5.35pm Galway Tips & Betting Preview 02/08/2017

Intriguingly no horse has carried more than ten thirteen to victory here in the last ten years  (though rules are amde to be broken), which have also only seen the three winning favourites with 10/1 chance Lord Scoundrel scoring for Gordon Elliott last season. Plenty of runners so on with the race preview ahead of the Galway Plate this evening.

IN SUMMARY: A cracker of a race in prospect but decisions need to be made and at the prices, ROAD TO RICHES (each way) looks excellent value after a good fourth here last year for trainer Noel Meade. he is a very classy animal and is still improving at the age of ten and can win this under jockey Sean Flanagan. Sadly, it looks as if On Fiddlers Green will not get a run as third reserve, but if he does he may yet be the biggest danger to the selection.

1 BALLYCASEY – Trained by the legendary Willie Mullins so cannot be dismissed and put in a lifetime best at Killarney at the age of ten when winning by fourteen lengths. Career high mark to shrug off and history is against him for both his age and his weight but cannot be dismissed so readily. Not necessarily the stable first string.

2 ALECHI INOIS – Had a pipe opener on the flat last month at Killarney and sports a tongue tie for the first time here at the age of nine to aid his breathing. Last seen over fences when pulled up at Aintree but has a course and distance win from last July on his CV though others appear to have much stronger claims today in this classy field.

3 LORD SCOUNDREL – Failed to see out the extended three miles five at Fairyhouse in the Irish Grand national but has a curse and distance win to his name and ought to be happier at this trip. Tongue tie added but needs to do a lot better than recent efforts but needs a career best by eleven pounds to win off this rating. James Bowne takes a useful seven pounds off his back but that may not be enough to help him in this field.

4 ROAD TO RICHES – Won this race in 2014 for Noel Meade off a mark of 149 and has an added seven pounds to carry this year but that won’t be enough to stop him. Pulled up last year after some uncharacteristic errors but jumps better these days and ought to prove very hard to beat if able to reproduce his best form. Stable are very shrewd when it comes to these handicaps and has a very solid chance. 

5 SANDYMOUNT DUKE – Three wins in a row now at Punchestown, Down Royal, and on the flat at Leopardstown in mid-July. Stable form has dropped off a little lately with just the one recent winner from thirteen runners in the last two weeks (7%) but seems to be on an upward curve at the age of eight, and looks to have decent each way chances. One for the shortlist under jockey Danny Mullins. 

6 ROCK THE WORLD – Peaked with a win in the Grand Annual Chase at Cheltenham last March and ran well next time out with a fourth to Fox Norton at Punchestown. Not as good in two races since with a fourteen length second to Ballycasey who he meets on three pounds worse terms now and looks to have his work cut out over a trip that may well stretch his limited stamina. Barry Geraghty rides which presumably makes him the best of the J P McManus owned runners.

7 DEVILS BRIDE – Looks up against it here after a four and three-quarter length second to Ballyoisin at Killarney last time out over two miles and a furlong but did run well in fourth in this race last season beaten just three lengths at the line. He has to carry four pounds more this year but has a 40% win record here at Galway and could surprise a few of these for trainer Henry de Bromhead at what may be his favourite track.

8 SADLER’S RISK – Hard to make any kind of a case for after his eighth of twelve over hurdles last time out at Gowran Park but has won three of his nine starts over fences at Roscommon, Limerick, and more recently Punchestown last October, but none in four races since (two over fences and two over hurdles) leaving him with plenty to find. Seems to have his own ideas about the sport and equally as likely to run well as badly.

9 SHANESHILL – The booking of Ruby Walsh suggests he is the Mullins number one pick here and he has to have every chance of a win if that is the case. In good form over hurdles lately with a win and a third at Auteuil in high-class events, if he can transfer that form to the larger obstacles he has to be a major player here. Two wins from four starts in chases suggest there may be more to come and although his lack of experience counts against him he could be well handicapped here for a stable hitting a 33% strike rate in the last two weeks.

10 A TOI PHIL – Looks to be the Gordon Elliott first string with Brian Cooper in the saddle but hasn’t been seen since a fourth to Disko at Punchestown in the Champion Novice Chase in April. Steps into the big league this season but may well have been laid out for this and with a first-time tongue tie seems likely to get involved with a clear round. Stable continue in good sorts with five winners from their last thirty-four runners (15%).

11 BALKO DES FLOS – Proving popular in the early markets and one of those in this field open to any amount of further improvement. Just the one win from six starts over fences so far but some solid placed form including a two length third to Woodland Opera at Punchestown over two miles five furlongs. Runs off a rating of 146 now but may well prove to be a lot better than that in the long term and is very much one for the shortlist. 

