Sport Horse Racing

Saturday 24 February 2018

Friendship can prove the main enemy for bookies

Aidan O'Brien has a good record in the two-year-old races at Galway
Aidan O'Brien has a good record in the two-year-old races at Galway

Wayne Bailey

Here we go again! Let's hope the livers and the wallets are robust enough to take seven days of punting at Ballybrit, with Glorious Goodwood running alongside across the water for much of the week too.

Galway 2013 kicks off with a novice hurdle (5.10) and any market support for Tony Martin's Green Dragon should be taken as a positive sign as punters try to get off to the best possible start. The gelding thwarted a significant gamble on Charles Byrnes' Synchronicity when winning a maiden hurdle at Tipperary in early June and put in a career best when second in a novice hurdle at Bellewstown a month later under Ruby Walsh.

He's clearly a useful sort over both codes, although I am a little concerned about the ground as his best form comes on good to firm. Of the outsiders, it will be interesting to see how well or otherwise Vito De Beauchene runs from the Francis Flood stable. He's unraced as yet and the bookmakers have him down as a rank outsider but Flood knows a good Galway horse when he sees one and I wouldn't be shocked to see him run a better race than the price suggests.

Aidan O'Brien has a good record in the two-year-old races at Galway and Friendship (nap) would appear to be laid out for the juvenile maiden over seven furlongs (6.10), priced around 13/8. The Galileo colt raced a bit green on his debut when third to Dermot Weld's Glory Boy at Listowel but subsequently did very well to finish mid-division in a Listed race at Royal Ascot.

That penultimate race was a step too far in terms of class but the experience will have done him a world of good. Most lately, he finished second in a minor event at Leopardstown and he looks nailed on to land a maiden sooner rather than later.

You can't go to Galway without backing a Dermot Weld horse and Pay Day Kitten (11/4) could be one of his best chances of the day in the Galway Oyster Hotel Handicap (7.45).

She's a half-sister to a few decent North American winners and won a maiden and a handicap this term on soft and heavy ground. She tops the weights this evening but has plenty of potential and is one to keep onside.

In the bumper (8.15), Willie Mullins' Wicklow Brave will prove popular in the betting but 3/1 or thereabouts seem a little short considering the trainer's poor record at the course.

Instead, a chance is taken on Top Othe Ra, which is trained by Willie's brother Tom and is expected to go off in the region of 10/1. He's yet to win a race but he's often thereabouts and has shown some useful form in maiden hurdles in the past.


5.10 Green Dragon

5.40 Wither Hills (e/w)

6.10 Friendship (nap)

6.45 Cry For The Moon (e/w)

7.15 Quinine

7.45 Pay Day Kitten

8.15 Top Othe Ra

Irish Independent

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