Ado McGuinness may have been out of luck earlier in the week but his love affair with the Galway Races looks set to continue in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Ahonoora Handicap (4.10) at Ballybrit tomorrow.
McGuinness sends six into battle with the sextet running in the Colm Quinn BMW Handicap on Tuesday evening with varying degrees of success for each.
Casanova (second), Current Option (fourth), Pierre Lapin (fifth), Sirjack Thomas (eighth), Saltonstall (11th) and Spanish Tenor (15th) make quick reappearances and Current Option is of particular interest with plenty in his favour.
The six-year-old bids for a hat-trick in this contest and amazingly comes here 8lbs lower than last year – and 2lbs lower than when winning it for the first time in 2020 – with 5lb apprentice Cian MacRedmond hoping to work the oracle again having been aboard 12 months ago.
British raiders must be respected with the €110,000 prize going back across the Irish Sea in six of the last 10 renewals – although the last three have stayed on this soil – and the David and Nicola Barron-trained On A Session is a strong challenger.
Leigh Roche’s mount was a narrow winner at Musselburgh on his last start and the six-year-old deserves respect, as does the John Feane-trained No More Porter if he were to somehow get in as third reserve.
The four-year-old’s two wins have come at the Curragh while he has continued that impressive form at Irish racing’s headquarters when finishing third in the Scurry Handicap as well as a fourth-place finish in another premier handicap while he was also runner-up in the valuable Emerald Mile Handicap.
When push comes to shove, it’s hard to see past McGuinness, though. Casanova may have finished best of his squad the other evening, but this drop back to seven furlongs certainly does not play to his strengths.
All of his best form – including his four career successes – is over a mile or slightly more and Current Option looks primed to land a famous hat-trick for the Dublin trainer with conditions perfectly in his favour.
Unanswered may also be back for another bite of the Galway cherry if taking his place in the opening Adare Manor Opportunity Handicap Hurdle (2.0) and Tony Martin’s charge will take some stopping.
The five-year-old was just touched off on the Flat on Tuesday evening when seeking a five-timer but with three of those recent victories coming on the level, his hurdling mark is still pretty lenient based on his Punchestown handicap hurdle romp in May.
Martin already worked the oracle in the same colours of owner John Breslin earlier this week when the 10-year-old Tudor City claimed the Galway Hurdle for a second time and Michael Molloy’s mount deserves the utmost respect if turning out again quickly.
Today’s feature is the BoyleSports Handicap Hurdle (2.30) and it’s no surprise that Willie Mullins has been the man to follow in this €110,000 contest with five winners in the last seven renewals.
The Closutton maestro sends a quartet of contenders into action this time around as stable jockey Paul Townend sides with the unexposed La Prima Donna – sporting the famous light blue and white Honeysuckle silks – after her romp at Tipperary in May.
The five-year-old had gone close when second in a big handicap hurdle at the Fairyhouse Easter Festival in April and she may be primed to go one better with more improvement expected on just her sixth start for the champion jumps trainer.
The Peter Fahey-trained Ambitious Fellow is another which can go close at a decent price after backing up his surprise success at the Punchestown Festival with a fine second at Wexford before scoring against at Roscommon last month.
The Ardilaun Hotel Handicap (4.45) is also of punting interest. It has taken My Minervina a while to get the hang of things having been forced to wait until her 10th start for a victory, but the she now bids for hat-trick and is in the form of her career.
Jessica Harrington’s four-year-old followed up victory in a Bellewstown claimer with success in a Killarney handicap and while stepping back to seven furlongs is a slight worry, Shane Foley’s mount may have enough to continue her hot streak.