Bumper experience should be enough to get Call Vinnie home
IN last Monday's Irish Independent, I tipped up the Dermot Weld-trained Call Vinnie for the bumper and, as he picked up around the home turn, I called for a round of drinks at the bar, with the five-year-old seemingly home and hosed.
In-running punters on the machine thought so, too, and the gelding traded as low as 1/4 before being outstayed by the more experienced bumper horse Princely Conn.
The pints went down well with the lads but it was an expensive reminder for me that the hill at Galway can empty out a tank in a flash and, just like Cheltenham, you should never count your chickens at Ballybrit until the horse is safely across the line.
Still, the experience will have done Call Vinnie some good and Robbie McNamara teams up with the point-to-point winner again to hopefully make amends in the Ladbrokes Top Treble Flat Race (5.55).
At 7/4, I reckon there's a good chance of getting my money back although I've a slight concern Tony Martin's Fill Your Hands (9/2) may scupper the bet, having finished third in a bumper at Kilbeggan in May.
As we saw with Thomas Edison in the Galway Hurdle, Martin certainly knows how to prepare a horse for a specific race and the market should be a good guide to his chances.
Dessie Hughes' Off The Charts has claims at 6/1 in the Ladbrokes Handicap Hurdle (3.10) but the Martin Brassil trained topweight Celestial Prospect gets my vote at 7/1 following a minor success at Cork last time.
Previously, he beat the smart handicapper Acapulco Gold in a competitive handicap hurdle Gowran and I suspect the assessor does not yet have his measure despite his rating going up by a stone to 134 in the space of three months.
In the south of England at Goodwood, Aidan O'Brien's Venus De Milo can raid the lion's share of the £200,000 prize on offer for the Markel Insurance Nassau Stakes (3.15), priced around 9/4.
Second in the Group One Pretty Polly Stakes at Irish HQ, she beat Dazzling to win the Munster Oaks at Cork in June and it will be disappointing if she doesn't make the most of the opportunity in what is a somewhat substandard renewal of this Group One.
The main concern is that her best form is mostly over a mile and a half but, unlike some of her rivals, she's a proven performer on firmer ground which could prove to be a decisive factor.
Of the rest, you'd expect Alain de Royer Dupre's Narniyn to give a good account of herself at 7/2. She's won a number of Group Three races and must be respected although she seems to act best on soft going.
Mango Diva (4/1) is the best of the domestic challengers for Michael Stoute. Her trainer has won this race seven times (most recently in 2004) and some of her best races came in and around this distance.
AS usual, the Stewards' Cup at Goodwood (3.50) is extremely competitive, and Muthmir is sure to prove popular following his demolition job in the Sky Bet Dash last week.
But all that is priced in to his odds of 6/1 and preference is for Ninjago which is expected to go off at a decent each-way price of 14/1.
The Richard Hannon-trained colt was fifth in this race last year and it might be worth forgiving a poor showing last time out.
2.35 Galway: Marchese Marconi
3.10 Galway: Celestial Prospect
3.15 Goodwood: Venus de Milo
3.45 Galway: Spryt
3.50 Goodwood: Ninjago (e/w)
5.55 Galway: Call Vinnie
Do The Double
HAVING been torn apart by Dublin in the Leinster final, confidence in the Meath camp is bound to be low going into this evening's All-Ireland qualifier against Armagh. If they couldn't muster a fight against their old rivals Dublin, it's hard to see them progressing much further.
Armagh, meanwhile, arrive at Croke Park in decent form following good victories over Tyrone and Roscommon and momentum is on their side. At 4/5 to qualify, the Orchard County are a good bet.
AIDAN O'BRIEN'S Marchese Marconi is a half-brother to Endless Power and shaped well on his hurdle debut when second of 24 runners at Punchestown back in May. He's also useful on the Flat and has since won a minor event for amateur riders at Limerick.
O'Brien's charge remains open to improvement over hurdles and a price of 11/8 seems reasonable in the opening Ladbrokes Mobile Maiden Hurdle at Galway this afternoon (2.35).
- Last week's double was successful at an overall price of just over 11/2.