Ray Flanagan previews the opening day of the 2015 Galway Racing Festival
A much better day on Saturday with four winning selections (7-1, 4-1, 12-1 & 7-2) boosting our confidence. The Galway hurlers were in fine fettle in Thurles yesterday and today’s sees the start of the 2015 summer racing festival. Monday’s at Galway have been kind to me previously, but I struggled to find concrete fancies this time around, so small stakes are advised.
Galway 5.45-King of Oriel
Not a great deal of strength in depth to this race and provided the ground is not too deep, King of Oriel has a squeak at a nice price. Donal Kinsella’s charge was not disgraced in stronger company previously including when fifth to MacNicholson at Punchestown and he was running a fair race here last year prior to departing at the final obstacle. He has a frame chance.
Galway 6.50- Wood Breizh, Kabjoy and Storm Away
The Day One feature, the €80,000 Guaranteed Connacht Hotel Handicap. This is a race I have a great record in having found Majestic Concorde, Admiral Barry, Fosters Cross, Edeymi and Quick Jack, five winners out of the last seven renewals. I am not especially confident of maintaining this sequence but all we can do is try.
Wood Breizh is my main hope. A big strong galloping grey, he has the benefit of the services of Katie Walsh one of the best riders in the line-up. Willie Mullins gelding was unlucky over the course and distance in the Tuesday evening handicap last year and comes into the race off the back of two very good recent efforts. There is also the possibility that Katie could try to make all or at least have positioned in the first two throughout and prominent racing is always an advantage at Ballybrit.
While Modem has an obvious chance and is Jessica Harrington’s rightful number one, I have a sneaking regard for her second string Kabjoy. Kab is not the most consistent but she is useful on her day and to my mind has been crying out for a staying trip. She pushed the subsequent Chester Cup third Zafayan close at Leopardstown in April and was doing all her best work at the finish at Ballinrobe last time. Mr Fahey will be rowing away from a long way out but if the leaders tire, this mare will be picking them off.
Storm Away has not convinced as a out and out stayer just yet, but I am not ruling her out in view of the fact she is a half sister to Bahrain Storm who improved as he got older and sparkled around Galway. Pat Flynn’s mare ran better than her finishing position indicated last year and it is interesting that top amateur Derek O Connor has been booked. If Derek can ghost her around on the inside rail and obtain a bit of luck coming down the hill, she could outrun her odds.
Galway 7.20- Cenotaph,
Cenotaph was all the rage for an all aged Curragh handicap last time and while failing to do the business, he should not be judged too harshly finishing third to a subsequent winner. He could make amends here.
Galway 7.50- Torcedor,
A tricky handicap. I would be a layer of the favourite Haraseva but it is tricky to pinpoint who will beat him all the same. Top –weight Torcedor appeals as the pick of the prices following an improved effort in blinkers last time. Wachman’s colt was also a good third to Qubec previously on soft ground at Sligo so has an each way chance.
0.75 pts ew –King of Oriel-5.45 Galway-16-1 General
1 pt win-Wood Breizh-6.50 Galway-10-1 General
0.75 pts ew Kabjoy-6.50 Galway-20-1 General
0.5 pts win- Storm Away-6.50 Galway-20-1 General
1 pt win- Cenotaph-7.20 Galway-10-3 General
0.5 pts ew – Torcedor-7.50 Galway-10-1 General