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.
Thursday’s best bets at Galway:
4.45 – Guinness Galway Hurdle – 14 Hidden Cyclone (each way) @ 8/1 (Boylesports of BetVictor)
Tags: 2015 Galway Festival