Sunday 18 March 2018

Whiskey Sour looks well-in to give Mullins sweet success

Betting Ring

Tesseract (R), under JJ Slevin, on the way to victory yesterday. Photo: Sportsfile
Tesseract (R), under JJ Slevin, on the way to victory yesterday. Photo: Sportsfile

Wayne Bailey

It's not uncommon to see a horse race twice in the same week at the Galway Festival but it's particularly worth taking a note if they are making a quick return after a win.

Since 2008, there have been 37 runners at the festival which had won earlier in the week, and 11 of them went on to win again. That produced a profit of 13 points, and a quick return can mean the horse is ahead of the handicapper, so to speak.

Provided he lines again up this evening, Whiskey Sour will be well-in at the weights, and a price of 4/1 to win the Guinness Handicap (6.50) looks fair. Willie Mullins' gelding is due to go up 12lb for winning the amateur rider handicap on Monday night in fine style, but because the weights were revealed for today's race already, he'll carry a mandatory 7lb penalty instead.

In theory then, he'll be racing 5lb lower than he should, although it's not always as simple as that, and some horses are better than others at making a quick return to the track. Declan McDonogh gets the ride and he should go close.

In the Guinness 17:59 Irish EBF Median Auction Maiden (5.45), Warm The Voice gets the nod at odds of 5/2 or thereabouts for Brendan Duke, and the word on the street is that he's going quite well at home.

He showed reasonable form when third to two Aidan O'Brien horses in a maiden at the Curragh in July and he should, to use a well-worn phrase, come on for the run.

Big Bad Sal is another one with claims. Harry Rogers' filly showed a lot of improvement to finish third in a maiden at Bellewstown last month and handicap races are now on the agenda.

Dermot Weld's Vigil is attracting some support in the early markets for the Budweiser Race (8.25), but he's a little short for me in the betting and preference is for Willie Mullins' Renneti around 6/1 under Pat Smullen.

With winning form over hurdles at Grade Two level, he's a versatile gelding and has no problem with a bit of cut in the ground. The trip looked a little short when he finished a respectable fifth in a Listed event at Roscommon last time so the step up to 1m6f here should suit.

Over at Goodwood, Charlie Appleby's Frontiersman can get the day off to the best possible start around 13/8 in the Betfred Glorious Stakes (1.50), provided he keeps his mind on the job.

A temperamental sort, he hit 1/5 in-running on Betfair in the Group Two Princess of Wales's Stakes at Newmarket last time but wandered a bit, and seemed to accept a little too easily that Hawkbill had out-battled him.

It was a decent renewal of the race, however, so second place was no disgrace and that came on the back of another second place to Highland Reel in the Coronation Cup at Epsom. Poet's World poses the biggest threat to the bet.

A son of Paco Boy, Beat The Bank can make it four career wins from five in the Group Three Bonhams Thoroughbred Stakes (2.25), priced in the region of 4/1.

It could be argued that he was a little lucky to take a Listed contest at Newmarket last time as he was the only runner which raced near the far rail, with the rest struggling a little in the centre, but he kicked on well when asked and credit should be given where it's due.

Previously, he'd finished mid-division in a Group Three but that was after a break of a couple of months and he seemed a little rusty.

Michael Stoute's Zainhom also deserves a mention, considering he's been placed at this level on a couple of occasions.

I'm torn between three horses in the Group Two Qatar King George Stakes (3.35), namely Battaash, Profitable and Marsha. Battaash flew home in the Coral Charge Sprint unchallenged from half way, Profitable is a Group One winner at Royal Ascot… but at a price around 5/1, I'm going to settle on Marsha.

Mark Prescott's filly was a head behind Profitable when finishing third in the King's Stand Stakes, a piece of form which gives her every chance here, and I'm going to overlook her latest race at the Curragh, where she was chinned on the line by Caspian Prince, having raced a little too freely.

The Fillies' Group Three L'Ormarins Queens Plate Oak Tree Stakes (4.40) also looks a little tricky but a tentative vote goes to Francois Rohaut's raider Al Jazi under Frankie Dettori. She won this race last year and her ninth place in the Group One Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot last time looks worse on paper than it was in reality as she left it late to make her move - but she still finished full of running.

Chris Wall's Mix And Mingle should also make her presence felt, having won at this level back in May, and a poor result in an Ascot Group Two can be forgiven as she found herself in a bad position.

Lucky 15

1.50 Goodwood: Frontiersman

2.25 Goodwood: Beat The Bank

6.50 Galway: Whiskey Sour

8.25 Galway: Renneti

Lay of the Day

The weather is picking up at Goodwood but after a deluge on Wednesday which outgoing course clerk Seamus Buckley described as the worst he's seen, today may be soft to heavy.

The worse the ground, the less predictable flat racing is and that's demonstrably true when you look at the fate of the favourite. On firm going, they perform best with a strike-rate of 38pc. Good to firm comes next at 34pc and the strike-rate more or less gets worse the wetter the ground.

Soft to heavy is the poorest for favourites at 28pc, just below heavy at 29pc. And if you isolate contests which have a description of soft to heavy or heavy, one of the worst types of races for backing jollies are nursery handicaps with a strike-rate of 21pc and a huge average loss of 40c per euro bet.

While Rufus King appears promising, those stats make his price of 9/4 seems short in the Betfred Mobile Nursery Handicap (4.10 Goodwood). One to oppose today.

Irish Independent

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