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Chance should be taken in Mile

The Galway hurlers went down in an epic clash at Croke Park yesterday, but nevertheless all roads lead to the capital of the west this week as the Galway Races now take centre stage.

The feature race tomorrow evening is the Topaz Galway Mile which features the last two winners of the race in Rock And Roll Kid and Celtic Dane, as well as course specialist Miranda's Girl, who in 2008 was a two-time winner at the Galway Festival for the Cleary family.

As would have to be expected over the coming week at a meeting like the Festival, this is a competitive race with a number of the field in contention for top honours.

Michael Halford won the race with Quinmaster in 2006 and is chosen to win it again this year with the recent Killarney victor If Per Chance.

The five-year-old was the subject of a successful gamble on that occasion just over a fortnight ago and while he probably wouldn't want the ground too quick, conditions at Ballybrit look like being ideal for the son of Danetime.

If Per Chance is selected to follow on the popular victory last time to see off the British raider Capponi, who may just lack the experience to win a fiercely contested handicap around an undulating Galway.

After a double on Derby weekend at the Curragh, trainer Mark Johnson expressed his desire to make more trips to Ireland and he may have found a decent opportunity for one of his handicappers as Capponi could just be well treated on an Irish mark of 102 and is thus entitled to run a big race.

The aforementioned Miranda's Girl will have to be considered as she will run 13lbs lower in the handicap than she did when ninth and beaten less than six-lengths in this race last year.

Those who like an each-way flutter should keep an eye on her as her last two runs (both over seven-furlongs) were very decent and should leave her primed at what is an emotional venue for the Clearys.

The best bet of the day looks like coming over jumps, however, as James Lambe's classy Natal returns to Ballybrit in search of a second win in as many years in the Latin Quarter Chase at 5.45.

A former Paul Nicholls inmate, Natal is rated 147 over fences which gives him plenty in hand of all of his rivals in this contest, and despite his inferiority, he even receives three pounds off some of his rivals due to the conditions of the race.

Tony Mullins' Decoy Daddy is a consistent sort and he may fill the minor honours as too could Killenaule Boy for Edward O'Grady.

In tomorrow's other contest over obstacles, Dermot Weld will be represented by Universal Truth who is likely to be prominent in the betting despite a moderate debut over hurdles back on St Stephen's Day.

A chance is taken on Eoin Griffin enjoying a big victory with Drumfire who will be having his second start for the trainer, his first being a notable run behind Profound Beauty on the level at Leopardstown and although well beaten that day, if he takes to the hurdling game he could be a bit of an outsider for tomorrow's first.

On the level, Pat Flynn has been trusted with our selection to take the big race this evening and his recent Ladies Derby winner Mon Champion may add to the Waterford handler's strong team at Galway this week.

An impressive winner at the Curragh, Mon Champion has been a consistent sort and should be able to claim the Topaz Handicap over 2m.

Jim Bolger's Hasty Katie and Dermot Weld's Palm Ridge are selected to take the maiden's at 7.35 and 8.35 respectively while He's Got Rhythm can provide David Marnane with a festival winner in the Caulfield Industrial Estate Athlone Handicap proving that a step up back to a mile was a profitable move.



Cronin's Choice

5.10 Drumfire

5.45 Natal (NAP)

6.20 Mon Champion

7.00 If Per Chance

7.35 Hasty Katie

8.05 He's Got Rhythm

8.35 Palm Ridge


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