Horses to Follow with PJ Walsh
Horses to Follow By PJ Walsh
I come from a family that always had a huge love of gambling, mainly on horses, but in reality punting on a lot of sports.
I never get sick of tales from Dad about how he drove to Roscommon one evening to back a Jim Bolger horse, only to get delayed in Athlone and manage to make it to the track to see the aforementioned horse flash by the winning post in front or how his brother played his cards in a game of 25 really badly one night costing them the entry fee to the local dance.
I have a few similar stories myself at this stage. My Father was the main influence given that he brought me to racing as young as 8 months old, or so I’m told. Getting separated from my parents at the Curragh and hearing ‘would PJ Walsh please come to the secretary’s office, his parents are waiting for him’ over the loud speaker was a regular occurrence.
Times have changed a lot since but I still have a love for horse racing and trying to spot something the majority of punters won’t. Video analysis is a very important part of punting on horse racing and combined with pace analysis, form analysis and more recently sectional timing analysis you can attempt to win the war against the bookmakers. I hope this piece will help to highlight horses that may be victorious in the future.
Galway 28 Jul
Nodiac (Ger Lyons)
This maiden will do well to live up to the standards of last year with that renewal having produced a multiple Group 1 winner in Legatissimo and Fillies Mile winner Together Forvever since. It’s easy to say Now Or Never had everything go her way here from stall 1 having dictated a slower than average pace but she always looked in control and it would be folly to underestimate her as she won with plenty in hand.
I thought Nodiac was the eye-catcher though having sat well back off this slow pace and enduring an often typical problem associated with Galway having to wait for a run on this inside. Leaving aside the winner’s obvious superiority for a minute, this Ger Lyons trained filly gave the eventual second Simannka around 4l of a start coming up out the dip and just failed to peg her back for the runner up berth by a nose. Simannka has shown ability in her previous run in Tipperary where she may never have been running in this maiden had she gotten a run sooner. Nodiac’s astute trainer will place her to win a maiden somewhere soon.
Galway 28 Jul
Benkei (Harry Rogers)
Benkei is a horse I know quite well having followed him since his maiden runs. He has been a little frustrating to follow but has gradually improved since competing in handicaps. He has shown a liking for undulating tracks despite his size and has disappointed on more conventional tracks. His record of 8332011 on undulating tracks versus 76466072 on level tracks may be noise but the visual impression he leaves me with is that he travels very smoothly around places like Galway and Navan giving me hope that he may turn into a bit of a track specialist round Ballybrit.
3 horses including Benkei were backed almost to the exclusion of the other in this race and one has to respect money that comes from the Charles Byrnes and Tony Martin yards. This along with the fact that Benkei followed a strong pace set by Winter Lion gives an indication that Harry Rogers’s 70,000 purchase may still be improving. He had a pipe opener 5 days previous to this in Leopardstown and the Galway Festival looked the aim.
Unusually lightly raced for a horse from this stable leads me to make a bold prediction that he may be a horse that will be campaigned with this festival in mind and it would not surprise if he turned up in the2mile Amateur race on the Monday of the festival in 2016. A career over hurdles in the meantime is a route his trainer suggested in post-race interviews.
Galway 29 Jul
Plough Boy (Garvan Donnelly)
This was quite a strongly run race and Plough Boy was unlucky to get nutted on the line by Bribe The Bouncer. They both had wide trips for the mile around Galway but showed they were superior over the field despite that. Plough Boy could have benefitted from a more patient ride however and was in front too long in comparison to Bribe The Bouncer who was given a more efficient ride by Connor King.
Garvan Donnelly gelded his charge after a run in Dundalk in March and this seems to have had a positive effect on him seen as his record since is 112. He may add a few more wins to that record this season despite a 6lb rise in what may look like an overreaction by the handicapper. His trainer likes good apprentices and they will help offset that rise and hopefully Plough Boy can keep improving.
Galway 30 Jul
Corail (Paul Deegan)
This turned out to be a tightly knit Listed race and a solid pace means the form is a fair reflection of its participants ability. Corail is the one to take out of this race. She hadn’t run since the 1000 Guineas trial in May and can be expected to improve for the run fitness wise although she does come from a stable that can have them ready after a break. Her campaign smacks of a horse that may be thought of as a slow ground horse and therefore a break in the height of the summer comes as no surprise.
Her race was going very smoothly from stall 1 having got a ground saving run round the rail until Chris Hayes switched out on the turn in to get a run. It looked ideal until Slipper Orchid leaned in and caused Corail’s jock to ease his mount in a unavoidable manoeuvre that cost his filly at least a length. This was the difference between victory and defeat.
The combination of her ability been slightly masked, the solidness of the form in this grade and the possible improvement for the run means that Paul Deegan can look forward to the remaining part of the Summer and the rest of the Autumn with this filly.
Galway 1 Aug
Alaskan Son (David Wachman)
Kodiac’s second 2 year old to get a mention in this review and easily the biggest eye catcher of the whole weeks racing in Galway. Billy Lee is well known for his gently gently approach to race riding and it is very effective and quite pleasing on the eye albeit a little frustrating at times. As a race reader I understand that he was trying to give a first time out 2yo a lovely introduction to his racing career and hopefully his connections and us punters will profit from that.
This was quite a slowly run event and one always has to tread carefully when analysing the form afterwards but such was the ground that Alaskan Son made up on the winner and the third that it would be hard not to predict that he has a bright future. The first part of the race saw Alaskan Son settle well back in 6th and he was asked for his effort down into the dip which was early enough in a slowly run race. Having got unbalanced after the turn in his jock soon straightened him and he proceeded to make up ground hand over fist on the winner Landofhopeandglory. This was a performance of merit given that the eventual third Kitten Love Roses brought a fair level of form to the race along with getting an easy time in front.
The one point that does temper enthusiasm is the fact that Alaskan Son has no fancy entries in any Group races but then again Legastissimo had no entries at this stage last year either and Alaskan Son can be expected to win his maiden before going onto graded company.
Horses to follow:
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