Sunday, August 6th – and the final day of Galway 2023. It’s been fabulous, as ever, and we’ve certainly had our moments, advising winners most notably at 15/2 and 8/1 amongst other scorers and each-way successes.
Eight races to close the show, between 1.50pm and 5.30pm, and wouldn’t it be great to go out with a winner? Fingers and toes crossed, here’s three I hope will run well for us at Ballybrit on Sunday.
I hope you’ve enjoyed the racing – that unique mix, with Colin Keane one minute and Rachel Blackmore the next. Love it.
3.30 Sole Pretender @ 7/2
My selection is Sole Pretender, a nine-year-old in the care of Norman Lee and ridden by a 7lb claimer, Robbie Geoghegan. This one’s performed at the meet previously, with a creditable run in the Galway Hurdle arguably the highlight.
But it was last time at Killarney just a couple of weeks ago that the gelding recorded a career-best in winning a Listed ‘chase. He does come with a slight health warning – reluctance to line-up has become a bit of a trait, so it’s fingers crossed that the rascal consents to race!
If setting off nicely he’s got a big shout, and it doesn’t look the hottest of contests to me. He shoulders topweight of 11st 12lb but there’s a good reason for that – and don’t forget that lovely 7lb claim.
5.00 Malbay Madness @ 15/8
Trainer and part-owner Emmitt Mullins has booked the great Colin Keane for this one, and that’s a tip in itself in my book. Just denied by a short-head in a handicap at the trip earlier in the week, Malbay Madness is one of several horses trying again during the Festival, and but for a tardy start might have prevailed the other day instead of being so narrowly pipped.
Races off the same mark, 78, and though an outside stall isn’t ideal the race has cut up to 10 runners as I write, and who knows could whittle down even more. The champ’s talents can be brought to bear here and perhaps ensure Malbay Madness and connections go one place better.
5.30 You Oughta Know @ Evens
The lucky last. Galway’s final August Festival contest for 2023. My selection? Well – I’ve been watching racing for a considerable time. Over that period there’s been very few combinations in certain fields as potent as this pair – Willie and Patrick Mullins. As far as bumper races go; National Hunt flat contests; they are simply sublime.
It’s with no surprise then that I’m plumping for what could very well be a warm favourite – but ironically Willie also trains the most likely rival to the selection in Aurora Vega, ridden by Jody Townend. Back to our pick – and You Oughta Know has had just the one spin so far, and effortless romp at Kilbeggan.
15 rivals were put to the sword including Elliott and O’Brien challengers, so I’m very hopeful that with anticipated improvement for the outing the 5-yr-old will be very hard to beat here.
Jody’s mount is also one from one, and was just as impressive. Aurora Vega is a daughter of the great Quevega, and all that adds up to one heck of a danger for Patrick. They should in all theory be fighting out the finish and I’m banking on the old firm to do the business. Should be a cracking affair with which to say farewell to a great week at Ballybrit.