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ZOFFANIEN hasn’t run on the level for trainer Denis Hogan, but has progressed really well over hurdles since joining his yard from France. He was last seen when beaten only 4 lengths in the Grade 1 Novice Hurdle at the Punchestown Festival in May. He missed an intended engagement at the Curragh in the Ladies Derby over a week ago, but coming from this yard he won’t be lacking fitness.
They’ve booked a very good amateur in Barry O’Neill for the Connacht Hotel Handicap on the Monday evening, and I’d expect him to run really well. He could then possibly then turn up in the Galway Hurdle, as so many horses have done in the past on Thursday afternoon.
The Colm Quinn BMW Mile is always an ultra-competitive handicap and one you need a lot of luck in running to win. MAZAGRAN looks a really interesting runner for Joseph O’Brien and he made a winning start for his new yard last time at Limerick in a conditions race off a mark of 82.
He’s been raised 12lbs for that win, but he couldn’t have been any more impressive and the style of running he showed that day would suggest that Galway will suit him, as he’s a strong traveller. It was yielding to soft on that occasion at Limerick, but he was a winner on a quick dirt surface at Jebel Ali, so he seems versatile ground wise. He’s one I’m looking forward to seeing on Tuesday in the feature.
Wednesday 18:15 Dunvegan
DUNVEGAN will need a few ahead of him in the handicap to come out if he is to get into this, but if he does, he’s one I’d be very interested in. He was sent off favourite in a similarly competitive handicap at the Punchestown Festival in which he finished third. But, there was plenty to like about that run, most notably his jumping which has gotten much better in recent runs.
He’s promised to win one of these big field handicaps for a while now, and he’ll get in off a light weight here. After having a spin around Leopardstown in an amateur race at the beginning of the month, that should leave him spot on to land this big pot on Wednesday.
WINNER TAKES ITALL looks the most interesting runner of the week in the feature on Thursday evening. He avoids being balloted out as there’s a bonus for winning the race, he won at Bellewstown on his last start and connections have planned it out very well it seems.
He’s a very decent Flat horse (rated 94) and it looks as though all he wanted over hurdles was decent ground, as he put in a couple of disappointing efforts on soft ground before barely braking sweat last time back on good ground. The handicapper has him now up to a mark of 132, but it still leaves him in off a weight of 10st 1lb. He ought to go very close in a race the owner JP McManus does well in.
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