Archive for the ‘ galway festival ’ Category

07 Aug
2016

Many Thanks For Your Support

For anyone wondering how we got on in Galway last week at the well-publicised Injured Jockeys Fund Race Night, this letter appeared in Saturday’s edition of the Irish Field, as well as on page 14 of Sunday’s Racing Post. Thanks to everyone who helped make it possible.

Dear Sir,

Thank you to everyone who came together to make last week’s Galway Injured Jockeys Fund Race Night, our fifth one to date, the biggest and best yet.

On Tuesday 26th July, poignantly the very same day we learned of the passing of John Thomas McNamara, McHughs Pub in Galway played host to 150 racing fans, all eager to pay their respects as well as look ahead to the Festival’s key races.

Entertainment isn’t exactly in short supply in Galway, so a huge thumbs up to all those who came along on the night, helping to raise €1,860 for the Irish Injured Jockeys Fund, as well as £1,125 for the UK Injured Jockeys.

Many people deserve credit for helping this happen, not least our panel on the night; trainers John ‘Shark’ Hanlon and Kerry Lee, Ladbrokes’ glamour queen Hayley O’Connor, plus top jockey Niall McCullagh.

Valuable contributions in the shape of sponsorship and charity bets arrived courtesy of Betfred, Betway, Ladbrokes and Tote.ie, while Champion Jockey, Richard Johnson, allowed us to auction his recently retired riding saddle, raising an impressive £525 extra for the cause.

With your help we’ll raise the bar once again in 2017 – see you there.

Tom Lee

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Posted 9 months, 3 weeks ago

31 Jul
2015

Maniac On The Loose In Galway

We’ve reached day six here in Galway, where the midweek revellers give way to the weekend arrivals, joining the party alongside some weary looking seven day stalwarts.

It really is a marathon run at sprint pace, with the city’s famous hospitality being dished out at full tilt.

Anyone heading to Ballybrit on Saturday can look forward to really attractive mixed card, which enjoyed while being washed down with some rehydrating refreshments will make for a great afternoon.

Three recommendations for a wager could really help the day go with a bang, and we’ll kick off with Tony Martin’s progressive dual purpose performer Pyromaniac in the Ladbrokes Handicap Hurdle at 3.15pm.

This lad missed out on a place in Thursday’s Galway Hurdle by the width of a fine coat of paint, failing to make the cut for the big one.

It will have frustrated Martin at the time, but in fact could turn out to have been a blessing in disguise, as compensation may well await.

Besides, Martin had a 1-3 courtesy of Quick Jack and Ted Veale, and might even have improved on that had Thomas Edison not come down at the last.

This gives him a golden opportunity of another winner at a meeting he has increasingly targeted, following on from Quick Jack on Thursday and Vive La France yesterday.

Pyromaniac benefits from the services of Galway Hurdle winning jockey Denis O’Regan, plus he was in winning form of late both on the Flat and over hurdles, scoring at both Limerick and the Curragh.

He looks well equipped to go close here, copes with any ground, and looks a solid option at 5/1 with either Coral or William Hill.

We’ll switch to the Flat at 4.25pm, with Curragh trainer Brendan Duke’s Leath Na Hoibre the pick to land the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Nursery.

He hacked up at the Curragh on July 19th, with a subsequent six pound rise to a mark of 86 unlikely to be enough to stop him if he turns up in the same mood.

He can also improve further for a step up in trip to seven furlongs.

Lastly, row in with Another Cyclone to land the concluding bumper in the hands of Patrick Mullins at 6.05pm.

Scratched from a race on Monday he can make the wait worthwhile, building on a solid debut at Fairyhouse in April.

Good luck!

Saturday’s best bets at Galway:

3.15 – Ladbrokes Handicap Hurdle – 4 Pyromaniac (win) @ 5/1 (Coral or William Hill)

4.25 – Irish Stallion Farms EBF Nursery – 4 Leath No Hoibre (win) @ 3/1 (bet365 or Coral)

6.05 – Ladbrokes “Your Sport Your Way”” INH Flat Race – 9 Another Cyclone (win) @ 9/4 (bet365 or Paddy Power)

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Posted 1 year, 10 months ago

30 Jul
2015

Shark Attack Feared In Galway

One of Irish racing’s best-loved and most instantly recognisable characters could be about to take centre stage at packed to the rafters Galway today, as County Carlow-based John Hanlon, far better known simply as ‘The Shark’, arrives in the wild west armed with a strong and intriguing challenge for today’s €300,000 Guinness Galway Hurdle (4.45pm, live on RTE1), courtesy of stable star Hidden Cyclone.

