Price is right for Marito to strike for McBratney in the big one
Although aged just six, Dermot Weld's Stuccodor has quite a long CV going back to 2012, and has clocked up six wins from 19 races including the Irish Lincolnshire Handicap in 2014.
He was disappointing in that race last time out off 6lbs higher, but was previously unlucky not to win over sticks when second in a maiden hurdle on New Year's Day under Davy Russell.
On that occasion, Russell was perhaps a little too confident and left the gelding with quite a bit to do late on although that's understandable considering his mount went off at 4/11.
It's only a matter of time before this one wins a maiden hurdle and Russell can make amends this afternoon in the opening Tote 100,000 Pick6 Guarantee Maiden Hurdle (3.0), albeit at a short enough price of 13/8.
The Tote Mobile App Mares Handicap Hurdle is up next (3.35) and the Patrick Mooney-trained Colla Pier is one to consider at 12/1. Second in a handicap hurdle at Bellewstown last time, a mark of 99 looks reasonably fair.
At 25/1, I'm going to go each-way on Powersbomb in the Tote Handicap Hurdle (4.10). His price is quite high as he was brought down at Down Royal last time although he was already well beaten at that stage. Previously, he sweated up at Kilbeggan before running very keenly so I can understand that punters are not warming to him today. But deep down he has a bit of talent and might be worth one more chance at a big price.
Finian Maguire, the young son of Adrian Maguire, has rode a couple of winners for Dermot Weld in the past and gets the ride on Time To Inspire (11/4) in the Bet On All UK Racing With Tote (QR) Maiden (4.45). A half-brother to Forgotten Rules, he can bounce back from a below-par effort at Navan last time in which he seemed a little stretched at the slightly longer trip.
Finding the likely winner of the Galway Plate (5.30) is never easy and once again, this year's renewal looks wide open. Sitting midway down the weights with 10st 11lbs, the Colin McBratney trained Marito offers plenty of each-way value at 20/1 or thereabouts. At the beginning of the year, he was rated as 153 but he struggled in a couple of handicaps since and the assessor has cut him some slack. Running off 140 last time, he hit 1/8 in-running in a handicap chase at Down Royal before getting pipped at the post by a resurgent Make A Track.
Considering Gordon Elliott's Make A Track has since followed up with a win at Punchestown, I reckon the former Rich Ricci-owned gelding could have more to come today off a mark of 143. With eight wins from 12 races, Alelchi Inois is sure to prove popular for the formidable Willie Mullins and Ruby Walsh combination. Up-and-coming seven-year-olds have a great record in this race but the bookmakers are taking no chances and he seems a little short in the betting at 5/1.
Gary Halpin claims 5lbs in the following 50-70 handicap (6.05) which should help give backers of Six Silver Lane a run for their money at 14/1, while Current State is of interest in the Bet Online At thetote.com Handicap (6.40) following a decisive maiden win at Naas recently.
In the past five years, the Dermot Weld and Pat Smullen team have enjoyed an astonishing 37pc strike rate at the Galway Festival and New Agenda can hit the bookies where it hurts in the closing maiden (7.10). A son of New Approach, he deserves credit for coming third on his debut over 1m2f as the trip was a little long - but a drop down to a mile today should see him get off the mark at 11/10.
3.0 - Stuccodor
3.35 - Colla Pier
4.10 - Powersbomb (e/w)
4.45 - Time To Inspire
5.30 - Marito (e/w)
6.05 - Six Silver Lane
6.40 - Current State
7.10 - New Agenda