People’s spending habits might still be under pressure, and the economy enduring what could best be described as a squeeze, but try telling that to anyone present here in the seven day long bubble which is Galway…
As we roll into the first of the two big days of the week, with this afternoon’s tote.com Galway Plate the €200,000 highlight live on RTE1 at 5.30pm, we can reflect on two superb opening chapters at Ballybrit, with punters off to a flyer on Monday and the crowd up, before a riotous Tuesday which saw the crowd rise by more than 4,000 on 12 months ago.
The figure of 18,248 was markedly up on the 14,058 who clicked their way through the turnstiles on the equivalent day in 2012, though Galway being what it is there were probably another few hundred who got distracted by the mayhem on Shop St and have delayed their trip to the sports until today.
The increase in spectators also lead to a healthy rise in turnover in the betting ring: the bookies enjoyed a sharp spike in business compared to a year before, with €1.25m changing hands as opposed to €970,297.
Plenty of punters shouted home the winner of the feature Topaz Mile at 6.45pm, with young Colin Keane powering clear on the each way gamble Brendan Bracken for trainer Ger Lyons (fuelled by featuring in the Racing Post Pricewise column).
Keane then explained his delight at riding a winner at Galway, a change of fortune after crashing his car last week!
Though, as my betting ring colleague Brian Gleeson was quick to remark: “he’ll be able to afford the panel beater now!”
Hopefully those same winning punters have saved a few quid to play with this afternoon, as there are plenty of options split between two really tremendous cards at Galway and Goodwood.
The latest ‘duel on the Downs’ will be the clear highlight of a mouthwatering second day at Goodwood, and for all that Toronado and Dawn Approach look to be separated by the width of a cigarette paper, the Sussex Stakes (3.05pm) can confirm St James’s Palace Stakes form.
Don’t be in any way surprised if Declaration Of War plays a big part too, but aside from his Derby aberration Dawn Approach is unbeaten in nine starts, and is chiselled from pretty stern stuff.
Elsewhere at Goodwood, if you’re fancy playing on something altogether more speculative then you could do a lot worse than backing Brian Meehan’s Testudo at 14/1 in the Gordon Stakes (2.30pm).
I am absolutely convinced this grey son of Duke Of Marmalade remains capable of much better on just his fourth start, and given his entries in both the Voltigeur and St Leger you’d have to think his shrewd trainer agrees.
It’s a shame there aren’t a dead eight runners for each way purposes, but even so he doesn’t deserve to be dismissed as a 14/1 shot.
Here in Galway there’ll be a monster crowd for Plate day, but at the time of writing everyone is holding their breath to see if overnight favourite Carlingford Lough even gets into the big race (5.30pm, live on RTE1)!
He’s first reserve and needs something to be withdrawn to take his place in the line up, though owner JP McManus has four runners in the race proper, and you’d have to suspect they’ll shoehorn him in one way or another.
If they do Carlingford Lough will hold a huge shout off a mark of 133, but either way it’s a cracking renewal with plenty of feasible options for punters.
One I really like is Punchestown Festival winner Klepht for Tom Mullins and Robbie Power.
He signed off his novice campaign with a flourish, and has only run once on the Flat since then to protect his mark of 144.
He’ll be held up and try and creep through beaten horses, but don’t be surprised to see him finishing fast and late.
You could certainly do worse than have a look at the 14’s available each way with Coral.
Also at Galway, Dermot Weld should be having a winner on the card with Lucky Kitten in the 60-95 mile handicap at 6.40pm.
He’s got precious little to beat in a small field, yet is available at 5/2 with BetVictor.
I can also pass on a very good word for Usuel Smurfer in the three mile handicap hurdle at 4.10pm.
A winner at Downpatrick and not out of the frame in three starts over timber, he looks worth following in an open contest, especially as a number of bookmakers including Betfred and Coral will accommodate you at 10/1 each way.
Finally, a mighty thank you to all those who packed out McHugh’s in Galway last night for our Injured Jockeys Fund race night, featuring myself, Paddy Power, Shark Hanlon, Marietta Doran and Niall McCullagh.
We haven’t had time to count a vast amount of change and notes currently filling four buckets, but every cent will be going to a very, very important cause, so well played and thumbs up if you made the effort.
Wednesday’s best bets:
5.30 Galway – thetote.com Galway Plate (Handicap) – 6 Klepht (each way) @ 14/1 (Coral)
6.40 Galway – Bet Online At thetote.com Handicap – 3 Lucky Kitten (win) @ 5/2 (BetVictor)Posted 4 years, 11 months ago