The 10-year-old Stowaway gelding has done his charismatic trainer proud, winning 12 races in all including five of his six outings over hurdles.

What’s more, he’s been readied for his big day with a fluent win on the Flat at Leopardstown, a smoother than smooth performance during which he never remotely left his comfort zone.

You can be 100% certain he will have to this afternoon though, as the proven quality and younger legs of the likes of Quick Jack, Diakali and Thomas Edison put it up to him.

However, the ratings case for Hidden Cyclone couldn’t be any more plain….the horse who has consistently boxed against the heavyweights over fences is rated 158 in that code, plus has as recently as February won a Grade 2 Chase.

Over hurdles however he is much more favourably assessed, seeking to exploit a mark over the smaller obstacles of just 137.

Factor in the three pound claim of Brian Hayes and you can see exactly why he’s an attractive proposition, under a feather weight, at the 8/1 available each way with Boylesports of BetVictor.

He ran well on his only previous experience of Galway (in 2013) and is one to keep on side today.

‘The Shark’ could also enjoy a dream start to the afternoon, with the richly-promising Clondaw Farmer fancied to successfully plough a successful furrow in the Guinness Dublin Porter Beginners Chase, run at 1.50pm.

Placed in a point-to-point, he won his bumper here at Galway a year ago, and then eased through his maiden hurdle at Down Royal without breaking sweat.

He’s up against the frustrating As De Ferbet for Willie Mullins and Ruby Walsh this afternoon, and can make his winning mentality count.

Good luck!

Thursday’s best bets at Galway:

1.50 – Guinness Dublin Porter Beginners Chase – 2 Clondaw Farmer (win) @ 4/1 (bet365, Betfred, Betvictor, Coral, Ladbrokes or William Hill)

4.45 – Guinness Galway Hurdle – 14 Hidden Cyclone (each way) @ 8/1 (Boylesports of BetVictor)

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Posted 1 year, 10 months ago

29 Jul
2015

A Hole ‘Inois’ In The Galway Plate?

If Monday and Tuesday have been something akin to a juicy appetiser here in Galway, Wednesday promises to be the most succulent of main courses, with a maximum field of 22 for thetote.com Galway Plate (5.30pm), an extended 2m 6f handicap chase groaning under the weight of €220,000 in prize money, which stretches down to sixth place.

It isn’t the most richly remunerated race at the Festival, that honour goes to the Galway Hurdle with its whopping €300,000, but it’s still enough to have tempted five runners from the Closutton stable of champion trainer Willie Mullins, a pair of visitors from England, plus a host of challengers from powerful Irish stables.

The quality is rising too, with 2013’s AP McCoy-ridden winner Carlingford Lough going on to strike in a pair of Grade 1’s, while last year’s hero Road To Riches hasn’t turned out too shabbily either, subsequently proving what a snip he was in Galway off a mark of 149, winning Grade 1’s in Down Royal and Leopardstown, and then finishing third in both the Cheltenham and Punchestown Gold Cups.

Is there another future star lurking among the 2015 contenders?

There’ll be tips flying around the betting ring for the likes of Jacksonslady (third in this in 2013), Shanpallas, Irish National second Rule The World, Gordon Elliott’s hat-trick seeker Make A Track, Colour Squadron on his first start for Enda Bolger, plus 25/1 shot Alderwood given that he went off 8/1 joint favourite a year ago.

However, surely the one with real potential to improve and win a race of this calibre off a mark of 147 is Alechi Inois?

Ruby Walsh will have faced the choice of the five Mullins runners, and rather than ride top weight Boston Bob (a four time Grade 1 winner) he goes for the rising force of Alechi Inois, very much a tip in itself.

This horse is five from seven over fences, fit from a win over hurdles at Cork on July 10th, and running under a tidy 11st 1lb due to stable companion Boston Bob helpfully keeping the weights down.

