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The second day of the Galway Festival is here and the Colm Quinn Mile at 6:45pm is the feature race. It looks a doozy! It’s fairly unusual for a horse rated 110 to take his chance at this level but the irresistible charms of Ballybrit are surely a factor. The 60 bags to the winner is probably a consideration too! There are a few showers about but I’d be surprised if we see any significant going change.
I’m a bit reluctant to put up Radiyka in the fillies maiden at 5:10 pm just because of the price but she should win. She will probably go off a bit too short and lower than my minimum price for a wager. Predicting markets is like trying to trap lightning in a bottle mind you. Hopefully she will be a bet at some stage during the day.
Her claims are obvious here. She was sent off 18/1 for her debut in Leopardstown earlier this month. She belied those market expectations with a fine performance to finish second. She broke pretty smartly for a newcomer and travelled really kindly through the race. It was noticeable how well she settled despite getting no cover from her three wide trip. She was ultimately beaten over three lengths but the winner is a smart sort, and the third and fourth have won since.
Radiyka ran around a bit after getting a tap behind the saddle. Her jockey wisely went easy on her after that. Colin Keane takes over in the plate. She races from a handy draw, and should prove very hard to beat.
Njord is the horse who runs off 110 in a handicap and he’s worth a bet to pull it off. He was the subject of a huge plunge in last year’s renewal of this race. Unfortunately for his supporters, he suffered interference in the run. That ultimately cost him the race. That can happen with horses who need to be ridden for luck. The horse was clearly well handicapped.
He subsequently bolted up from a mark of 102 in an Ascot handicap. He has finished second behind two high class performers on his most recent starts. He will again have to be ridden for luck on Tuesday. This is a big ask for young Scott McCullagh. On the plus side, he does take 5lbs off the horse’s back. He’s no Shane Foley I know but it looks a good move to my eye. This race looks loaded with pace. Njord will slot in out the back from his low draw. If the boy McCullagh can pick the gaps, I think the horse can make class tell.
It’s hard to get away from Out On Friday in the first division of the mile handicap at 7:15pm. He has won two of his three starts at the track including this race last year. Granted, he’s 12lbs higher in the weights this time around but he’s competitively weighted. He’s only 3lbs higher than when beating a subsequent winner here last September.
His latest effort in Limerick suggests a return to peak form at his favourite stomping ground is imminent. He made most of the running before being collared inside the final furlong. He faces competition for the lead here but Out On Friday seems perfectly content to sit just off the speed. A repeat victory looks on the cards.
The second division features a steed who’s becoming a cliff horse of mine. Liberty Star was a big eyecatcher when finishing fourth in Roscommon three starts ago. I backed him next time out in Limerick. For whatever reason he didn’t fire that day. Forgiveness is sometimes justified in this game. I chanced the horse again last time out in Naas. It made for x-rated viewing.
As Liberty Star was making his challenge a horse in front of him started doing the Hokey Cokey. His jockey had to pick a side. He chose the wrong way, and subsequently found his path blocked all the way home. I wouldn’t blame the pilot. It’s unfortunate but these things happen. I’m not saying the horse would have won but given he was only beaten two lengths at the line, it seems likely he would have gone very close. He gets to race from the same mark here.
I’d rather the claimer who rode him in Naas kept the ride but can see why connections have gone with Gary Carroll. The horse can be a bit slovenly early on. Hopefully his experienced jockey can get a decent position from his low draw. If so, a well-handicapped Liberty Star should rattle home over the extended mile.
Hopefully, repeats of last year’s festival will be the theme of the evening. Walking On Glass bids to follow up in the staying handicap that closes the card. This doughty performer prevailed in a photo that day.
He backed that up when a close second to the progressive Jerandme in the Ulster Cesarewitch. Walking On Glass races from a 5lb higher mark on Tuesday. Based on his recent exploits over hurdles, that rating underestimates the horse. He was disqualified after winning narrowly on his penultimate start.
He was almost certainly the best horse in that race but given the margin was quite rightly demoted. He made no mistake when dotting up last time out in Kilbeggan. He’s a well-handicapped course winner who arrives here in sizzling form. A pretty tasty combination!
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