When thinking of horses to follow through the jumps season proper not many will turn their heads back to Galway, but tonight’s opening Colm Quinn BMW Novice Hurdle (5.15) looks to be a race that form watchers ought to keep a close eye on. Favourite Three Wise Men has had just two starts, but he looked a decent prospect when taking his maiden hurdle and ran a fine race to be third at the Punchestown behind two high class prospects in the shape of Koshari and Bello Conti. The latter named of those had been fourth in the Neptune and then again at Aintree, so sets a high level of form, whilst Sound Money (nine lengths behind) has since won to boot.
Joesph O’Brien had his first winner at the festival – a tally that’s sure to rise rapidly this week and through other years – and his Oathkeeper has impressed in two hurdle wins over longer distances. The drop back shouldn’t inconvenience him too much whilst one has to be wary of Penhill, the 100 rated flat horse who burst a blood vessel last time out at Killarney. If bouncing back he should go very well and they make a fascinating trio of market leaders; Master of Verse should be happier at this trip than others but has failed to take advantage of being in strong positions the last twice whilst Billy’s Hope has run in better company and been beaten here. Derulo should appreciate the return to good ground whilst Hudson’s Bay makes more appeal than Gunner McGregor for an each/way bet.
Former Cheltenham Bumper winner Briar Hill has been reasonably popular as he attempts to get back on track in the Latin Quarter Beginners Chase (5.45). If he shows his best form he should take the beating but injuries sustained at the 2013 festival have taken their toll in a significant way and this trip looks to be shorter than he would want even at a stiff track. However he doesn’t seem to have a huge amount of opposition here although his chief rival Tocororo is of most interest. A Consistent juvenile hurdler, she gets plenty of weight and may have more to give than Joesph O’Brien’s Draco.
Aidan O’Brien and Dermot Weld dominated the juvenile maiden yesterday with the colts and they are expected to do the same with the Colm Quinn BMW E.B.F. Fillies Maiden (6.15) in the shape of Ezyira, a good second on her Tipperary debut when surrounded by horses with previous experience. She makes more appeal than Hydrangea, widely expected to improve significantly on her late running 10th at the Curragh in a maiden the stable have used to good effect. Both are probably too short however and a third contender with experience is of significant interest here.
Magen’s Moon looked as if she would improve for another furlong when she was fourth at Naas behind and impressive winner who has since finished runner up in a Group 3 and if she breaks on terms today from 3 she could find herself on the premises once again. Any money for Falling Angels, a Galileo filly who is out of the trainer´s Moyglare and Irish 1,000 Guineas winner Again, would speak volumes whist Dreamy Gal, a Dream Ahead filly out of a winner at a previous festival, is also one to watch in the market.
On the ratings, the Caulfield Industrial E.B.F. Maiden (6.50) is a match between the useful Saffaar and the once raced Sikandarabad, gelded and absent for 404 days since finishing second to the subsequent group 2 winner Painted Cliffs when giving weight. He has likely had his issues but surely has been primed to the minute for this and would be preferred of the two on natural ability.
The BMW Mile (7.20) is one of the toughest and most fiercely contested events of the week every year and this renewal is no different. It’s interesting to note that despite the draw playing a major factor over the course of the week, several of the past winners of the decade, six in total, have come from double digit draws to boot. The market has several contenders stacked on the inside, all of whom with decent claims, and of those Creggs Pipes and Gussy Goose are of most interest. Creggs Pipes, an all out Listed winner at Killarney when following up a decent Curragh handicap win, only went up 4lbs for that, a fair verdict even if many contenders disappointed there. Gussy Goose, coming from last year’s winning stable, had no luck in running there and would surely have been close with a clear run to boot. Only 6lbs higher than her last winning mark, she’s of great interest here although trouble in running could become a serious issue again for her, a chance worth taking. Brian Ellison’s three ore of interest, perhaps headed by Stipulate on better ground than he faced at Doncaster with Baraweez having a pig of a draw and Top Notch Tonto well handicapped but exposed still. Dermot Weld’s pair of Ashraf and Karalara are of major interest, although the former wants it softer on all previous evidence (having disappointed in two handicaps before) and the latter is dropping in trip two furlongs after breaking her maiden.
In the Caulfield Industrial Handicap (7.50), Weld’s Malinka may be flattered by a mark of 76 and is already popular but Previous C&D winner Could Should Would was caught late by a well-handicapped horse over 1m at Killarney last time and this drop in trip gives him a fine chance of making amends here.
In the Caulfieldindustrial.com Handicap (8.20) Weld has a fantastic record and his Monocle, a relative To Workforce and King’s Best, should enjoy the step up in trip but nothing from the head of the market makes real appeal and recent Killarney third Neatly Put, whose form reads well, makes most appeal. Watch out too for Grey Sky Blue as well, inching up the handicap without incurring too many major
1 pts Three Wise Men, 5.15 Galway (5/2 general)
2 pt win Torocoro, 5.45 Galway (11/4 general)
1 pt each/way Magen’s Moon, 6.15 Galway (9/1 general)
1 pt each/way Gussy Goose, 7.20 Galway (8/1 genera)
1 pt each/way Could Should Would, 7.50 Galway (15/2 Bet365)
1 pt each/way Neatly Put, 8.20 Galway (14/1 general)