He’s proven on both Good and Soft ground, and whereas the likes of Make A Track, Colour Squadron and Rule The World haver to prove they can handle Galway’s famously stiff track, having never run here before, Alechi Inois is a perfect two from two at the venue.

He could still be very well handicapped, and that lengthy list of positives outweigh his lack of handicap experience.

Good luck!

Wednesday’s best bet at Galway:

5.30 – thetote.com Galway Plate (Hcap Chase) – 5 Alechi Inois (each way) @ 6/1 (bet365, Boylesports & Coral)

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Posted 1 year, 10 months ago

28 Jul
2015

Va Va Voom On Tuesday In Galway

After a not entirely displeasing set of results at Galway on Monday we head into day two and Tuesday on the front foot, targeting a tricky card with plenty of runners, the highlight of which is the €120,000 Topaz Mile Handicap at 6.50pm.

You’ll see the big one with us live on RTE2, and seeking a second win for his stable at the meeting the market leader is Dermot Weld’s Stay De Night.

The draw could’ve been kinder to him, so though Ger Lyon’s provides a powerful five of the 14 runners, the sporting play has to be dual former winner of this race Vastonea.

Now a seven-year-old, Kevin Prendergast’s grey Verglas gelding simply loves it here in Galway (must be the craic, Guiness and oysters), winning this race off a mark of 89 in both 2012 and 2014.

In-between times he wasn’t on his holidays either, finishing third in the same contest off 96 in 2013.

Well drawn and totally versatile in regards to the ground, he has the excellent apprentice Gary Halpin on board once more (won this on him last year), and from a mark of 90 his chance is plain to see.

Given that some horses shrink when they see the famous still uphill finish he has lots going for him, and at the time of writing he’s 12/1 each way with either BetVictor or Coral.

That’s not a price that’s likely to be available forever.

Good luck!

Tuesday’s best bet at Galway:

6.50 – Topaz Mile Premier Handicap – 10 Vastonea (each way) @ 12/1 (BetVictor or Coral)

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Posted 1 year, 10 months ago

27 Jul
2015

Solitaire Can Sparkle On Day One In Galway

They’re under starter’s orders here in the wild west of Ireland, with Galway city buzzing ahead of the seven great days which comprise the Galway Races.

This part of the world is synonymous not only with the craic and atmosphere that goes hand in hand with race week, but also for some pretty appalling weather (blame the Atlantic Drift), with anyone arriving in these parts getting a wet welcome during most of Sunday.

One of my rituals ahead of the big week is to walk the track at Ballybrit, an exercise which yielded a pleasant surprise at 5pm on Sunday, the circuit taking the rain well and earning a verdict of Good to Soft.

Of course that can worsen as the hours roll on, but it’ll take a good bit more to fall from the heavens for a real test to ensue underfoot.

Looking ahead to day one and a seven race card with a late start at 5.15pm, one which I’ve only been looking forward to for the last 51 weeks….

Winners aren’t easy to come by in Galway, even if your name is Dermot Weld, though the 28-time leading trainer at the meeting knows a thing or two about getting one ready for this seven day shindig.

He’s got a great chance of getting one on the board good and early with Zafayan in the opener, but I’m going to keep the powder dry ’til race two, in the hope that Henry de Bromhead’s Beckwith Star can repeat last year’s win in the the two mile Easyfix Rubber Products Handicap Hurdle (5.45pm).

The now 10-year-old took this contest 12 months ago off a lower mark, but has done well since and struck over fences last time out at Tipperary.

His hurdle rating is significantly lower than his fences mark, so this race makes a lot of sense, and young Adam O’Neill is a perfect one from one on him.

We know the horse likes Galway’s idiosyncratic circuit, and off top weight he’s a sporting play to get us off to a flying start at 10/1 each way with Paddy Power.

If it isn’t already by this point the ‘Weldometer’ should begin ticking come race three (6.15pm), with his True Solitaire taken to make experience count by winning the Claregalwayhotel.ie & EBF Maiden over seven furlongs.

The Oasis Dream colt comes here off the back of a solid second at Gowran Park on debut, lining up in a race where his legendary trainer has repeatedly worked his magic down the years.

