Galway: Day 1 Preview
The seven day festival kicks off with the usual competitive 2m Novice hurdle, where seven of the nine runners can be given solid chances. Dermot Weld runs Manhattan Swing who has a high flat rating of 95. However he lacks hurdles experience and isn’t suited by the race conditions. Davy Russell rides and he deserts Dessie McDonagh’s Morga who is two from two over obstacles. Henry Higgins with a rating of 125 could go well after a impressive display on the flat at Leopardstown.
The following race is even more open, with 20 runners going to post for the Easyfix Rubber Products Handicap Hurdle. Tony Martin’s Artful Artist has been a revelation on the flat recently (went up 28lb) and should be very hard to beat if transferring that form over timber. His mark of 102 looks exploitable and Barry Geraghty rides. Swantykay, Roman Numeral and Vision du Coeur all have to be considered in a open race.
The opening 7f maiden of the festival is also known as the Weld maiden as he’s won 7 of the last 11 renewals. He sends out Postulation who has 2 lengths to make up with Aidan O’Brien’s well bred Jamaica. The latter was drawn widest of all in stall 12 that day while the former was drawn 1. Jamaica didn’t get much cover and ran a bit free that day and looks better than the bare form and so could uphold the form over the Weld runner. The form of the race looks strong with the winner, Gleneagles, going on to group 3 success in the Tyros Stakes. Jim Bolger’s Vocaliser could chase them home for third.
The feature race on day one is the Connacht Hotel Q.R Handicap over 2m. Galway king Dermot Weld is double handed with Pay Day Kitten and the quirky Grecian Tiger. Both horses demand respect but Tony Martin’s Quick Jack looks laid out for this race and Steve Clements takes off a valuable 5lb. He finished a close second in the November handicap off 83 on ground softer than ideal and a repeat of that effort should make him tough to beat granted a smooth passage.
Dermot Weld hasn’t been lucky in the 7f 3yo handicap but his Bobby’s Heart could finally change that this year. He made a promising start to his career in a hot maiden at the Curragh over 7f, the form of which couldn’t have worked out much better since, with six horses winning plenty of races subsequently. He was given too much to do at Dundalk in a weak race and was ridden too aggressively over 6f on his last start. His mark of 68 is workable and he wears a visor for the first time. It looks a weak race and bottom weight Botanical Lady looks the chief threat, especially on her penultimate run.
Dermot Weld’s Timiyan could be chucked in off a mark of 77 and should improve for the step up in trip in the Pillo Hotel Handicap over 1m 4f. He will probably appreciate the fast surface but has been slightly disappointing. David Wachman’s Resiliency should be suited by the stiff finish and could reverse form with John Oxx’s Primogeniture who carries 5lb more. Aidan O’Brien’s Annus Mirabilis turns out quickly after a maiden success at Leopardstown on Thursday.
Weld could end the card with another winner with Call Vinnie. He won a point at Templemore impressively but the second was well beaten in a bumper at Cork since. Shark Hanlon’s Old Storm could be hard to beat with Patrick Mullins in the saddle. The form of his point win has been franked with the second finishing runner-up in the Racing Post Champion Bumper at Fairyhouse, so he could be the one they all have to pass.
By Sean Jackson 28/7/14
Signup to our RSS feed