We are back to preview day four which features the Galway Hurdle and it looks another excellent renewal this time around. Day three proved to be a tricky card with ground conditions changing. We managed to pick up a couple of lovely placed selections in the final two races with Sheer Liss (40/1) getting promoted to third following a stewards enquiry and Mighty Meggsie (12/1) running an excellent race for the Jessica Harrington team. Make sure you call into your local Bar One shop throughout the week and check out all the offers and specials that are available. We are the number one bookmaker and the customer is always number one.
4.45 GUINNESS NOVICE HURDLE
An intriguing race here and the ground conditions are likely to play a part depending on how much rain we get before Day Four gets underway.
VERY EXCELLENT looks overpriced in this race after finishing a very close second here last year and then returned this season with a smooth victory last time out at Bellewstown. He travels extremely well in his races and the ground should be no issue as he has shown he can handle slower ground. His win at Bellewstown was impressive as he scored in impressive fashion by eight and a half lengths.
The form doesn’t have the strongest look to it as Top Line Tommy let it down next time out. We know this horse handles Galway and that is a massive factor.
He should give us a good run and be bang there at the finish.
5.15 GUINESS OPEN GATE BREWERY BEGINNERS CHASE
COURT MAID is another who has course form after she landed a bumper here back in 2018 and looks like she could play a part here on her chase debut.
She will be getting weight from some of the major contenders higher in the market and that could just play to her strengths. Her hurdle form is very strong in terms of this race and one of the strongest formlines she has is her victory last time out when she made all the running to beat Espanito Bello by a diminishing margin. She could be well to the fore here and if her jumping holds up she could give them all plenty to do.
On hurdles ratings she has only 4lb to find with Doctor Duffy and with Cathal Landers claiming five on Doctor Duffy it will theoretically leave Court Maid two pound better as she is receiving weight.
I think she has a very strong chance here and will be hard to keep out of the frame.
5.45 ROCKSHORE NOVICE CHASE (GRADE 3)
The Mee family have had numerous winners around Ballybrit over the years and could have another one here with the Emmet Mullins trained RUSSIAN DIAMOND.
This horse is very lightly race and is making his chase debut in a hot contest but that intrigues me even more. This horse has always looked a chaser in the making and whatever he did in bumpers and over hurdles was going to be a bonus. He won his bumper around here before going to Down Royal where he was successful on his debut over hurdles.
The ground conditions should be perfect and he looks one of the most interesting runners on the card. It will only be his sixth race of his career but he could prove to be an above average chaser and be far too good for this field.
My NAP of Day Four.
6.15 ARTHUR GUINNESS HANDICAP HURDLE
This is somewhat of a shot in the dark but it is purely based on flat form from last time out. I keep going back to the Ladies Derby at the Curragh where Princess Zoe was successful as the race has worked out really well.
LUSIS NATUREA was a 66/1 chance that day but ran a very promising race staying on from the back of the field to finish eight not beaten far.
That should leave him spot on for this and the stable has been in decent form of late with Shumaker winning twice in recent weeks. The last time we seen this horse over hurdles, he was brought down at Naas in a race won by Muhaafiz.
The main question from that was whether or not he was going to get into contention. He was still in touch and was going to go close for me.
This race may have been a plan for a while and he looks to be worth following each way in a competitive race.
6.45 GUINNESS GALWAY HURDLE (GRADE A HANDICAP)
Olly Murphy was kind enough to take part in a recent Trainer Q and A with myself over lockdown and he looks to have a big chance here with HUNTERS CALL.
The booking of Denis O Regan is very interesting as this horse likes to be put to sleep at the back of the field and creep his way into the race and pounce up the straight. There is plenty of pace in this and as long as Denis gets some luck in running I can see him going very close.
He picked up a big pot at Ascot with Jack Kennedy aboard with Silver Streak back in second and Verdana Blue back in third. He absolutely bolted up on his prep run for this race at Soutwell under Richard Johnson and he even flashed his tail in the closing stages suggesting there was a little more in the tank.
Denis O’Regan is a master at sitting and biding his time and delivering this type of horse exactly when he needs to.
I think he could loom large when the rest of the field are under pressure and could skip away and win nicely.
Big chance on form and should go very close.
7.15 GUINNESS NOVICE HURDLE
This race will all depend on whether The Very Man will take his chance. JON SNOW is in my notebook quite a while and I am hoping it doesn’t turn into a non event with The Very Man being a non runner.
Jon Snow took a while to get his act together over obstacles but won nicely at Leopardstown under Paul Townend back on March 1st. He should have no ground concerns here and even on the back of a poor run on the flat most recently I think he will take plenty of beating this time around.
Keep a close eye on whether The Very Man stays in the race. If he doesn’t then it’s a race just to watch for future reference.
7.45 OPEN GATE PURE BREW HANDICAP HURDLE
This extended trip will take the stamina reserves to infinity and beyond but VICTORIA BAY looks like she has no issue stamina wise and could give us a solid run here.
She ran here last season but faded close home to finish midfield. One of her most solid hurdle runs is a second place finish at Cork on soft to heavy ground where she just couldn’t match the winner in the closing stages and got run out of it close home.
She has been mainly campaigned over fences most recently and she returns over hurdles off a three pound lower mark. This is a very trappy race and I would advise a small play on Victoria Bay as she could be staying on strongly when the others have cried enough.
It will be a slow motion finish and grit and determination will be key.
8.15 GUINESS TIME INH FLAT RACE
Willie and Patrick Mullins are the go to men when it comes to the last race of the day and they look to have a very strong chance with POWER OF PAUSE.
This horse came highly touted following a very impressive point to point win where he beat Imperial Flem. Imperial Flem backed that up nicely on his first run for Evan Williams by winning his maiden hurdle in tidy fashion.
On the other hand though Power Of Pause was turned over at odds on at Thurles before running extremely flat at Leopardstown the last time we seen him in March. Two main factors come into the equation here, he has had a bit of time off and he also steps up in trip.
I think he will be better with an obstacle in his way over time but he looks the class act in this race and should take all the beating.