In fact, so good is his record in this that both BetVictor and Paddy Power will lay us just 5/4 on this occasion.

The big one on the opening day rolls around at 6.50pm, post time for the Connacht Hotel (QR) Handicap, a two mile flat marathon restricted to amateur riders.

The possibilities are endless, something which will delight bookmakers far and wide, but one who could run a mighty race at double figure odds is Jessica Harrington’s Modem, with the five-year-old sneaking in at the bottom of the weights after his slick win at Killarney.

At home on any ground, this is a very talented hurdler who knows how to get the job done on the level, and with Mrs Harrington enjoying an excellent season (eight win in the last 14 days) he’d be no surprise winner.

Daughter Kate can take five pounds off, and Modem has an excellent each way chance at 10/1 with Paddy Power.

Let battle commence.

Good luck!

Monday’s best bets at Galway:

5.45 – Easyfix Rubber Products Handicap Hurdle – 1 Beckwith Star (each way) @ 10/1 (Paddy Power)

6.15 – Claregalwayhotel.ie & EBF Maiden – 9 True Solitaire (win) @ 5/4 (BetVictor and Paddy Power)

6.50 – Connacht Hotel (QR) Handicap – 19 Modem (each way) @ 10/1 (Paddy Power)

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Posted 1 year, 10 months ago

31 Jul
2014

An Invasion Awaits On Ladies’ Day At Ballybrit

The biggest day of the year bar none is upon us here in Galway, as the finery and splendour of Ladies’ Day collides with the staging of Europe’s richest handicap hurdle.

The €250,000 Guiness Galway Hurdle headlines an eight race card, with five of those races live with us on RTE1.

If Plate day yesterday was big then expect this afternoon’s festivities to be bigger, bolder and brighter, though perhaps not for man of the moment Shane Shortall, for whom a 74/1 double was capped off by the runaway success of Road To Riches in the big race.

Day three saw the attendance once again up, and this time by a long way too, with a total crowd of 18,766 up 4,728 on the same day a year ago.

Happily that lead to increased business for the various betting outlets too, with the betting ring turning over €1,497,455 (up €486,000!) and the Tote desks puling in €830,962 – a very healthy rise of €154,000 compared to the equivalent figures for the Wednesday of 2013 race week.

Onwards and upwards for Ladies’ Day though, and hopefully that applies to my punting too after a dismal effort up until now!

The team to drag me back into positive equity on day four at the Galway races looks like this:

Tony Martin is already among the winners this week and might be able to conjur a miracle in the big race from favourite Thomas Edison, but he’s much better with a bit of give in the ground and has a poor strike rate over hurdles, with just a solitary win from 14 starts under this code – and even that came in only a mere Bellewstown maiden more than two years ago!

These things can bite you on the backside but at 5/1 I’d be a layer seven days a week, but with a false favourite it does mean inflated prices about a stack of talented horses, not least Henry De Bromhead’s extremely useful Darwins Fox.

From the same stable that won here with Beckwith Star on Monday and supplied yesterday’s Plate fifth Lord Ben comes a talented sort who arrives off the back of a Grade 3 second at Tipperary in the Grimes Hurdle.

Proven in the hustle bustle of big field handicap hurdles this lad also boasts all important course form, and strutted his stuff at this meeting 12 months ago when second on the Flat before winning a beginners’ chase.

With that in mind we know the track holds no fears, a mark of 140 equates to a nice racing weight of 10st 11lbs, and pleasingly De Bromhead has acted fast to snap up the services of Davy Russell in the saddle.

Naturally there are dangers in this field wherever you look, but at 12/1 each way Darwins Fox could be the one.

Coral and Skybet are both top price and are offering five places each way.

Elsewhere on the card John ‘Shark’ Hanlon’s Abolitionist looks generously priced at 20/1 in the opening Beginners’ Chase at 1.50pm.

Trip and ground will suit and he positively bolted up at Bellewstown last time out.

Another at big odds who could have a say is Johnny Murtagh’s Dalkova in the seven furlong listed fillies event at 3.40pm.

It’s a race in which Dermot Weld (five winners so far this week) supplies the short priced favourite in Tested, but in stall eight she isn’t nearly as well drawn as prominent racer Dalkova, who will jump from gate two.