12 ARBRE DE VIE – Hard to judge at present after a shocker over hurdles at Killarney when only seventh beaten twenty-eight lengths at the line but ran a superb second to Woodland Opera at Punchestown. He kept on well that day to be beaten three-quarters of a length and will app up the added furlong and a half here but needs to be caught right and seems a risky proposition.

13 HAYMOUNT – An intriguing contender who has won over trips of two miles and to and a half and has run well over much further including a third over four miles at Cheltenham in the National Hunt Challenge Cup. Last time out he ran well in the Irish National before weakening late on in to seventh and off just three pounds higher here he is another Mullins runner who could go well.

14 THREE KINGDOMS – Well beaten here last season when only tenth and twenty-five lengths adrift of the winner but won on the flat last month at The Curragh for Dermot Weld. He has won off up to eight pounds higher marks in the past and if his recent run has sweetened him up he could get involved though the Dermot Weld stable are having a quiet patch of late which has to be of some concern.

15 BALLYBOLLEY – One of only two raiders heading over from the UK and trained by Nigel Twiston-Davies, he may well have won at Uttoxeter last time out had he not fallen three out under jockey Daryl Jacob. The pairing are reunited again this evening and he can go well with a clear round but this is tougher than his recent races and he will need a career best here off a rating of 142, three pounds higher than his best winning mark so far.

16 SLOWMOTION – Three wins and two places from just the six starts over fences for the Joseph O’Brien trained five-year-old who has a lot more room for improvement than some. Although a mare she doesn’t get any allowances here and hasn’t been seen since finishing a length and three-quarters second to Definite Ruby at Punchestown over two miles five in late April, and off four pounds more it may prove too much for her in this class of field.

17 MARINERO – Blinkers added for the first time here but they need to have a serious effect for the eight-year-old to have any chance. Eight races without a win now for the son of Presenting and twenty-nine lengths seventh over three miles plus last time out at Kilbeggan but didn’t stay that day and should be happier at this trip. Needs to do more here but potentially moving back towards a winning mark.

18 SHANPALLAS – Plenty to find in this sort of company and didn’t run as well as hoped over hurdles last time out when a distant fourth at Gowran Park. Only has two pounds more than when winning at Limerick in October 2014 but hasn’t won over fences in seven starts now, and ought to start at a big price.

19 VINTAGE VINNIE – Heads over the ocean for trainer Rebecca Curtis but looks too high in the weights to make much of an impression here. His stable are on the magic 100% mark in the last two weeks with one runner for one winner which says very little but the horse has won three of his fourteen starts over fences, the latest at Aintree in April. Put up eleven pounds for that he has since finished sixth at Uttoxeter but stays a lot further than this and may well find a few of these way too quick for him when the chips are down.  

20 DEANS ROAD – An intriguing entry when you read the trainers comments after his last win over two miles three furlongs at Listowel off a rating six pounds lower. Henry de Bromhead said I think we’re entitled to think now about races like the Kerry National. Deans Road likes to go left-handed and those are the options we will go for. Realistically that probably rules out the Galway Plate even though he won his beginners chase going right-handed. I would like to see him over 3m though, I think a trip would suit him”, which pretty much rules him out here on every count, but they are entitled to change their minds though the comments are enough to negate his chances.

21 HERON HEIGHTS – Brought down last time out at Limerick at the first there is no way to know if he is over that fall either mentally or physically.  Prior to that he had finished a well-beaten tenth of eleven over hurdles at Tramore but does have a good third to Sizing Codelco over fences plus four victories to his name and could be a bit of a dark horse here off this weight granted a clear round 

22 BENTELIMAR – One win from six races over fences was at Wexford over two and a half miles in June and followed that with an acceptable third to Peregrine Run at the same track last month. Cannot be considered badly treated off his current handicap mark but his stable are none from five in the last two weeks and this looks a massive challenge on what he has achieved so far.

23 SHADOW CATCHER – Hasn’t won since 2015, a run of sixteen races now and was beaten seventy-one runs last time out at Limerick over shorter. Yet to win over this far and may not get into the race. RESERVE.

24 SAMBREMONT – Even though the Willie Mullins stable are in good form the seven-year-old isn’t and has been pulled up in four of his last six starts. He did complete at Ballinrobe last time but was twenty-two lengths adrift of the winner and others appeal an awful lot more. RESERVE.

25 ON FIDDLERS GREEN – Looks unlikely to get into the race as the third reserve which is a shame as we originally liked his chances. Three wins from twelve starts include a course and distance win at the Galway festival last season and off a rating of just 136 he would have had a superb each way chance this evening. RESERVE.

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