Galway

Galway Preview-Day Two

 

A win for Princely Conn (16-1) along with a couple of nice each way places (12-1, 33-1) gave us an excellent start to the week yesterday.

Princely Conn indeed is a classic example of how the early birds catch the best prices, as having been available at 16-1 on Sunday night, his price quickly plummeted on Monday morning. Bookmakers, I notice, can be quite generous the night before and this is the time to be looking to catch them out.

Moving on to today and while I have a feeling winners will be harder to select, we will have a few interests. The feature event is the Topaz Mile (formerly McDonagh handicap) and this years renewal has a slightly sub standard feel to it with certainly no horse of the calibre of 2013 heroine Brendan Bracken in the line up. When it is all said and done, Galway is very much a prominent racers racetrack and with this in mind General Brook could well mount a bold bid racing prominently from stall two. The bare facts of his form are not quite good enough, but David Wachman’s gelding is lightly raced, stays further than one mile and also has sufficient cruising speed to be effective at the shorter distance.He will save ground racing prominently throughout on the rail and his ability to stay further than the distance of the race should ensure he will keep galloping all the way to the line.

Three-year olds have not fared that well in recent years, but they could mange better this time around with the Kevin Prendergast-trained Maskoon appealing at the foot of the weights. The son of Aqlaam boasts smart maiden form including a Navan win over Table Rock and he did not fare too badly behind the same rival on handicap debut at The Curragh recently. Prendergast writes in today’s Racing Post that the slightly easier ground could be the key to his chance and if finding any further improvement he has to have a shout from a nice berth in stall seven.

For people looking for a real rag, one could do worse than Croi On Oir. Tommy Stack’s gelding has been out of form but his tumbling down the weights and is attractively handicapped on the best of his form. Blinkers and Billy Lee could be the pair to get more out of him.

The next race at 7.15 is a cracking heat, a competitive two-mile handicap. One time highly useful hurdler Hidden Universe has looked only a shadow of himself since returning from a lengthy absence, but Weld has possibly been building for Galway and could have him primed tonight. Indeed he ran a perfectly adequate race before tiring behind Cullentry Royal at Leopardstown in the spring and fared as well as could be expected last time at Fairyhouse behind Primogeniture. Well  treated on old form an effort of 80% of the level of performance he gave when previously winning the Leopardstown November Handicap could be sufficient.

The seven furlong contest at 7.45 is a typical Galway race where umpteen hold claims. Leading prospects are held by Sretaw and Oor Jock , but possibly the best handicapped of all could be In Salutem factoring in the seven pound claim of Sean Corby. This consistent type has been running well all season and has a fair each way shout.

Meanwhile at Goodwood, we have an excellent card to commence their top class five-day fixture. Magic Hurricane is horse who I think could still be ahead of the assessor and he warrants plenty of respect in the opening ten furlong handicap. A non stayer over 12 in the Old Borough Cup, a likely fast run ten could be just what the Doctor ordered today. In the same race, Niceofyoutotellme looks overpriced. Ralph Beckett’s charge impressed winning a red-hot Newmarket handicap on Guineas weekend ad he will be much more at home over ten furlongs than he was in Ascot’s Hunt Cup over eight.

 

Galway 6.45: 1 pt ew GENERAL BROOK (14-1, General) ; 1 pt ew MASKOON (10-1, General) ; 0.5 pts ew CROI ON OIR (40-1, Sky Bet)

Galway 7.15: 1.5 pts ew HIDDEN UNIVERSE (5-1, bet 365)

Galway 7.45: 0.5 pts ew IN SALUTEM (12-1, General)

Goodwood 1.55: 1 pt win MAGIC HURRICANE (7-1, General) ; 1 pt ew NICEOFYOUTOTELLME (16-1, Ladbrokes)

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 Galway Preview Day Two

Goodwood Races

Hurricane set to blow for start of Goodwood

The first of five days top class sport at Glorious Goodwood and the track has missed the heavy rain that affected most of the county yesterday morning.  Therefore we have ground just on the fast side of good.  I have selections from two races with a confident selection for the class race on the card, plus two against the field for the handicap that opens proceedings at the Sussex track.