An easy handicap winner at Naas two runs back, she ran very well in defeat in a listed race at Killarney a fortnight ago, and dropping back in trip she could spring a surprise.

Last but not least, I have to suggest the brilliant Stuart Crawford’s Ground Invasion in the 2m 4f Novice Hurdle at 4.15pm.

A three-time Point-to-Point winner, this horse has hacked up in both bumpers to date, and benefits from the assistance of Barry Geraghty for this first spin over timber.

A potential class act, the best price of 100/30 is available with BetVictor.

Good luck!

Thursday’s best bets at Galway:

1.50 – GuinnessPlus App Beginners Chase – 1 Abolitionist (each way) @ 20/1 (bet365, Boylesports, Paddy Power or Ladbrokes)

3.40 – Arthur Guinness EBF Corrib Fillies Stakes – 4 Dalkova (each way) @ 12/1 (Paddy Power)

4.15 – Guinness Novice Hurdle – 6 Ground Invasion (win) @ 100/30 (BetVictor)

4.55 – Guinness Galway Hurdle Handicap – 6 Darwins Fox (each way) @ 12/1 (Coral and Skybet)

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Posted 2 years, 10 months ago

30 Jul
2014

Join The Chorus On Plate Day At Galway

Vastonea created a slice of Galway history in Tuesday’s feature Topaz Mile, powering home under apprentice Gary Halpin to add to his 2012 victory in the same race, in the process becoming just the second dual winner of the second day feature in history after Pinch Hitter in 1981 & ’82.

The crowd was again in boisterous mood, with an extra 908 patrons compared with the same day 12 months ago contributing to a healthy figure of 19,156.

They’ll be expecting far more this afternoon though, with thetote.com Galway Plate the 22 runner feature prize scheduled to go to post at 5.30pm.

Freely available at 20/1 this time last week the Tom Mullins-trained Alderwood tops the betting for the big one, and owner JP McManus admitted on RTE yesterday that he’d had a few shillings on the market leader before the price unsurprisingly contracted.

Will he collect?

The choice of AP McCoy, Alderwood has been saved for this race but there is a danger that his absence since October will count against him, while you can also argue that the 10-year-old is a better horse racing left handed, is possibly is a more effective campaigner nowadays on Soft ground, and has only won two of his eight starts over fences.

For those reasons in a wide open race it may pay to look elsewhere.

It’s also a race within a race because the McManus silks will be carried by a staggering seven of the field – split between six trainers!

Prepared by the ultra shrewd Dungarvan man John Kiely JP also has the strongly fancied Wise Old Owl, second in this race in 2011 but only twice raced in the intervening three years.

He creeps in as bottom weight.

Among his contingent McManus also boats hat-trick chaser It’s A Gimme – one of two runners in the field sent over from Jackdaws Castle by Jonjo O’Neill – but he finished distressed after his win at Market Raspberry last time out and that would have to be a concern.

Moving away from the JP team for a while another trainer who is double handed is Dessie Hughes, who took this prize way back in 1985 with Chow Mein.

The fit again Mark Enright takes the mount on Art Of Logistics, who is chasing a hat-trick after consecutive wins at Punchestown, where he also ran a blinder at the Festival.

However, my worry for him is whether he can deliver in a big field – his four chase wins have come in field sizes of 10, 5, 8 & 4.

Also representing Dessie Hughes is Golden Wonder, who displayed his suitability for the Galway circuit by taking a course and distance beginners’ chase at this meeting a year ago.

He was second in the Irish National last time out off a six pounds lower mark, but one thing he isn’t is quick, and in a true run 2m 6f around Galway on fast ground he could well find himself getting left behind.

Paul Nicholls won this race with the heavily backed favourite Oslot back in 2008 and is represented by the five-year-old Caid Du Berlais, about whom I had a lengthy but good natured argument with the Racing Post’s ace reporter David Jennings last night.

DJ insists he’s here to win and the five-year-old is cracking value based on his second to Jezki (over hurdles) at Down Royal last November, I think otherwise in that he lacks experience after only two small field chase outings, especially as in the second of those he finished plum last, albeit in a Grade 2.

