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Betting Ring: Hearts Are Trumps each-way value in the coveted Hurdle

Wayne Bailey


Top Trumps: Hearts Are Trumps looks like a good each-way flutter in today’s Galway Hurdle. Photo.carolinenorris.ie

Top Trumps: Hearts Are Trumps looks like a good each-way flutter in today’s Galway Hurdle. Photo.carolinenorris.ie


Top Trumps: Hearts Are Trumps looks like a good each-way flutter in today’s Galway Hurdle. Photo.carolinenorris.ie

These days, trainer Des McDonogh has less than 100 runners each year, and he might get two or three winners from those - but there are a couple of his horses worth keeping an eye on each-way including Hearts Are Trumps, which has been chalked up at 33/1 in places for this evening's Galway Hurdle (6.45).

Owned by JP McManus, the seven-year-old has three wins and six places to his credit, one of those wins coming in a handicap hurdle at Galway in October 2018. While Hearts Are Trumps hasn't won since November of that year, he's quite consistent and has made the frame a couple of times off a pound or two higher than today's rating of 136.

I thought he'd be quite a bit shorter in the betting but punters are clearly put off by his latest race in June where he finished last of 14 runners at Tipperary. That was a Grade Three race which was contested by horses far superior, with some of them more than a stone ahead in the ratings, penalties aside, including winner Aramon and runner-up Petit Mouchoir.

Both of those are back here today but it's a different story under these conditions where they are joint-topweights rated 155, and set to carry 11st 10lbs. Hearts Are Trumps was sixth in this race last year when rated 2lbs higher at 138 and I'm confident he can give a good account at a nice price.

Gordon Elliott's Felix Desjy will probably go off as favourite and has strong claims based on a Grade One win at Aintree last year. He had a winning spin on the Flat earlier this month which sets him up nicely for this, although in a large competitive field, odds of 5/1 are a little tight.

While I'll be backing Hearts Are Trumps at a big price, at the other end of the scale I'm quite keen on Anna Bunina which is the 15/8 favourite for the opening Guinness Novice Hurdle (4.45).

John McConnell's filly was useful enough on the Flat, and finally got off the mark over timber on her sixth attempt when landing a maiden at Cork last time by 11 lengths. She had been racing in Graded company and found life tough but a race like this looks within her range and Seán O'Keeffe's 5lb claim should prove useful.

At Goodwood, Frankie Dettori has a rare ride for Aidan O'Brien on Magic Wand in the Group One Qatar Nassau Stakes (3.15), and 9/2 is not a bad deal in a seven-runner field with Ryan Moore riding Fancy Blue.

It was no shame to come fourth behind Ghaiyyath, Enable and Japan in the Coral-Eclipse at Sandown, and that came on the back of a Group Two success at the Curragh.


This looks a good opportunity for Magic Wand, although Fancy Blue is not dismissed lightly having won the Prix de Diane at Chantilly last time. John Gosden's Nazeef will also be in the mix and comes here seeking a seventh victory in-a-row.

Also at Goodwood, English King should prove hard to beat in the Group Three John Pearce Racing Gordon Stakes (2.45) for Ed Walker and Frankie Dettori. Things just didn't go his way when fifth in the Derby and he's best judged on an impressive performance when winning the Derby Trial at Lingfield in June. Early odds of 11/8 seem generous although Khalifa Sat is also respected, having finished runner-up in the Derby.

As we all know, it was a strange Derby with Serpentine leading from start to finish so it will be interesting to see what way the form of the Classic turns out.

Finally, Yazaman ticks the right boxes around 9/4 in the Group Two Qatar Richmond Stakes (2.15). William Haggas' colt got his career off to the best possible start with a maiden win at Yarmouth despite some greenness and temperament issues, and wasn't disgraced when subsequently runner-up to Tactical in a Listed race at Ascot.

He found that opponent too good once again when second in a Newmarket Group Two earlier this month, although he did finish ahead of today's main rival Qaader from Mark Johnston's yard.

Aidan O'Brien's Admiral Nelson is an interesting entry. He looked very promising when quickening up nicely to land a maiden at the Curragh on his debut, but subsequently disappointed his backers at 5/2 when failing to fire in the Coventry. Supremacy is also worth a mention, having clocked a good time to win a maiden at Windsor with the runner-up in that race, Fools Rush In, winning on Monday.

Race-by-race guide to day four

4.45 - Saint D'Oroux was third in the Fred Winter so deserves plenty of respect, but ANNA BUNINA gets the nod at 15/8 or thereabouts. The filly won four races on the Flat, and got off the mark over hurdles six days ago at Cork.

5.15 - Not a race for betting, this beginners chase looks quite open. Doctor Duffy was beaten at a short price at Roscommon recently but looks talented while Braid Blue is an interesting entry from Gordon Elliott, a useful hurdler which makes his debut over fences today.

5.45 - Polished Steel makes plenty of appeal around 7/2. A two-time winner over hurdles, the six-year-old showed plenty over fences when winning his debut in that sphere at Tipperary earlier this month. A recent run on the Flat at Killarney should have him primed.

6.15 - Thousand Tears, Fight For Love and Magic Sea are among a number of horses which have claims in this 21-runner handicap hurdle which I'm happy to sit out without a bet. Alabaster is the topweight for Denis Hogan who has won this race before a couple of times in recent years.

6.45 - The Galway Hurdle has generally been punter friendly in recent times although we've had a couple of outsiders win since the turn of the century including More Rainbows at 33/1 in 2005. At a similar price, HEARTS ARE TRUMPS is a decent each-way option having finished sixth in this race last year off 2lbs higher.

7.15 - Jon Snow can take this small field novice hurdle for Willie Mullins and Paul Townend. He was below form when mid-division on the Flat at the Curragh last month but he looks promising over timber, winning a maiden at Leopardstown in March.

7.45 - This is quite a puzzle and is one more race I'm happy to watch without a bet. The Trigger is going for a hat-trick having won a chase and two hurdles this summer, while Tune The Chello will be popular in the betting having won at Killarney in nice good style last time out.

8.15 - Willie Mullins can take the bumper with POWER OF PAUSE, expected to go off around 7/4. Runner up at a short price on his rules debut in January, the point-to-point winner failed to fire when last seen in another bumper in March but is capable of more.

Indo Sport

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