Race Time: 7.20pm Meeting: Galway Festival Distance: 7f
Full Race Name: Claytonhotelgalway.ie Handicap
One of the hardest handicaps we have seen in many a year with the top weight still a maiden, and only four of the eighteen runners distance winners, making life that bit more tricky for us we assure you!
The Dermot Weld monopoly could well continue here with the well backed Tadaany (3/1) in a first time visor sitting at or near the top of the betting. Three races for a handicap mark have seen the son of Acclamation finish fourth third and fourth here at Galway, Gowran Park, and Fairyhouse with the last run a let down when dropped back to six furlongs. A handicap mark of just the 78 may come to be seen as pretty generous in the long term, and with a visor to focus his attentions, he ought to be one of the two the others have to beat in the famous blue and white colours of Hamdan Al Maktoum. Champion trainer Aidan O’Brien is never far away on the Irish flat scene as we all know, and he sends Cenotaph (7/2) here, who is vying for favouritism overnight at similar odds to the Weld beast. He is also still a maiden after four races that include two seconds and a third, all implying he is hard to win with, and that if he can carry top weight to victory, then this isn’t much of a race, with the softer ground almost certainly against him.
Hat Alnasar (20/1) is one of the few previous winners in this field having taken a little race on the all-weather at Dundalk over this seven furlong trip for trainer Mick Halford, at least showing the desire to get his head in front, all be it just the once in six races, a remark that also applies to Ohh Lala (20/1) who took a small race at Sligo last year AND a handicap at Cork off the same rating of 76, form that actually suggests the daughter of Clodovil could well be the each way value call this evening. In training with William McCreery and to be ridden by Billy lee, even in defeat she hasn’t been that far away from the winner and is at least a spot of value in a fiendishly difficult race to solve.
One horse to go and we cant quite work out why the media are virtually ignoring the Brendan Duke trained Vocal Warm Up (20/1) who sits ever so sweetly at the bottom of the weights? Although beaten in to sixth last time out in an apprentice handicap at Leopardstown, she wasn’t actually beaten that far at the line and has some better form before that to bring to the party. Her run on heavy ground at Listowel is best ignored as she hated every inch of it, but a couple of second places at Dundalk before that suggest she does have some talent, and off a mark of 61c and carrying just eight stone nine, she may well run a big race in this impossible looking contest.