It is day five of seven at the Galway Festival and it has been a excellent week so far. We got a couple of winners on the board on Thursday with Court Maid (3/1) and Jon Snow (2/7) following the defection of The Very Man. I am hoping for a winner or two on Friday to set us up nicely for the weekend’s action.
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4.45 JAMES’S GATE MAIDEN HURDLE
This race is simply all about N’GOLO and whether he can live up to the reputation he has arrived at Closutton with.
His French flat form was nothing spectacular but he is the type of horse who could just be a name we hear plenty about in the coming months. This horse is by Galileo and the Mullins camp have had him a while but recent reports suggest that his work has been good. Stamina wont be an issue as he has won over 1m 6f in France.
He looks an exciting recruit and should take all the beating here.
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5.15 ADARE MANOR OPPORTUNITY HANDICAP HURDLE
MILLYINTHEMIDDLE looks a very interesting runner turning out quickly after a very good third in what looked a much stronger race here on Wednesday behind Mrs Milliner.
She travelled really well through the race and just got outstayed by two mares who were battle hardened on the day. Barry Browne is on board here and she won’t lack from the saddle as he is an experienced rider.
With luck in running here I think she could be a step ahead of the handicapper and win impressively. She could be much shorter in the market come the off of the race too.
5.45 GUINNESS GALWAY TRIBES HANDICAP HURDLE
This race is a bit of a minefield with many of the runners being well handicapped on past exploits over hurdles.
The one that interests me the most in this race is SHUMAKER who has been in decent form on the level with two victories of late and could go very close here. The last time we seen him over hurdles he was fifth at Navan in a very competitive race off a mark of 125 and he returns on the same mark here. I think the difference this time around is that he has had his confidence boosted from the flat and we could see a different horse here altogether.
He is a nice double figure price and looks a solid each way selection.
Will be hard to keep out of the frame.
6.15 GUINNESS HANDICAP HURDLE (GRADE B)
One of the horses that I had planned for a Galway Hurdle turns up here and it is very interesting he does so after his stable was successful in the Galway Hurdle with Aramon.
CANARDIER who was formerly trained by Dermot Mc Laughlin is now in the care of Willie Mullins and I have no doubt this horse will land a big pot very soon. He gets in here off a mark of 143 which is two pound higher than the mark he was third in the Coral Cup at Cheltenham in 2019.
He looks extremely well handicapped in terms of this race and if Willie can get him back in form then he simply could be far too good for this field. He is a horse who has plenty of natural ability but always seems to blot his copybook by making a little error.
He was travelling all over the winner in a Navan beginner chase where made a bad mistake and fell and the same happened at Cheltenham in March when he looked to be held at the time.
I have waited on this horse to run since Cheltenham and hopefully he will reward my faith in him.
This will be my NAP of day five and should be very hard to beat.
6.45 GUINNESS BEGINNER CHASE
GLOBAL JACKPOT ran a very good race last time out over fences and should be able to improve off the back of it.
While he is looking slightly exposed over the larger obstacles this looks to be one of the weaker races he has contested in recent times. His handicap mark over fences is 130 and that sets a decent standard for the others to aim at.
He has one piece of form that collates nicely around Galway this week and that is his second placed finish at Down Royal in November where he had Powersbomb back in third. Powersbomb ran an excellent race to finish second on Wednesday and that line of form will put Global Jackpot in contention.
He might just be able to get his own way in front and set the fractions and gallop them into submission.
Looks one of the main contenders here and should go close.
7.15 ARTHUR GUINNESS CHASE
KUPATANA is a very tricky mare to both weigh up in terms of this race and she needs to be kidded around at the start also to get her to set off.
I am interested to see what Henry De Bromhead can achieve with her after she was formerly trained by both Paul Nicholls and Nicky Henderson. The fact that she is quite headstrong could play to her strengths her as she could be allowed to bowl along up front and get into a rhythm and put the others to the sword.
She has good solid victories to her name at Cheltenham and Kelso where she made most of the running and I will be keeping a close eye on the start if this race to see if she sets off in front.
She looks a solid each way proposition as she could be hard to peg back here. The main question will be when will the petrol tank go to empty?
7.45 GUINESS GALWAY BLAZERS HANDICAP CHASE
GUNFIRE REEF was a facile winner over hurdles the last time we seen him and will be a strong contender here also if he adopts prominent tactics.
He is up nine pound from his recent chase win around Tipperary and that should not be enough to see him go very close here. If anyone watched his hurdle victory last time out you would have seen he was electric over them and while it may not have been a strong race he couldn’t have done it any easier.
He is in rude health and should be hard to keep out of the frame here.
8.15 ROCKSHORE LIGHT PRO AM FLAT RACE
Shark Hanlon has had plenty of good horses through his hands over the years, the likes of Luska Lad and Hidden Cyclone to name two.
HALLOWED STAR is his representative here and I don’t think I have ever heard a trainer give a glowing reference as much about a horse after he was successful in Tipperary.
He said “I think this lad is very special and I will go as far to say as he is the best I’ve had since Hidden Cyclone”. That for me is very bullish and he mentioned this race as his next target. This horse was in training with John Gosden and is flat bred with plenty of toe.
If the trainer thinks he is as good as he is then he should win this with the minimum of fuss. The Mee family recently purchased him and it would be nice to see them get a double on the card after Millyinthemiddle is successful earlier.