Goodwood 1.55: Magic Hurricane and Sennockian Star

We have a typically tough start to the meeting from a punting perspective with 7-1 the field for this 10f handicap.  As a result I have two selections to try and get us off to a winning start.

Magic Hurricane is certainly the confident choice from a win perspective even though we could have done with a bit more rain for the gelding.  They did get some yesterday to hopefully take any sting out of the ground and this drop down to 10f could suit James Fanshawe’s charge ideally.  This late developer had not won a race until winning convincingly on Polytrack at Kempton in May but immediately followed up in fine style up to 12f at Haydock next time out.  What has impressed me with this sort of race in mind is his ability to travel on the bridle, something he displayed again back at Haydock last time, only for him to tire in the final furlong.  Third place in a £62k handicap was still a fine effort and he certainly has the pace to cope with this drop back to 10f today, whilst his stamina won’t be put under so much pressure.

Sennockian Star is apparently Joe Fanning’s choice over two other Mark Johnston runners.  As usual Johnston has targeted this meeting for his massive string and Sennockian Star strikes me as the ideal type for this track, a nippy front-running sort who can take some passing on his day.  A low draw means he should be able to get to the front easily enough and despite the big field, there does not appear to be a huge number of front-runners.  Although he is an in-and-out performer he ran well when fourth at Royal Ascot from a 1lb higher mark and was not disgraced in sixth in the John Smiths Cup at York last time.  Whilst he has nothing in hand of the handicapper he does appeal as an each-way option with four places available.

Goodwood 3.05: Toormore

Toormore was very much at the top of the tree for juveniles last season having won all three starts including the Group 1 National Stakes at the Curragh and landing the premier 2yo race at this fixture last season, both over today’s 7f trip.

However 2014 has not gone according to plan despite a fine start to the year when landing the Craven Stakes over a mile ahead of subsequent French Derby winner The Great Gatsby.  Although not disgraced when 7th in the 2000 Guineas or 6th in the St James Palace Stakes, better runs were certainly expected than he delivered.  It has since emerged though that the horse was not looking well and losing weight, but a move to Richard Hannon’s other yard down the road has apparently seen him blossom in recent weeks.

The conditions of this race means he no longer has to carry a penalty for a Group 1 win which means he is on a level playing field with his opponents.  The withdrawal of Gregorian leaves him as the class act in this race and it could also turn out to be that 7f is his optimum trip.

Recommended bets:

Goodwood 1.55: Magic Hurricane (7-1 general)

Goodwood 1.55: Sennockian Star (16-1 general)

Goodwood 3.05: Toormore (11-10 general)

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 Hurricane set to blow for start of Goodwood

Linda Perratt

Dark a bright prospect at Ayr

On the eve of Glorious Goodwood I am looking to get in a profit for the big meeting and have selections from Ayr and Uttoxeter, both of whom can potentially benefit from a recent change of stables.

Ayr 5.00: Dark Crystal

Twice a winner already at Ayr this season, Dark Crystal can continue her progress for local trainer Linda Perratt at the West of Scotland track this afternoon.

A comfortable winner over 7f here on fast ground earlier in the month, she did not have the pace over 6f to defy a penalty at Hamilton just five days later. Any thought that her previous win could be a fluke were dispelled though just another two days afterwards when she beat a more competitive field to win over this course and distance, albeit on slower ground.

However she seems to act on any ground and this sharp mile on fast ground should be ideal for her stamina.  I am happy to forgive her running down the field at Hamilton last time as it was not the first occasion she has disappointed on that undulating track and she seems far more comfortable around Ayr.

