Galway Hurdle Day Preview
An eight race card starts off with a intriguing beginners chase. The 131 rated hurdler Our Man Zebo has chaser written all over him and he should take all the beating. Barry Geraghty rides the former pointer and granted a clear round he should be tough to beat. Dermot Weld’s Tylers Cottage finished third in this very race back in 2008 and has had many problems. He ran very well at Killarney last time but needs to find a lot on ratings. Useful hurdler Elegant Statesman has been very disappointing since winning his first two starts, whilst Jarob looks a chaser and looks a threat to all.
Willie Mullins should be winning the following race with Alelchi Inois, who has been very impressive in his two chase starts to date. He showed a nice attitude to beat Domination last time who slightly let down the form since but he doesn’t have anything of his calibre to beat. The trip is probably on the sharp side but Back to Balloo will probably set a strong pace, making it a stamina test.
Champion Trainer Willie Mullins could taste more success with his filly Laviniad in the extended mile handicap. The drop in trip will help her settle and she has a nice drawn in stall 2. Dermot Weld’s Northern Rocked heads the weights but he would prefer softer conditions. Ger Keanes Captain Cullen is also of interest after a nice prep run at Naas.
Dermot Weld’s Tested is the highest rated and gets weight for age allowance from her elders in the 7f Corrib Fillies Listed Race. She looks a classy filly and will be hard to beat. Johnny Murtagh’s Dalkova should set a decent gallop which should suit Jim Bolger’s Tobann who looks the main danger.
The 2m 4f Guinness Novice Hurdle looks tricky with 10 runners going to post. Stuart Crawford’s Ground Invasion is a fascinating contender having won two bumpers but lacks hurdling experience and faces a tough task. Mags Mullins runs Mumbo Bay who finished second to recent scorer Shield and should be better over this longer trip. Philip Fenton’s Desertmore Stream sets a decent standard and has been a revelation on quicker ground. Willie Mullins has another good chance of a winner in the form of Pink Hat with Paul Townend in the saddle. She has improved for the faster ground and her hurdles win at Kilbeggan was impressive.
The richest hurdle race in Ireland, the Galway Hurdle, is extremely competitive and no more than 9 represent the UK. John Ferguson runs four, with his Purple Bay heading the weights with the man of the moment Shane Shortall riding. He is a stone higher than when bolting up in the Summer Hurdle at Market Rasen but sets a high standard. He also runs Dubai Prince and Parlour Games, who have been in good form of late.
Dermot Weld’s Hisaabaat is of interest off 134 especially on his juvenile form and has been nicely prepared for this on the flat. Tony McCoy will be hoping for better luck than in yesterday’s Galway Plate when falling on Alderwood and he rides the well fancied Thomas Edison for the already successful Tony Martin. He won his last two starts on the flat at the Curragh and has been very unlucky over hurdles. He has always been considered a high class horse since beating Champagne Fever in a bumper at Leopardstown by 5 Lengths and was an eye catcher recently at Punchestown, staying on nicely having been very far back. At a lower weight Charlie Swan’s The Game Changer has decent claims and excellent 5lb claimer Kevin Sexton rides.
Pirate Cove looks laid out for the 1m 4f Guinness Surge Handicap and she should appreciate the step up in trip. She finished a staying on second behind the most progressive handicapper this season Panama Hat, who is now rated 35lb higher. The third, Spring Focus, finished a close second last night off a 11lb higher and the sixth (Sharjah) and the ninth (San Gabriel) have both won since. The form looks very strong and she should be a tough nut to crack. Denis Hogan’s improving Ridestan looks a big danger but ran just four days ago and may still be feeling the effects of that hard race. Gold Focus should improve for the step up in trip and is interesting.
The eight race card ends with the 2m 2f Guinness Legacy Flat Race. Shark Hanlon’s Clondaw Farmer sets a high standard after a fine second in the Champion P2P Bumper at Fairyhouse behind the well thought of Free Expression. Patrick Mullins rides and he should be hard to beat but the Shark hasn’t been having winners of late. The chief threat looks to be Jamie Codd’s mount Port Rock a point winner who was a promising second at Down Royal behind Willie Mullins’ good mare Morning Run.
By Sean Jackson 31/7/14
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