Folks, we are back and this week is jam-packed full of excellent action from Ballybrit. The Galway Plate and Galway Hurdle will take centre stage on Wednesday and Thursday.
We have a very good card on Monday, the opening day of the seven-day festival, to dissect so scroll down to check out my selections.
4.10 CLAREGALWAYHOTEL.IE IRISH EBF (C & G) MAIDEN (2yo) 7f
This race is a very interesting race to start this year’s Galway Festival.
The horse that catches my eye the most is the Aidan O’Brien-trained ANCHORAGE who stayed on in very promising fashion on his debut at Naas on the 3rd of July.
The market on that day suggested that he may come on plenty for the run, having drifted from an early price of 6/4 to an SP of 9/4.
Many of the Ballydoyle inmates tend to improve for their first outing.
I would be expecting this colt to go very close with luck in running.
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4.40 CLAYTONHOTELGALWAY.IE HANDICAP (3yo 50-80) 7f
SIR SEDRIC went into my notebook after his last run on the all-weather at Dundalk Stadium when nothing went right for him on the day and he stayed on strongly to finish third.
I was very sweet on the winner of the race that day, Puerto De Vega, and even though he has let the form down since, I think there is plenty of substance to it.
Sir Sedric remains on the same mark back on the grass here with Joey Sheridan taking five pounds off his back.
He has a nice draw in stall five and should be able to get a decent position and travel away.
Should be hard to keep out of the frame.
5.15 GALWAYBAYHOTEL.COM & GALMONT.COM HANDICAP (4yo+ 50-80) 7f
Denis Hogan is double-handed in this race and looks to have a very strong chance with TURBINE who has some very solid course form, having finished third behind Safe Voyage in the “Ahonoora” handicap back in 2018.
Even though it was just a claimer that he caught the eye in last time out, I am happy that he is coming back into form at the right time.
Daniel King, who rode him last time out, will again claim ten pounds off his back and he looks nicely handicapped considering he has won off a mark of 79 in the past.
As an eight year-old he may be slightly vulnerable to an unexposed sort but he would be a small each-way play for me at a big price.
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NB The Galway 4:40pm is also a 4-PLACE race
5.45 EASYFIX HANDICAP 1M 4F
Peter Fahey has his horses in fine form in the last two weeks which has resulted in five winners and he could get another one on the board here with SHAMAD.
Course form can be vital this week and, back in 2019 with Ben Coen aboard (who will take the mount here), Shamad ran an excellent race to finish fourth behind One Cool Poet off a mark of 69.
This time around he is only three-pounds higher but ran a very encouraging race last time out at Limerick staying on late and fast.
The form of his last race has been franked since as the fourth St Clerans has come out and won since.
Shamad looks to be coming into form at the right time and, with luck in running, he will be tough to keep out of the places.
6.15 CONNACHT HOTEL (Q.R) HANDICAP 2M
One of the most noticeable jockey bookings in this race is the booking of Jamie Codd aboard the Willie Mullins-trained mare MY SISTER SARAH.
This mare is rated 141 over hurdles and was only rated 73 on the level until her trainer capitalised on that last time out when she collected in the hands of Wayne Lordan at Listowel.
She got a ten-pound hike for that victory and that puts her in here off a lovely racing weight of eleven stone.
She has plenty of course form and seems to go well here, has a nice draw and couldn’t have a better man on her back than Jamie Codd.
She seems to be best at the end of her races so the stiff finish at Galway could bring out the best in her.
I think she is very nicely handicapped and will take plenty of beating here.
6.45 EVENTUS HANDICAP 1M 4F
If Shamad happens to be successful in the 5.45 then it will be an excellent pointer to the form of the Aidan O’Brien-trained NATIONAL BALLET.
This horse was very impressive last time out at Limerick and subsequently got a twelve-pound hike for that victory.
The manner in which he got the job done suggests to me that there is plenty more to come and that he was still green and learning all the way through the race.
The further they went the better he got and that suggests to me that Wayne Lordan will wait until the home bend and kick and hopefully his stamina reserves will be too much for the opposition.
This horse could run up a sequence in his next few starts.
I think he takes the world of beating here and will be my NAP on Day One.
7.15 MONAMI CONSTRUCTION (Q.R) MAIDEN 1M 4F
The final race of the night is a very tricky contest and the market will likely tell us plenty. Cathal Byrnes and Philip Byrnes team up with a very interesting runner in ELUSIVE RAIN.
This gelding really impressed me in a bumper at Cork when he looked extremely green throughout but, much like National Ballet in the previous race, the further they went the better he looked.
They could have gone for a winners’ bumper or even gone over hurdles but it’s very interesting that they have chosen this route.
He has a nice draw in stall four and, even though he is dropping back in trip, I think it will suit him.
The stamina reserves could be key on the home turn and he could leave them all for dead.
Keep a close eye on the market but he should go very close.