Friday 23 August 2019

Galway Races, Day Four: All the top tips from our panel of experts

Diamond Hill, with Paul Townend up, jumps the eighth alongside Philip Enright’s Baily Thunder on their way to claiming the opening maiden hurdle.. Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile
Diamond Hill, with Paul Townend up, jumps the eighth alongside Philip Enright’s Baily Thunder on their way to claiming the opening maiden hurdle.. Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile
Michael Verney

Michael Verney

The Galway Hurdle is always one of the highlights of the Irish racing calendar and today's renewal is definitely above average with many different sub-plots to the €300,000 showpiece.

2.0 Guinness Beginners Chase 2m6f 111yds

Dandy Mag is off the track over two years but has graded form over hurdles and if anyone can overcome that type of lay-off, Willie Mullins can.

Trainer Gordon Elliott, jockey Luke Dempsey and owner Simon Munir pose with Borice after their Galway Plate win. Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile
Trainer Gordon Elliott, jockey Luke Dempsey and owner Simon Munir pose with Borice after their Galway Plate win. Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile

This is a decent renewal with Cheltenham Festival winner Early Doors - which landed the Martin Pipe in March - making his fencing bow for Joseph O'Brien and he could take some stopping under JJ Slevin.

Gordon Elliott's From Eden has been admirably consistent over the larger obstacles with three seconds in his three fencing starts and the six-year-old should enjoy the step up to 2m6f - having won over 3m - and give Early Doors most to worry about.

Verdict: Slevin and O'Brien can score with Early Doors.

2.35 Grade Three Guinness NovICE Chase 2m2f 54yds

Zero Ten could make a quick reappearance for Emmet Mullins, having scored on his fencing debut in Ballybrit two days ago but this is a significant step up in class with his uncle Willie sending three into battle.

Paul Townend opts for Wicklow Brave - easily the classiest of these over hurdles, having landed the Grade One Punchestown Champion Hurdle two years ago - which is a late recruit to fences as a ten-year-old.

He did nothing wrong on debut when scoring comfortably and last year's Festival winner is respected.

Henry de Bromhead's Moon Over Germany broke his duck over fences in some style at Aintree when landing a Grade Three and will be right in the mix if showing that type of form.

Mullins may have the answer though with Robin De Carlow impressing on her two chase starts. A Grade Three winner over hurdles, she is open to further improvement with the mares' allowance taking a valuable few pounds off.

Verdict: Robin De Carlow (e/w) can make the frame under David Mullins.

3.10 Rockshore Handicap 1m 98yds

Last year's winner Honor Oak returns for Tom Hogan in what is a wide open affair where small stakes are advised.

With Master Speaker back to his best last time out at Killarney, the in-form Ado McGuinness string could go close again with the nine-year-old despite a high draw.

It looked like Waitingfortheday might hit a glass ceiling this season but the four-year-old filly has progressed and scored at the Curragh 12 days ago.

Another one to note if he gets his chance is John Larkin's reserve Emphatic - just edged out on Tuesday night - with the Louth trainer landing this three years ago.

Verdict: Emphatic can win if getting in; otherwise it is Waitingfortheday.

3.45 Listed Arthur Guinness Corrib Fillies Stakes 7f

There has been no winner of the seven renewals priced above 13/2 so it pays to stick with the top end of the market and the likely favourite Surrounding is the one to beat.

Mick Halford's mare produced a career-best when landing a Fairyhouse Group Three last month and is remarkably consistent; she hasn't been out of the top three in her last nine starts, including four wins.

She gives weight away all around carrying a 5lb penalty but looks the class act of the 13 runners and should score under Ronan Whelan.

It's hard to see what could upset her, although Fozzy Stack's Hand On Heart ran no sort of race at Royal Ascot and had been competitive in stakes races this season prior to that.

Verdict: Surrounding (Nap) can follow up with another fine display.

4.20 Guinness Novice Hurdle 2m4f 156yds

Willie Mullins sends two into battle with champion jockey Townend siding with Foveros, which was turned over when odds-on favourite at Ballinrobe in May and may find a few too good with the same possibly said of Limerick winner Little Nugget.

Charles Byrnes' Doctor Duffy is a strong challenger and Davy Russell's mount should be right there. There was no shame in his close second to the smart Peregrine Run at Cork.

This could be between him and Joseph O'Brien's Ash Hill - a comfortable scorer on his hurdling debut at Punchestown in June - but preference is for Doctor Duffy.

Verdict: Doctor Duffy can provide the right medicine for punters.

4.55 Guinness Galway Hurdle Handicap 2m 11yds

This doesn't resemble a handicap with a host of graded winners taking their chance, including Cheltenham Festival scorer Band Of Outlaws, which won this year's Fred Winter.

He is one of two outstanding chances for Joseph O'Brien, who also saddles Punchestown winner Gardens Of Babylon as they bid to be the first four-year-old winner since 2000.

Mullins has four chances with the progressive Shanning and Ballybrit lover Riven Light commanding respect in a race which is one of the few big prizes to have eluded Elliott.

The Meath trainer saddles the classy Chosen Mate, while Sole Pretender carries top-weight, hoping to land a four-timer and strike a blow for local trainer Norman Lee.

It's a 20-strong minefield with the winner not easily found but Pearl Of The West is far from the no-hoper which his price of 33/1 suggests. John McConnell's five-year-old mare won on the level at the 2017 Festival, as well as landing a good handicap at the Punchestown Festival and looks outstanding each-way value with the reliable Seán Flanagan in the plate.

Verdict: Pearl Of The West (e/w) can upset the odds.

5.30 Open Gate Pure Brew Handicap 1m4f

Matthew Smith's One Cool Poet scored here on Tuesday and will prove a tough nut to crack.

Lusis Naturea is another in brilliant form, however, having hosed up at Down Royal at six days ago and Paul Traynor's charge may get the better of the battle between market leaders.

Apprentice Adam Farragher takes 7lb off and that could prove crucial while Adrian Keatley's Champagne Terri produced a career best at Leopardstown and is rated best of the rest.

Verdict: Lusis Naturea can repeat his Down Royal display.

5.59 Guinness Time Flat Race 2m2f 59yds

An unusual start time for the concluding bumper where Byrnes' newcomer All Those Years is likely to have plenty of supporters.

However, McConnell's Ballylig ran well on debut when third in January - the second has prevailed since - and can score in the hands of Jamie Codd.

Verdict: Ballylig to land the last.


2.0: Early Doors

2.35: Wicklow Brave

3.10: Spiorad Saoirse

3.45: Titanium Sky

4.20: Doctor Duffy

4.55: Riven Light

5.30: Lusis Naturea

5.59:All Those Years


2.0: Early Doors

2.35: Moon Over Germany

3.10: Waitingfortheday

3.45: Chocolate Music E/W

4.20: Doctor Duffy

4.55: Tudor City

5.30: Chaparral Dream

5.59: All Those Years


2.0: Early Doors

2.35: Wicklow Brave

3.10: Wentwood

3.45: Kaftan

4.20: Doctor Duffy

4.55: Sole Pretender

5.30: Chaparral Dream

5.59:All Those Years

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