Jessie Harrington has the mare Burn And Turn, but she’s normally more effective in mares only races, plus there’s not much to suggest she’ll see out a fast run two and three quarter miles when she was all out to win her warm up over shorter at Punchestown.

Willie Mullins puts up five pound claimer JJ Burke on Balnslow, but the Thyestes and Kim Muir fourth ran a stinker at Punchestown last time, and even by the standards of WP Mullins it would be an impressive training feat to bring him back to win this.

He also fields the 2013 Irish Grand National runner up Away We Go, the mount of the brilliant Paul Townend, and the pair certainly have an each way squeak, while the same comment applies to one of the Henry De Bromhead pair Lord Ben.

I mentioned though that JP McManus has a third of the field representing him, and perhaps the most intriguing of all to me is the 20/1 shot Vulcanite.

Absolutely transformed since a wind operation early in the year, this talented seven year old son of Dubawi – rated as high as 103 when with Ralph Beckett on the Flat – is finally displaying the sort of consistent and excellent form he has long been suspected of being capable of.

Right at home on quick summer ground and with the sun on his back, we interviewed his trainer Charlie Longsdon on RTE yesterday, and he revealed this is very much the type of race that they’ve been looking forward to targetting.

Vulcanite is on a roll after wins Stratford, Market Rasen and Worcester, and with Noel Fehily over to ride him he looks well worth an interest each way.

A revised mark of 147 puts him in here with a racing weight of 11st 2lbs, while the step up in trip could see him in an even better light.

Grab the 20’s with any of Coral, Ladbrokes or Skybet, all of whom are offering five places each way!

Elsewhere on the card one thing the great man David Jennings and I do firmly agree on is the chance of the Mags Mullins-trained Ballychorus in the Mares’ Handicap Hurdle at 3.35pm.

She likes to bowl on and force the pace which will suit her here, and her opening rating of 116 looks extremely lenient based on her bumper win at Killarney and her maiden hurdle strike at Roscommon.

Available at 6’s last night she still looks fair value at the generally available 9/2.

Finally, a massive thank you to the 200 or so punters who came to support last night’s Injured Jockeys fund big race preview night at McHughs Pub in Castlegar near the racecourse, and thanks also to guests Niall McCullagh, Marietta Doran, Shark Hanlon and Hayley O’Connor for giving up their time to support a great cause.

Good luck!

Today’s best bets at Galway:

3.35 – Downlaod The Tote Mobile App EBF Mares Handicap Hurdle – 3 Ballychorus (win) @ 9/2 (general)

5.30 – thetote.com Galway Plate (Handicap) – 5 Vulcanite (each way) @ 20/1 (Coral, Ladbrokes or Skybet)

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Posted 2 years, 10 months ago

29 Jul
2014

Galway On The Up As Byrnes Bids For Chase Domination

Only in Galway during race week could you encounter a very well known, instantly recognisable celebrity at the reception desk of your hotel first thing in the morning, enquiring as to whether or not the shoe that they dropped out of their fourth floor window at 3am had been handed in!

Clearly honesty and integrity aren’t in short supply in these parts – the errant footwear had indeed been returned, and was handed back to its grateful owner.

Also pleased at how things have gone so far are the racecourse themselves, as the opening day brought a very healthy crowd of 18,938, a rise of nearly 1,000 people on the comparative figure for 2013.

Figures in the betting ring were up too, with a total of €1,241,109 wagered across the six races, while the Tote kiosks did a brisk trade too, taking in €738,940, a big leap of around €130,000 on 12 months ago.

Anyone who joined the surge of cash for Tony Martin’s Quick Jack in the big one will have been well chuffed, as the favourite surged clear to justify heavy market support in the night’s big race.

The show must go on though, and it’s another evening card on day two headed by the €115,000 Topaz Mile at 6.40pm, live on RTE2.

Tom Segal’s Pricewise column hit the bullseye in the feature event yesterday, suggesting Quick Jack at 7/1.

He’s gone to the well again today, putting forward Dermot Weld’s first-time blinkered Defining Year, for whom the cash has predictably arrived this morning, with the initial 10/1 available with Boylesports and Coral quickly evaporating.

Weld got on the scoresheet late in the day on Monday, striking with easy winner Timiyan in the mile and a half handicap.

