners in Ireland in the past 5 seasons and both have placed so he won’t be travelling to Galway for the day out. I think Hibou will have the race run to suit, he will handle the ground and at odds of 16/1 he is the each way selection in a wide open race.
STEVOS’ SELECTION: HIBOU E/W @ 16/1
Denis Hogan is a trainer who knows how to get a horse well handicapped for a certain race, and Atlas looks a very interesting runner for him in this 8.5f handicap. This 4yo son of Acclamation has two placed efforts from 8 starts on turf, and one of his best runs came at this meeting last year when staying on eye-catchingly for 5th off a mark of 77 for Michael O’Callaghan over 7f (yld).
The way he shaped that day suggests that 8.5f around Galway would be ideal, and he has been campaigned on the all weather and over timber since. He gets to race off 10lb lower than for that run here last season and the blinkers are on. Local pilot Leigh Roche has been booked and he has been placed on 2 of 3 rides for Hogan. At odds of 12/1 he looks worth backing to improve on that record with Atlas.
STEVOS’ SELECTION: ATLAS E/W @ 12/1
Last, but not least, on Day 2 is another wide open 7f handicap and the one I like at a massive price is the John Feane trained Midnitemudcrabs. This 4yo filly has been slipping down the handicap since a fine effort over this trip on soft ground at Gowran off 72 when beaten less than a length by Elusive Beauty and she was raised 5lb to 77 for that run. She was well beaten off her revised mark next time at Navan on quicker ground (8f) and again at the Curragh on her next start (7f soft) off 74 when she weakened as though something was amiss.
A mile on good ground at Bellewstown was never likely to suit on her penultimate start, and the same applies to her last run over 6f on good at Fairyhouse. She actually ran well there, shaping as though she was returning to form. She has been dropped to a mark of 73 after those runs and Gary Halpin takes off 3lb so she is effectively 2lb lower than when going close at Gowran. She has her optimum conditions today, she is drawn to attack in stall 4 and at odds of 33/1 I think she can make a bold bid and reward each way support.
STEVOS’ SELECTION: MIDNITEMUDCRABS E/W @ 33/1