The week is hurtling by and it’s already Day Four of the iconic Galway Festival, from the Ballybrit track. A typical mixed Galway card of flat and jumps contests kicks off at 2.10pm on Thursday August 3rd, and the eight-race card concludes at 6.10.
Centrepiece is the Guinness Galway Hurdle, worth around 159,000 euros to the winner. A big field for this handicap will ensure a wide-open market, and accordingly we’re paying FIVE places each-way. It’s bound to be fast and furious over the minimum two-mile trip.
On the opening day we advised two winners from our three selections, at 8/1 and 3/1 (they won at returned SPs of 4/1 and 7/2 respectively), so fingers crossed we can be competitive once again. Here are three that might just get involved on Thursday afternoon.
2.45 – Hercule Du Seuil @ 6/4
One of those path of least resistance selections. It almost looks too good to be true – but I’m hoping it’s every bit as good as it looks. Trainer – WP Mullins. Jockey – P Townend. Promising novice chaser, owned by JP McManus and extremely impressive last time out. Talk about having plenty going for you.
Just 6 years old, ‘Hercule’ was a respectable novice hurdler but already looks as if he’ll make a much better ‘chaser. Three spins over the larger obstacles so far – a narrow defeat full of promise and not one but two wins full of quality and style.
Gordon Elliott, Henry De Bromhead and Willie himself field plausible alternatives but none for me possess the persuasive credentials of Hercule Du Seuil. Envisaging him trading around the even-money mark – that or slight odds-against even would be a bonus.
3.55 – Celtic Crown each-way @ 5/1
From a novice chase to a 7f Listed contest on the flat for fillies and mares. Galway in a nutshell. Looks a white-hot affair too, and my each-way selection is Celtic Crown.
Ronan Whelan rides, and Adrian McGuinness trains, in Lusk, County Dublin. This one ran in a mile handicap here a couple of days ago and, drawn out in the car park, could never get competitive. Gets box 8 of a potential 11 here, not perfect, but the other day she was 14 of 18.
Soft ground and worse holds no terrors, I like that she’s reappearing again quickly, and she’s within a handful of pounds of the top-rated horses who may not have her aptitude for the prevailing underfoot conditions. She gets further that the 7f too so should be strong at the finish – a huge plus, a necessity even, here.
I think she’s a cracking price so it screams each-way play to me. Ran well in the Irish Cambridgeshire in the spring against Lattam, who’s due to run in a hot handicap at Goodwood on Friday, so she’s kept and continues to keep some very good company.
5.05 – Glan each-way @ 10/1
It’s that gentleman JP once again. He’s got one or two entered up in this, as one can easily comprehend. It’s the Guinness Galway Hurdle after all, 20 runners are scheduled to face the starter, and we’re paying five places each-way.
The selection is Glan, an 8-yr-old mare housed with Gordon Elliott, and who was a staying-on 4th in this last term. Advertised her well-being with a cosy win on the flat in early July, and though 5lb higher that last year’s ‘Guinness’ tilt, she remains in fine fettle. Huge win last term at Fairyhouse in a 50k event but the handicapper had his say about that.
In an open renewal she’s got every chance in my book and as I said, each-way is surely the wise move for a little tickle. Quite apart from the rating, she’s a lovely actual racing weight of 10st 12lb.
Have another fabulous afternoon enjoying the Galway Festival, and we’ll see you again tomorrow for a look at Friday’s racing. Take care.