The feature of the second day of the Galway Festival is an ultra competitive mile handicap. 41 are entered at the five day declaration stage and those at the bottom end of the weights look highly unlikely to get into the contest so those in the top half look those to concentrate on at the present time. The draw is going to be important, with the track, a sharp right handed circuit where despite the stiff finish, it pays to be low and race handy. In the race last year, with 14 runners, those drawn in double figure stalls finished 5th, 10th, 12th, 13th and 14th including the 4/1 favourite trailing home last.
Brian Ellison has sent Baraweez across to both the 2014 and 2015 Festivals. He has been placed 3rd and 2nd in this race before both years taking the 7f handicap on the closing Sunday of the meeting. He is a little higher in the weights than for any of those runs but as one who will have been trained to the second for another attempt at the meeting and with such a high level of course form in the book, he is given plenty of respect.
Dermot Weld is always the man to follow at the meeting, a dominant force in recent years, sending punters home happy regularly. Ashraf is the highest rated of his three entries but has turned into a Jekyll and Hyde character this season. A Gowran win in June is sandwiched by dismal efforts at the Curragh and Leopardstown and it’s anyone’s guess as to what frame of mind he will be in. Both his wins have come with plenty of juice in the ground so any rainfall would be a bonus for supporters.
Weld may also be represented by The Moore Factor but he will need a bit of luck and some withdrawals ahead of him in the weights. He has been a shade disappointing in a pair of runs since opening his account at Gowran in April but it would be no surprise if he has been trained with this meeting in mind and will be an interesting runner wherever he turns up over the course of the week.
The final Weld runner is the twice raced Karalara who is currently at the head of the market. She won a mile and a quarter race at Navan in June but is a long way down the weights at present and is going to need lots of luck to get a run in the contest so wouldn’t be carrying any of our money from an ante post point of view.
Brendan Bracken did best of those drawn wide in the 2015 renewal of this race when 5th and finds himself off a five pound lower mark this season. He absolutely dotted up in this race in 2013 from a mark 3lbs higher so if given a better draw to work from, could well be a big player as another likely to have been laid out for the contest. His reduced mark is deserved on recent efforts but a return to a happy hunting ground could have the desired effect of sparking him back into life!
Hasanour has kept warm company since last successful with a trip to Dubai earlier in the year a disappointment, He ran well in a Listed race at Naas in May before running far better in the Hunt Cup at Royal Ascot than his finishing position would have you believe on ground that was too soft for him. The track is currently good and with previous C&D winning form, he looks like the one they all have to beat providing the ground stays on top.
Stipulate is a fascinating contender for that man Ellison again. It’s fair to say that his time in Australia wasn’t as good as connections will have hoped despite a Listed win in his two and a half years down under. He has an excellent record fresh and with the peak of his efforts coming on better ground, any market support would make him a very interesting runner.
Finally we have Creggs Pipes who has run up a hat trick for Andrew Slattery, a trainer who is enjoying his best flat season ever in 2016 and we are only in July! The daughter of Rip Van Winkle is adaptable with regards to ground and tends to be ridden right on the pace which if allocated a low draw in this contest could well be the place to be. This will be by far her most difficult task to date but she has been impressive and certainly shouldn’t be discounted.