Defining Year needs to improve on his recent form, but won on the All Weather at Dundalk earlier in the year, and ran okay when sixth in his warm up race at Leopardstown, and also when sixth in the Irish Lincoln at the Curragh back in March.

The headgear could spark a huge improvement, and he looks to have been laid out for this test.

That said, in a maximum field of 18 there are no shortage of dangers, and four British-trained runners will fancy their chances of at least taking home some prize money.

Kevin Ryan’s Pintura is back for more after being second in this in 2012, while George Baker’s Jack’s Revenge ran a cracker at Royal Ascot when fifth over a furlong shorter in the Buckingham Palace Stakes.

Brian Ellison sends over top weight Balty Boys, and also the in-form Baraweez.

The grey Vastonea won this off 89 two years ago and returned to be third off 96 in 2013 – he’s on the same mark today but aided by young Gary Halpin’s seven pound claim.

If successful Vastonea would become just the second ever dual winner of this race after Pinch Hitter in 1981 and ’82.

The one I like though is David Wachman’s big improver General Brook.

Up five pounds for winning over 1m 2f at Leopardstown last time out, that was his second win in three outings this season, and beautifully drawn in stall two he can benefit from a fast pace over this stiff mile as he drops back in trip.

Further encouragement comes from his stable’s form – of his last 16 runners Wachman has seen no less than 12 make the first three, and that’s all we need if we back General Brook at 14/1 each way with any of BetVictor, Coral, Ladbrokes or Skybet.

Elsewhere on the card the chase track is set for a good workout with a field of 12 declared to go to post for the 2m 6f Latin Quarter Chase at 5.35pm.

Trainer Charles Byrnes looks set to be rewarded for sidestepping the Galway Plate with Royal Ascot winner Domination by seeing him take this instead.

As opposed to lugging a big weight in a hotter race the 141-rated multi-talented seven-year-old is firmly suited by the conditions of this event, and after a solid sighter over the bigger obstacles when second at Killarney a fortnight ago he can go one better.

Already a winner over fences at Limerick in March this horse has becoming something of star stayer on the Flat, but is also a four time hurdles scorer too.

In a first-time visor with Davy Russell up top today he is very much the one to be on.

Boylesports and BetVictor both offer 15/8.

Finally, it’s last call for tonight’s Injured Jockeys Fund Plate and Hurdle Preview at the well known McHughs Pub in Castlegar, less than two kilometres from the racecourse itself.

Kicking off at 9.30pm I’ll be joined by trainer John ‘Shark’ Hanlon, top jock Niall McCulagh, Hayley O’Connor of Ladbrokes, plus style guru Marietta Doran.

It’s free to get in and they’ll even send a free burger your way – throw and euro or two in the bucket for the IJF and everyone’s a winner.

Hope to see you there.

Good luck!

Tuesday’s best bets at Galway:

5.35 – Latin Quarter Chase – 11 Domination (win) @ 15/8 (Boylesports and BetVictor)

6.40 – Topaz Mile Handicap – 12 General Brook (each way) @ 14/1 (BetVictor, Coral, Ladbrokes or Skybet)

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Posted 2 years, 10 months ago

27 Jul
2014

Full Steam Ahead For Day One At Glorious Galway

Pack a spare liver, strap yourself in, and let Galway do what Galway does best, as over the course of the next seven days the twin peaks of the famous Ballybrit hill and the equally renowned Guinness and Oyster Tent will claim multiple victims both equine and two-legged…

Many a Ballybrit punter has celebrated prematurely as their dead cert has kicked for home at the foot of the hill, only for the petrol light to flicker on empty as the stiff uphill climb has its say, while metres away in the great marquee hardened stout drinkers are also inclined to take a lie down after an afternoon’s enthusiastically imbibing the local brew.

You can run a big race every day of this great festival, but 51 weeks after the last one ended the 2014 version sparks into life on Monday evening with a six race card that has more than a couple of attractive looking options…

An extraordinary 27 times Dermot Weld has been leading trainer at the meeting over the years, hammering in a record 17 winners during the week in 2011.

He had to settle for just the 11 last year (!!), but will be a popular man with punters asking him if the Davy Russell-ridden Manhattan Swing is the one to be on in the opening two mile novice hurdle at 5.10pm.

