Saturday 25 November 2017

Toast will be to 'Whiskey' if Monday's hero can make his a double in feature

Patrick Mullins Photo: PA
Patrick Mullins Photo: PA

Patrick Mullins

For some, Galway Festival week can entail late-night revelry - but when you are driving there and back every day, it feels like a daily grind!

We are past halfway in the week and today is the first day I am staying at home; after a 240-mile round trip it's a welcome rest! That said, while my father runs a tight ship, I just might sneak out at the weekend.

And so might he.

We had no luck in the Hurdle yesterday but Airlie Beach ran a blinder in third. Dad seems to have a load of good chances on day five.

Tay Lane was sent to us after a very impressive win at Tipperary and she takes her chance in the handicap hurdle. She is not a big mare, but we felt she will improve significantly from the run in Sligo and - despite it being her first handicap - we are expecting a big run from her.

It is a help that it is not a full field, given the inexperience of a small mare. Camlann would look the main danger for Rachael Blackmore and Shark Hanlon, who struck in the final race on Wednesday. Rachael is my housemate and she won on this horse at the Festival last year. Now the reigning champion conditional; if we don't win hopefully she might.

The consolation race for the Galway Plate is the Galway Blazers and this is extremely competitive as always - very much a race with an awful lot of history.

We run Sambremont, a half-brother to Djakadam, in this year's renewal. He was generally disappointing last season but works very well at home, so we have to be hopeful.

It is going to be very difficult for him to carry top weight in such a competitive handicap and I suppose the horse that catches my eye is Tony Martin's Phil's Magic under Donagh Meyler. He won at Kilbeggan last time and looked like he might have more up his sleeve.

It would be unlike Tony to leave Ballybrit without a winner and it would be no surprise if he got off the mark for the week here.

Whiskey Sour got a tremendous ride from young Aubrey McMahon on Monday to win the main event and that victory was what Galway is all about, as far as I am concerned. You had a jockey winning the feature on a horse his father owned: for Aubrey to win what was long known as "the GPT" was a dream come true for the family.

The son of Jeremy has come out of the race very well, I can report, and the handicapper was impressed enough to feel the need to raise him 12lb in the weights. As such, he gets in leniently under a 7lb penalty.

While he probably got the best ride in the race on Monday, he won with plenty in hand and Aubrey rode him out pretty much hands and heels. Under Declan McDonogh this time, he'll be very difficult to stop again, even dropping back half a mile - which to my mind shouldn't be a problem.

And now on to a very interesting finale. Renneti and Digeanta are two yard stalwarts and fly the flag for Closutton. Renneti is a character, to put it politely - a horse with a lot of ability but his performances can depend on what side of the bed he gets out of. He is highest rated in the race and if he puts in three-quarters of his ability I think he'll win.

However, Digeanta provides good back up for us. He ran very well here on Monday and I must stress that Danny Sheehy - among the winners this week - is very valuable given his 7lb claim. If Renneti decides he is not feeling it this evening, I expect Digeanta to provide able back up.

Danny, a son of 'Dusty', has ridden out for us before; in fact he broke his collarbone in our yard schooling a few years ago. He is a very natural rider with a big future. He would be a worthy winner of a cracker of a conclusion to day five.

Patrick's Picks

5.10: Tay Lane

5.45: Warm The Voice

6.15: Phil's Magic

6.50: Whiskey Sour

7.25: High Language

7.55: Cosy Club

8.25: Renneti

Irish Independent

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