Uttoxeter 7.55: Jazz Man

A horse with a 100% record at Uttoxeter, but who has failed to place in any of his other ten races, Jazz Man can recover from a lifeless effort at Worcester last time to continue his impressive record at the Staffordshire track.

Another potential success story for Richard Newland he made a winning debut for the yard when winning by 3l over 2m5f here last month.  He was then asked to race just three days later under a penalty at Worcester but was struggling from some way out and eventually finished last of four.  However it could simply be that he was not over his exertions from Uttoxeter and has had the best part of four weeks recovery time on this occasion.

Jazz Man had already gone on to my “to follow” list when with Mark Rimell in the spring after a staying on fourth at Plumpton over 2m5f, so I think he will improve for this step up to 3m.  He had already won on debut in bumper company here so these sharpish left-handed tracks seem to be the ideal conditions for the selection.

Recommended bets:

Ayr 5.00 – Dark Crystal – (11-2 Bet365)

Uttoxeter 7.55 – Jazz Man (11-2 BetVictor)

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 Dark a bright prospect at Ayr

Galway

Galway Races Day One Preview

A week that personally holds a special place always in my racing calendar, the seven-day Galway Festival. I have found over the past few years that Monday evening can be the day to make money and hopefully that trend can continue this time around. As always the feature event of the opening day is the Two Mile Amateur Handicap and we have another fascinating renewal. Quick Jack jumps off the page as the best horse in the field and I will not be surprised if he wins easily. However, I have two concerns- No 1 he has been off the track since January and it is never easy to land a big pot like this without a prep run, and No 2, he is a horse with plenty of pace and two miles may just be slightly longer than his optimum distance on the level. Accordingly, I am opting for a few bigger priced alternatives.

Top of my list is Digeanta who boasts a nice profile for the race and has to be given serious consideration as Willie Mullins sole representative. A lightly raced seven -year old, he displayed decent from winning two conditions events last season before signing off with a solid third to stablemate and subsequent Queen Alexander Stakes winner Pique Sous in a valuable end of season Leopardstown handicap. A nice preparatory race for today was had when he finished third conceding seven pounds to the useful El Salvador at Belewstown a few weeks ago. A relentless galloper, he might ideally prefer a more conventional track, but he looks to have been trained for this and I expect him to make the frame.

The impeccably bred Grecian Tiger has not impressed everybody thus far with many pundits questioning his attitude, but my suspicion is that we have not yet seen the best of him. His Gowran park defeat of Egyption Warrior indicates he is competing off a reasonable mark today and his overall bumper profile also suggests he may be feasibly handicapped. He boasts good previous course form albeit in the bumper sphere and there was plenty to like about his seasonal bow over an inadequate trip at Fairyhouse. Ths type of contest will be a different kettle of fish to the small field conditions races he normally runs in, but my hunch is that a bigger field and more solid end to end gallop will be the making of him. As a close relative of smart stayer Saddlers Rock, I have no worrries about the distance and feel that he could well emerge as a player.

While Tony Martin’s best chance is undoubtedly Quick Jack, he also has a lively outsider in the shape of Spacious Sky. This lad travelled beautifully for along way in the Cesarewitch at The Curragh last season and he shaped encouragingly over hurdles during the winter despite struggling with his jumping and heavy ground. A recent Leopardstown fourth to Bayan indicated a return to form and he could go well at big odds.

Earlier on the card, Tony Martin has good prospects of opening his account for the week with Artful Artist in the Two Mile Handicap Hurdle at 5.45. Handicapped on the basis of three runs in novice company last year, he could be attractively handicapped here judging by the improvement displayed on the flat in early summer. The booking of Geraghty indicates the horse is well fancied by connections and an adequate round of hurdling could see him hard to beat.

Master of Galway Dermot Weld will have the bookmakers running scared this week with plenty of hype already surrounding Timiyan in the 12 furlong Pillo Hotel Handicap at 7.45. This is certainly an interesting runner, but at the prices the better value option appears top be The John Oxx-trained Primogeniture. This improving sort has displayed strong form on his last two starts and the manner of his Fairyhouse win gave the impression that a follow-up is entirely possible.

