The 2020 Galway Festival begins with the 7-furlong colts and geldings maiden, a race Dermot Weld has won five-times in the past 10 years and the master of Rosewell is running BLUE FOR YOU this Monday.
The son of New Approach was green on debut at Leopardstown and finished sixth behind Masen under an educational ride by jockey Oisin Orr. The Moyglare homebred looks a juvenile who’ll appreciate a trip down the line and despite racing over 7 furlongs again, this is Galway though, and having some stamina in the pedigree as well as a previous start is extremely beneficial.
Another positive for Blue For You is a draw in stall one, which will prove helpful for Orr to gain a good forward position early doors, with no horse drawn seven or higher winning this maiden in the past 10 years. Elsewhere, Aidan O’Brien won this last year and runs twice-raced Wembley, a horse who caught the eye on debut before getting outbattled by Mac Swiney also at the Curragh nine days ago.
Trusted Ally for Mick O’Callaghan has a decent draw in three and made an encouraging debut at Limerick, while Lust now dropping back in trip from his third at Navan and must outbattle his wide draw under Colin Keane.
PARADISO remains a maiden, exposed after six starts and has clearly not lived up to his pedigree for the Coolmore team as a homebred son of Galileo, out of the David Watchman-trained Meow.
Despite several disappointing performances to date, the three-year-old is given one more chance to shine and land this 7-furlong handicap for Aidan O’Brien off an official rating of 77. The positives for me here is the drop in trip, his forward racing style to date and his decent draw in stall 3 with top jockey Wayne Lordan in the saddle.
This horse has been racing between a mile and 10 furlongs in all four races this season, and can finally break his maiden in this handicap by dominating from the front and finding plenty up the hill in the closing stages here.
Kokura, wearing cheekpieces for the first time looks the main danger and another drawn well for the in-form Johnny Murtagh stable – with Ben Coen in the saddle.
The son of Fountain Of Youth, who finished fourth behind Star Of Cashel in a bunch finish at Naas also likes to race forward. Meanwhile, of other interesting runners, Soaring Monarch and Thaleeq are disadvantaged by high draws in the car park.
Killarney specialist HIGH ALTITUDE can defy top weight to challenge in the first division of a (50 to 80) 7-furlong handicap for trainer John Jo Murphy and jockey Robbie Colgan.
Following three previous victories over a mile in the Kingdom of Kerry last year, the now six-year-old drops down in trip following two starts this season at Gowran Park and Killarney. It was obvious he needed his seasonal return when last in Kilkenny, but his 2 length defeat when fourth behind Raphael 12 days ago can see him improve to reach the frame.
Several previous winners of this race have carried big weights to success and despite that burden and a high draw, High Altitude can find a good position in behind the pacesetters and should be staying on late to challenge strongly.
Dermot Weld has decided to use the visor with Lightning Amber, as good young jockey Gavin Ryan taking off 5lbs.
Elsewhere Royal Canford from his inside draw for Wille McCreery is another in the mix. It’s a very competitive contest with Will Be King, Dedillon, Aced It and Lady Scathach contenders who cannot be dismissed.
Willie Mullins and Dermot Weld have dominated this qualified rider’s maiden over the past decade, with Mullins winning the last three renewals and five in total – with Weld securing three victories.
The most interesting runner and most likely winner is the Mullins-trained MT LEINSTER with Patrick Mullins in the saddle (he’s also won this race five times) and despite a high draw, he has enough class to win this final race on the card.
The son of Beat Hollow has top class National Hunt form in the book, finishing behind Envoi Allen and Colreevy in bumpers, before winning over hurdles and finishing third in Grade 1 novice company at Leopardstown in February.
Ciel D’afrique looks the main danger from the Weld stable, with the lightly-raced runner having a third career start with Jamie Codd booked to ride. The Moyglare-owned three-year-old gets the weight from our selection and can only improve from his second place finish behind Zanahiyr at Fairyhouse earlier this month.
Elsewhere, don’t rule out Druids Altar, My Sister Sarah, Got Trumped and the talented Western Victory to claim some prize money and battle for the places behind winner, Mt Leinster.
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