Galway Festival Preview: Key runners in the week’s feature races
Betting preview for the Summer Festival
There’s nothing in racing quite like the Galway Summer Festival. Run over a mammoth seven days, the week features a mix of flat and jump contests and a total prize fund of over £1.7m.
All of the top trainers will be there. So too will a number of classy raiders, including Limini, Whiskey Sour and Galway veteran Baraweez. The Coral News Team has looked over the cards and picked out some of the key runners and riders in each of the day’s feature contests.
Connacht Handicap (7:40pm, Monday)
One of the big betting heats on Monday evening is the Connacht Hotel Handicap. Up to 19 runners will tackle the 2m 1f contest, with Willie Mullins’ raider Limini pencilled in as the short-price favourite.
The seven-year-old has won on the flat three times before but this will be her first run on level ground for the Irish-trainer. Ascot Stakes-fourth Chelkar is considered a danger thanks to his good form and handy draw, while Benkei – third in 2016 – can usually be relied upon to challenge in this event.
Colm Quinn BMW Handicap Mile (7:40pm, Tuesday)
Mullins won this last year with Riven Light and the seven-year-old is among the entries once again for this 1m contest. The son of Raven’s Light goes off a much higher mark this time around and will face competition from a host of big names.
Inscribe has won three of his last four runs across the Irish Sea, while Bond Street is sure to be given a better ride than when finishing seventh in the Britannia Stakes at Royal Ascot. Baraweez has never finished outside the top-six in any race at Galway and has come home fifth twice in this renewal.
Galway Plate (7:20pm, Wednesday)
Some decent names have won this 2m 6f chase in recent years. Carlingford Lough, Road to Riches and Balko Des Flos have all triumphed since 2013. Could Alan Fleming’s Tully East add his name to that list this year?
The eight-year-old has a decent record in big-runner chases and succeeded last year at the Cheltenham Festival in the Close Brothers Novices’ Handicap. He’ll go alongside Patricks Park, Peregrine Run and the uber-consistent Gordon Elliott-trained Jury Duty.
Galway Handicap Hurdle (4:35pm, Thursday)
Former Festival winner Whiskey Sour will likely go off favourite for Thursday’s feature, should he run. The five-year-old boasted some good form in 2017 and rounded out the season with a runner-up spot in the Champions Novice Hurdle at Punchestown.
Good Thyne Tara looks set to be his closest challenger in the market, with 2016 Triumph Hurdle winner Ivanovich Gorbatov and the bang in-form Davids Charm also game contenders.
Guinness Handicap (6:50pm, Friday)
Horses regularly double up in the Galway Festival. So don’t be surprised to see Whiskey Sour compete in this 1m 4f contest alongside Thursday’s Galway Hurdle. Mullins holds most of pre-declaration cards in this renewal with Stratum, Lagostovegas and Chelkar all left in.
Ahonoora Handicap (3:55pm, Sunday)
The Festival draws to a close with eight tremendous races on the final day, including the SCL Chase and the Lord Hemphill Memorial Handicap Chase. But it’s the Ahonoora Premier Handicap which gets our attention.
Brian Ellison trained the first three home in this renewal last year. He could do battle with Be Kool and the aforementioned Baraweez this time around.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing