Brendan Brackan can foil Vastonea double bid in feature event
UP and running in Galway, and the tempo of the Festival picks up appreciably over the next 24 hours. We're still on evening racing at the minute and the Topaz Mile Handicap is the big race of the day. Surprisingly, it's one of the few at the Festival that hasn't been that kind to Dermot Weld.
Only Stunning View in 2011 has obliged for him since the turn of the Millennium, but he has a good shout here in Tandem. The four-year-old is lightly raced and despite being a course and distance winner, he's carrying a significant 9lb hike which means he could get gobbled up in a very competitive field.
Last year's first and second-placed horses (Vastonea and Pintura) are back for another go and they won't be far away. However, no horse has won this race twice in the last 20 years, which suggests the latter is up against it. Therefore I'm going to plump for Brendan Brackan to edge them all.
Favourites tend not to do too well in this one and Ger Lyons' horses are in great form, so his four-year-old can come out of the pack to secure the day's biggest prize.
I have a spin in the first of the day with Que Pasa for David Kelly. He's a good sort and we got a win at Down Royal in June and we were second in Killarney earlier this month too, meaning he's in good form.
That day we were beaten by Shamar for Willie Mullins – he impressed me and I think he'll record his third win on the bounce here. And that would add to what could be a very successful week for the strong team Willie has brought to Galway.
The Latin Quarter Chase gets under way at 5.40 and I'm on Dantes King for Gordon Elliott, but he's carrying a high rating into this one.
Rathlin for Mouse Morris gets my nod. This sound jumper and relentless galloper looks like he's been back to his best in recent times and Davy Russell looks like he has a good one here.
In the fillies' maiden, Tarfasha catches my eye. She ran for the first time two weeks ago where, although she was beaten, she looked to be staying on well. With natural improvement she'll be in the shake-up here.
In the evening's penultimate race, Fit The Cove gets the nod for me. Harry Rogers' horse seems to like it around here and that makes him a very good each-way bet.
Jim Bolger has a big engagement this week with Dawn Approach's tilt at the Sussex Stakes at Glorious Goodwood, and his charge Eighteen Summers is another in with a shout here. But even if he doesn't oblige, I still think Jim and Kevin Manning will be off the mark for the day with Fulminata in the Maiden at 7.15.
Another tricky handicap brings the day's racing to a close and I have a ride on Birzali, but he has been a bit disappointing so far and would want to show something different if he's going to be in with a chance here. With that in mind, I like the look of Chris Hayes' mount Silk Hall.
5.05 Shamar NAP
6.45 Brendan Bracken
7.45 Fit The Cove
8.15 Silk Hall