In the concluding bumper, the horse leaping off the page to my mind is Princely Conn, the representative of Tony Mullins. This lad contested some strong bumpers last season including against the likes of Black Hercules, Cillian’s Return and Windsor Park and was far from disgraced on three occasions apart from a slightly below par effort last time on heavy ground. Those efforts strike me as easily the best bumper form in the race and it a major surprise to see him chalked up at an opening 16-1. With Weld holding a short priced favourite, perhaps the without fav market is worth a look in the morning, but the early 16-1 in the outright market looks worth taking.

Selections:

5.45 2 pts win ARTFUL ARTIST (3-1, Paddy Power)

6.50: 1.5 pts ew DIGEANTA (14-1, General) ; 1 pt ew GRECIAN TIGER (12-1, Ladbrokes); 0.75 pts ew SPACIOUS SKY (33-1, General)

7.45: 2 pts ew PRIMOGENITURE (9-2, General)

8.15: 2 pts ew PRINCELY CONN (16-1, Boyle Sports/ P Power)

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 Galway Races Day One Preview</a

Ascot_Racecourse

Robot’s a real sprint machine

Whilst the quality on offer at Ascot today might not quite be up to King George day, there are still plenty of competitive handicaps on the card and unusually we have to wait until the last on the card for the day’s feature contest.  I have a selection from the big sprint, plus one from earlier in the day.  We had a reasonable day yesterday with Kleo winning York’s opener (advised 9-4) and Dont Call Me placing fifth at Ascot in a race where most bookies were offering 5 places each-way (advised 22-1).

 Ascot 3.40: Dutch Interior

Ryan Moore joins forces with father Gary for the 3yo sprint handicap and Dutch Interior looks to be peaking at the right time for a big challenge in this.

A winner over 5f as a juvenile last season, his run behind today’s opponent Meritocracy over 6f at Kempton last autumn marked him down as a horse that needs a strong end to end gallop that these sort of handicaps provide.  He came from last to third on that occasion.  This straight track should ensure a constant gallop from the outset.

This will be the first time he has had such race conditions to work with.  A patent non-stayer over 7f at Sandown he was forced to race off a slow pace in a small field at Ffos Las where he did at least stay on into third.  He raced more prominently off a slow pace at Kempton last time, holding every chance a furlong out before being outgunned late on.  However I expect a stronger pace here and it would be no surprise to see Moore drop his mount out for a late charge which I think will suit the gelding ideally.

Ascot 5.20: Robot Boy

A gelding who has always shown ability, Robot Boy has really found his niche in 5f handicaps this season and can defy his rising handicap mark once more at Ascot today, resuming his successful partnership with Graham Gibbons.

A winner on seasonal return last year over 5f in maiden company, he did go onto land a Windsor handicap over 6f last June, but ultimately proved a disappointment once upped in class, finishing in mid-division in a host of major 6f races.  He looked likely to resume winning ways at Thirsk in May over 6f seemingly in command a furlong out only to get caught close home.

That run prompted connections to return him to the minimum trip and the 4yo has responded with some sparkling displays.  A big run was certainly expected when he was heavily backed into favouritism for the Scottish Sprint Cup at Musselburgh and never far off the pace he hit the front late on.  That came on soft ground, but he stepped up on that massively when destroying a strong field in the Gosforth Park Cup at Newcastle on rattling fast ground.  Despite a 9lb rise he ran just as well over this course and distance last time, just getting outrun by Discussiontofollow late on.  That rival is not in opposition today and Robot Boy is up just another pound today so is taken to continue his stellar summer form.

Recommended bets:

3.40 Ascot – Dutch Interior – 15-2 BetVictor, William Hill

5.20 Ascot – Robot Boy (each-way) 6-1 general)

 

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 Robot’s a real sprint machine