It’s the opening day of the legendary Galway Festival on Monday 31 July. Seven races, a fabulous mixture of flat and jumps, with the party set to run until weekend.
The action on the day takes place between 5.10pm and 8.20pm, and with Goodwood also set to commence on Tuesday it’s fair to say that this is one of the most anticipated and enjoyable weeks in the racing calendar.
Let’s take a look at one or two we hope can run well for us on Monday, at this iconic venue.
5.40 – Neveradullmoment each-way @ 8/1
A 20-runner handicap puzzle to begin our tipping preview – a typical Galway test with one exception. There’s no Willie Mullins runner!
Renowned owner and supporter of racing, JP McManus, has just the one entry and my eye is drawn there accordingly. It’s the Philip Dempsey-trained 6-yr-old gelding Neveradullmoment; and was there ever a horse so well-named for Galway.
Jockey Danny Gilligan claims a useful 7lb and that could be crucial. The horse’s form is in truth nothing to get excited about, and he’s yet to score. Several fairly solid efforts though, and nearly prevailed over this minimum trip at Naas in January.
Last time out he finished a decent third at Cork, and this isn’t anywhere near one of the week’s sterner tests. I’m hoping the JP factor, a good claimer booked and solid enough if unspectacular credentials are the basis for optimism and as we’re paying FIVE places each-way that’s exactly the way I’m going to play it.
6.40 – Teed Up @ 3/1
Talented, versatile 6-yr-old gelding. Winner of the Adare Opportunity Hurdle at the meeting last year, a couple of days after finishing second in another big handicap. Something of a Galway specialist then, and tough as they come.
Found time to nearly win our November Handicap on the flat at Donny last backend too. Emmett Mullins trains, and he’s amateur ridden as are all his rivals (Mr RW Barron, claiming 7lb). He’ll have to overcome the likes of Patrick Mullins, Derek O’Connor and Jody Townend, but his partner knows this place well.
Had a lovely return to flat action nearly 3 weeks ago, running on late in the piece, and he runs here off 88, just a pound higher than a previous winning mark. I’m very hopeful.
7.50 – Voice Of Reason @ 3/1
The Colin Keane/Ger Lyons combo – one of the best in Ireland. Anywhere, even. They field a 3-yr-old son of Churchill here who won in game fashion at Killarney a fortnight ago. That was over close to Monday’s mile-and-a-half trip and he saw it out really well. That tenacity and fight will be priceless at this venue, where the competition is so fierce.
This will only be his fourth career start, so given the notable address Voice Of Reason can reasonably be anticipated to improve. This is a cracking little heat, and while the ability to stay has to be taken on trust with many of the runners I’m more than hopeful Voice Of Reason will have no such difficulties.
Have a brilliant day one, come back refreshed for Tuesday, and as always, take care.