Friday 25 May 2018

Calibrate your bets to follow Weld in Topaz Mile feature

Galway Festival Betting Ring

Joseph O'Brien steers odds-on favourite Jamaica to a convincing victory in the juvenile maiden at Galway. Photo: Barry Cregg / SPORTSFILE
Joseph O'Brien steers odds-on favourite Jamaica to a convincing victory in the juvenile maiden at Galway. Photo: Barry Cregg / SPORTSFILE

Wayne Bailey

With a strike-rate of one in five, Aidan O'Brien's unraced two-year-olds are always highly regarded and I suspect that Ask Me Nicely will prove popular at 8/1 for the Topaz EBF Fillies Maiden (6.05).

She is well-bred and is closely related to some smart winners including Beethoven although, like more than half the field here, she will be racing for the first time.

Both O'Brien and Dermot Weld have dominated this race in recent years and we have to go back to 2005 to find a winner which was not from Ballydoyle or Rosewell House, with Weld saddling the most recent victor, Tarfasha.

To be honest, there is a lot of guesswork involved here, but the market will be a good guide and the Weld-trained Chinese Light gets the nod at 9/4. The fact that she's a full sister to Group One winner Chinese White does not go unnoticed.

With a total prize fund of €115,000, the Topaz Mile (6.40) is the feature race of the day and, as one would expect, the 21-runner handicap is a competitive affair which, from a betting point of view, looks wide open.

As is so often the case at Galway, once again it's the Dermot Weld horse which catches the eye and at odds of 14/1 or thereabouts, Calibrate can be backed each-way.

She showed some promise here last year but was ultimately unsuccessful when making her debut in a maiden, but later showed her worth by landing a similar race at Gowran.

This term, she attempted a handicap at the Curragh and while the result looks poor (seventh of nine runners), she actually shaped much better than it appears on paper.

She was still going well when hampered a furlong out but wasn't given a rough time by Pat Smullen once it was clear she wouldn't be taking home some prize-money.

The handicapper has left her with room to manoeuvre off a mark of 93 although the top-weight, Balty Boys, looks set to give her a run for her money. Gordon Elliott has had a few near-misses at Galway down through the years and Takeyourcapoff might be the one to get him back in the winners' enclosure at Ballybrit in the Handicap (7.10) at a generous price of 7/1.

This mare is another of his useful dual-purpose recruits and she beat some decent sorts to win a handicap hurdle last month at Roscommon.

In the concluding maiden, I realise I am on dangerous ground opposing the Weld-trained favourite (Antique Platinum), but I like the look of David Marnane's Henson, which should be available somewhere in the region of 3/1. He's a bit of an oddball to be honest and at times he can almost look disinterested – yet he's rarely out of the frame and he will shed the maiden tag sooner rather than later.


5.05: Shield

5.35: Jacksonslady

6.05: Chinese Light (nap)

6.40: Calibrate (e/w)

7.10: Takeyourcapoff

7.45: Sretaw

8.15: Henson

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