Race Time: 5.45pm Meeting: Galway Festival
Full Race Name: Easyfix Rubber Products Handicap Hurdle
Once again the Dermot Weld factor seems to have come in to play with regard to the betting here with Defining Year (3/1) heading the betting despite the small question mark against his name of never ever having won a race over hurdles! His career consists of 35 runs for three victories, all on the flat and the latest of them over a mile and a half on the all-weather track at Dundalk in February 2014 – close to a year and a half ago. Now we may be missing something somewhere, but that is not what we expected to find about a favourite set to give weight away to most of his rivals here, and as he has actually goner backwards on the flat as well he is not for us, and if he wins we can just smile accordingly and hope that someone somewhere gives us an explanation other than the fine form of the Weld yard which is frankly just not enough.
Beckwith Star (10/1) took the race last year for Henry De Bromhead and tries to double up here, though he is running off a mark ten pounds higher which certainly wont help his cause regardless of his jockey claim (the jockey claimed three pounds last year so even the five claimed by Adam O’Neill this year effectively only takes two more off his back), and at the age of ten, surely he cannot still be improving? At least he arrives her at the top of his game having won a chase at Wexford off a rating nine pounds higher, though we all know translating form from one code to another is fraught with danger, and although he could struggle in to a place, we feel that is the best connections can realistically hope for?
Trainer Gordon Elliott sends two for the race but jockey bookings suggest that The Scourge (9/1) is the first choice, and if he improves again for his win at Kilbeggan then he could get in to the mix. That was only his fourth run over hurdles so there is time for him to learn a bit more and as we feel he idled in front that day he, may well have got in under the handicappers radar with a rating of 107 at the tender age of four.
We always used to struggle to desert Barry Geraghty when he rode over in England, so why would we change our thoughts just because he is now retained by J P McManus? He will be on board Rocky Court (14/1) here, and although there is a risk he could “bounce” after an excellent return after a long lay off, some will be happy to take the plunge. Second to Myles Ahead at Limerick after over eight months off the track, he ran out of steam close home which was no surprise and could run as big race here in a race that gets more complicated the more we look at it.
Lastly, Damut (14/1) sits right down the bottom of the weights and could be of interest – at least he won a handicap last time out and not just a maiden! He took a little race at Clonmel with a bit in hand but has ben put up nine pounds for the privilege – probably enough to stop him but in this race all things seem