A disappointing third day of the Galway Festival for blog followers with Exchange Rate’s win being the only real high point, even though Shaneshill did get us some place money in the Plate. There were some hard luck stories too with Dean’s Road massively inconvenienced by the fall of Devil’s Bride two out in the big race of the day, when seemingly just coming to challenge, while Bayan in the last met all kinds of trouble and was never able to get a run to get into contention.
I hope you’re already on Max Dynamite for Thursday’s big race, the Galway Hurdle, as he’s now as short as 7/2 (advised here at 9/1 last week). I’ve already given my reasons why he should go well, but just to add that the predicted soft going shouldn’t inconvenience him too much, with previous winning form on his CV on such ground. With Zubayr not declared because of the going, my second vote goes to arguably my favourite horse in training, Swamp Fox. He has already finished second at the track earlier this week on the Flat and even though his mark is high enough over hurdles now he never seems to run a bad race and has to be worth a punt at 16/1.
While long-time king of Ballybrit Dermot Weld is still waiting for his first winner, one former Weld inmate has already won this week (Robbie McNamara’s Cascavelle) and another could rub further salt into the wounds, with Don’t Tell No One a very tentative pick in the first race of the day.
Townshend is favourite for the Grade 3 novice chase at 2.15, but I fancy the other Willie Mullins runner, Rathvinden, at a bigger price. He was rated 16 pounds higher than his stablemate over hurdles and even though it could be argued that Townshend looks much improved for the switch to chasing, Rathvinden looked to be really getting the hang of the bigger obstacles last time out when an impressive 12-length winner at Wexford. He also gets a nice seven pounds from the market leader today.
At 2.50 Knockmaole Boy is taken to follow up his maiden win on Tuesday, while Jessica Harrington’s Drumfad Bay is the pick in the listed 7f race at 3.25. Both are far from confident however and my advice would be only minimal stakes on these two contests, as well as the already mentioned opener.
I’m much more confident about the chances of Lac Kivu following up his Punchestown romp from a couple of months back in the 2m 4f novice hurdle at 4.00. Now we could be watching a star in the making here as this four-year-old looked a class act when winning in May. He easily beat Cinema De Quartier by 13 lengths, a horse that next time out won by 17 lengths himself. Third at Punchestown was Someday, one of the smartest bumper horses of last season, while fourth was Immortal Bridge, who subsequently won twice. And it goes on, as the seventh finisher, Major Destination, also went on to win afterwards, so it’s fair to say that was a pretty decent race. Lac Kivu won’t have things all his own way however as this is a stern test of his credentials, with Bhutan in particular lining up as a formidable opponent.
At 5.15 Camlann can win at the track where he was third twice at last year’s festival. Shark Hanlon’s six-year-old is one of the toughest horses around and is likely to be seen twice again this week, with his first assignment being this 1m 4f handicap on the Flat. He arrives in grand form having been placed in his last eight races, all of which were over hurdles, and has won on heavy so won’t mind the deteriorating ground, if it does get really soft. Pat Smullen takes the ride and he looks to have a cracking chance.
Indeed it promises to be a strong end to the day as I’m really keen on the chances of Peacocks Secret in the concluding bumper, wearing the same colours as Camlann of owners the Mee family – the green and purple halves made famous by Hidden Cyclone. Peacocks Secret is a new addition to the Mee collection following a narrow defeat at Wexford in May and two close-up third place finishes before that. Patrick Mullins is in the saddle for cousin Emmet and he can visit the winners enclosure again here with main rival Dayna Moss running for the second time in four days.
1.40 – Don’t Tell No One 6/1ew
2.15 – Rathvinden 8/1ew
2.50 – Knockmaole Boy 9/2ew
3.25 – Drumfad Bay 8/1ew
4.00 – Lac Kivu 5/6
4.35 – Max Dynamite (previously advised at 9/1ew) & Swamp Fox 16/1ew
5.15 – Camlann 3/1 (NB)
6.00 – Peacocks Secret 13/8 (NAP)