Nothing can touch Weld's pitch-perfect Rock Critic
ANOTHER day at the Galway Festival and, not for the first time, expect to see Dermot Weld and Rock Critic walk away with the big prize.
It's a big day for the Flat contingent in Ballybrit with just two jumps races so I've no spins booked, but, as is often the case, the smart money will follow Weld's horses.
Just how many winners the Rosewell House handler can manage this week after last year's spectacular haul remains to be seen, but Pat Smullen's mount can defy top weight in the Topaz Mile at a track he loves.
Rock Critic won twice at the Festival last year and while the seven-year-old finished midfield on his last run at Ascot last month, he has good form this year, as previous to that he won in Tipperary.
Of the others, I expect Joanna Morgan's Moran Gra to run a good race and he could place, but they'll all be trailing in behind Rock Critic.
I wouldn't be surprised if Weld pulled off a quick-fire double as Big Break has a real chance in the fillies' maiden at 6.10. The Dansili filly will have company from the likes of Diamond Sky, but she looks to have the quality to see off all-comers.
The day's action starts at 4.0 with the Topaz Novice Hurdle and for me, Mount Colah is the pick of this nine-strong field. Jerry Cosgrave's charge has been making all the right moves in his preparation for Galway, winning his last two outings at Down Royal and Sligo, and can step up to take the day's opening prize.
I expect He's Our Man to run a big race for Ross O'Sullivan while Zuzka is also a decent sort, but Mount Colah has the form here.
The Latin Quarter Chase is another competitive looking field, but Finger Onthe Pulse for Tom Taaffe and AP McCoy will take all the beating here.
He's an experienced sort and will be well able for the weight he's been given. He's run only once since he ran into seventh in Cheltenham, when he finished third in Cork, so with some natural improvement, he can see them all off.
The other one to keep an eye on is Ted Walsh's Devil's Elbow. He's only five, a full six years younger than my choice, but looks to have taken to the fences well. He earned an entry to the Plate so he's a proper horse, but this looks like a better race for him.
At 5.0, Sam James can steer One Cool Shabra home. He's carrying a nice weight and won in Bellewstown earlier this month.
There is some classy opposition in the field, however, with the daughter of Teofilo, Voleuse De Coeurs, looking likely to run a big race. Jessica Harrington's horses seem to be coming into good form and Fairy Wing can give her success in the penultimate race of the day.
Fairy Wing won in Leopardstown last Thursday and has gone up in the weights, but Fran Berry can see her home.
The action closes with an open-looking maiden, but Mona Brown gets the nod for Jim Bolger and Kevin Manning.
4.0 Mount Colah
4.30 Finger Onthe Pulse
5.0 One Cool Shabra
5.35 Rock Critic (nap)
6.10 Big Break
6.40 Fairy Wing
7.10 Mona Brown