He has won this race six times in the last 10 seasons and the early betting has his runner down as favourite, but his 90-rated Flat campaigner is yet to jump a hurdle in public, and either way might have picked a scrap he can’t win with County Meath trainer Des McDonogh’s Morga.

Owned by Jim Bolger, this filly is higher rated on the Flat, fit from a recent spin under that code, and most importantly of all is unbeaten in two starts over timber.

She looks the value to upset the Weld bandwagon.

An hour later comes an event that ‘DK’ has dominated to an even greater extent, in the shape of the seven furlong colts and geldings EBF maiden at 6.10pm.

Weld had his first ever Galway winner in this race way back in 1972 with a horse called Klairvimy, and has won it an almost unbelievable 22 times in total!

Six of those wins have come in the last eight years, with Mustajeeb doing the business 12 months ago.

That proves he isn’t afraid to unleash a good one here, and his Group 2 Futurity Stakes entry Postulation looks the ideal candidate to improve on his Curragh debut sixth and give the ‘King of Galway’ an opening win.

He has to reverse form with Aidan O’Brien’s Jamaica who finished ahead of him there, but no one targets this race quite like D K Weld!

There’s a big prize up for grabs in the two mile staying race at 6.45pm, and it could pay to side with bottom weight Massini’s Trap.

Successful 11 days ago in Killarney, that was his second win in three starts, earning a rise that carries him in here by a whisker.

Kildare trainer James Nash has snapped up Katie Walsh to take the mount, and the pair look attractive at a general 14/1 each way.

Good luck!

Monday’s best bets at Galway:

5.10 Galway – radissonhotelgalway.com & galwaybayhotel.com Novice Hurdle – 8 Morga (win)

6.10 – claregalwayhotel.ie (C&G) EBF Maiden – 5 Postulation (win)

6.45 – Connacht Hotel Q.R. Handicap – 20 Massini’s Trap (each way)

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Posted 2 years, 10 months ago

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Today's NAPS from leading Racing Journalists

2:05 Uttoxeter View Racecard
Turn TurkThe Scout (Daily Express)
2:15 Kelso View Racecard
Champagne CityJeffrey Ross (Glasgow Evening Times)
Fortunatus (Sheffield Star)
2:20 Curragh View Racecard
DeauvilleChris Wright (Liverpool Echo)
SomehowTemplegate (The Sun)
Success DaysRory Delargy (The Irish Field)
2:25 Fontwell View Racecard
GrayhawkJason Heavey (Sunday Express)
2:35 Uttoxeter View Racecard
Beat ThatChris Goulding (Scottish Express)
Patrick Weaver (The Star)
Black CortonMelissa Jones (Gloucestershire Echo)
Brother TeddWhistler (Sunday Telegraph)
2:55 Fontwell View Racecard
The Wicket ChickenKeith McHugh (Oldham Evening Chronicle)
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3:05 Uttoxeter View Racecard
One For BillyRockavon (Sunday Mail)
3:15 Kelso View Racecard
Sudski StarGarry Owen (Daily Record)
3:25 Curragh View Racecard
HydrangeaWest Tip (Western Morning News)
WinterLee Sobot (Yorkshire Evening Post)
3:30 Fontwell View Racecard
KeltusThe Duke (Yorkshire Post)
3:50 Kelso View Racecard
Mister DonGlendale (The Scotsman)
4:05 Fontwell View Racecard
LondoniaRob Wright (The Times)
4:15 Uttoxeter View Racecard
BallynagourPaul Kealy (Weekender)
Days Of Heaven- (The Guardian)
HenryvilleMarlborough (Daily Telegraph)
4:25 Kelso View Racecard
Wyfield RoseNewsboy (Daily Mirror)
4:45 Uttoxeter View Racecard
WalkamiMoorestyle (Daily Star Sunday)
4:55 Kelso View Racecard
Cave HunterRobin Goodfellow (Daily Mail)
Mercury (Daily Post)
Tallow FairSteve Simpson (Blackpool Gazette)
5:15 Uttoxeter View Racecard
Cosmic StatesmanEbor (The Press, York)
5:30 Curragh View Racecard
Sea WolfKarl Hedley (Irish Post)

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