Well done if you’ve made it this far and especially well done if you’re somehow ahead. It’s the final day at Galway, the final furlong of the summer extravaganza and the final chance for us to bang in some winners.
It all kicks off at 2.15 with a typically tricky 2m handicap hurdle and Andrew McNamara’s Papal Motel is my pick. A model of consistency, the four-year-old hasn’t finished outside the first three in his last five runs (flat and jumps) and not outside the first four in his last seven. The one problem is that he hasn’t got his head in front in that sequence, but I’m willing to give him a chance of breaking that run today. He finished third on the Flat on Thursday and won’t have an issue with the softer ground.
There are two I’m interested in in the 3m contest at 2.45 – King Leon for Joseph O’Brien and Ellmarie Holden’s Static Jack. We haven’t seen King Leon for over a year but if you look at his form at that time it makes for impressive reading, not finishing outside the first two on each of his completed runs (6 races) going back to August 2015. He runs over hurdles today off a mark eight pounds lower than his chase rating and looks to have a big chance with Barry Geraghty in the saddle. Static Jack, meanwhile, was a winner on soft at the same track last September and returns to hurdles off a 13-pound lower mark than his chase figure. He’s been running in some quite strong races over the bigger obstacles and should be in the mix here.
I’ve got no interest in the 7f maiden so it’s straight onto the 3.55 where Riven Light is favourite to follow up his win on Tuesday. He’s got a terrible draw though and I prefer to take a chance on two at bigger prices. Dream Walker has also been unlucky again with the draw (only one inside Riven Light) but ran a cracker the other day when advised on here at a big price and won this race last year. He’ll love the ground and can go close again. And another one that I tipped up the other day was Secret Wizard, who was never able to get involved on Tuesday but drawn much better today in 8 can give a much better account of himself. He’d won two of his previous three prior to this week and is too big at 33/1.
The 4.30 is a race to watch now that Road to Riches is out. I was going to advise backing him each way but now he’s out I don’t see the appeal of going in on Shaneshill at 2/5.
In the 5.00 I’m backing Attribution to make his class tell despite a big weight. He beat the smart Ballyoisin last time out and won on soft in December ahead of Briar Hill and Three Stars at Navan. This is form far superior to anything else in this race.
And then there’s the one I’ve been waiting for all week – Dara Tango. Ran a cracker at Leopardstown in June on his comeback from two and a half years away and has twice been well backed since only to be pulled out both times by Tony Martin. He has graded placed form over hurdles, but is equally smart on the Flat and will take all the beating today. Get on!
And then there’s the bumper to end the card where Ainsi Va La Vie should oblige at odds on. Very impressive at Limerick on his debut last month and he even gets a handy two pounds from main rival Santiago De Cuba for Joseph O’Brien.
One other tip to mention – I like the chances of Red Riverman again in the 3.00 at Market Rasen. He’s won his last two and the three pounds he’s gone up is offset by Zoe Baker’s five pound claim. He can go in again today with market leader Innocent Girl seemingly high enough in the weights now.
2.15 Galway – Papal Motel 6/1ew
2.45 Galway – King Leon 9/1ew & Static Jack 11/1ew
3.00 Market Rasen – Red Riverman 7/2 (NB)
3.55 Galway – Dream Walker 9/1ew & Secret Wizard 33/1ew
5.00 Galway – Attribution 9/2ew
5.30 Galway – Dara Tango 4/1ew (NAP)
6.00 Galway – Ainsi Va La Vie Evens