Betting Masterclass: Adrian Wall’s punting guide for the 2021 Galway Festival

Galway Festival

The highly-anticipated seven-day Galway Races Summer Festival kicks off on Monday 26th July. The opening card is an evening meeting with the first of seven races taking place at 4.10pm.

Galway Racecourse received confirmation that they will have 1,000 racegoers daily at the Summer Festival. They were hoping to have 5,000 attending each day so it was a disappointing result. However, myracing will endeavour to make this year’s event an enjoyable betting experience for those that are tuned in at home.


What is the big race of the week?

The Galway Plate, a race sponsored by Tote, is run over a distance of 2m6f with a round of fourteen fences to jump in total. The last two fences have found out many a horse and can cause a lot of drama. Situated three furlongs from the winning line, they are the closest fences together of any racecourse in the world.

Worth €250,000, the race is laced with quality and throws up experienced chasers taking on emerging youngsters. The contest has thrown up some high-class recent winners including Balko Des Flos and Road To Riches, both owned by Gigginstown House Stud.

Gigginstown’s Samcro has been allotted top weight in this year’s renewal, with dual Grand National hero Tiger Roll a speculative entry from 3lb lower. It would be a major surprise if Tiger Roll turned up and Samcro is currently a 20-1 chance with Paddy Power, a huge price if he is anywhere near his best.

Willie Mullins has entered Easy Game, Brahma Bull and Royal Rendezvous up near the top of the weights but his nephew Emmet could have the winner in the current favourite The Shunter. The Cheltenham Festival winner was subsequently purchased by JP McManus before finishing second over fences in a Grade 1 at Aintree.

Samcro at Cheltenham


Who is the trainer to follow at Galway?

It may come as no surprise but Willie Mullins is without doubt the trainer to follow at Galway. This may surprise a few but it has paid more handsomely to follow him on the Flat. In the last five year at Galway, Mullins has trained 19 winners from 56 runners at the track which is an incredible 34 per cent return.

This has culminated in a profit of +£55.79 to level stakes so if you placed £10 win on every Flat runner Mullins had at Galway since 2016 at starting price, you would have made +£557.90 in profit. Over jumps, his results are good but not quite as impressive. He has a 21 per cent return which would return -£26.63 to level stakes.

Also worth a mention is Tony Mullins who had a 100 per cent strike-rate at Galway in 2020 with three winners from three runners. What is the moral of the story? Back Mullins’ Flat runners at Galway next week!

Wille Mullins has some decent chances on opening day.


Who is the jockey to follow at Galway?

Over the jumps, top amateur rider Patrick Mullins could be worth following, especially in the bumpers. However, on the Flat, Gavin Ryan could be the man to follow at Galway next week. He had six winners from 22 rides at the track in 2020 which is a 27 per cent return. Donnacha O’Brien could have some nice rides for him but he will be well sought after for the handicaps too.

There is an abundance of young talent in Ireland at present, the likes of which we have never seen before. Luke McAteer, Dylan Browne McMonagle, Sam Ewing, Joey Sheridan, Nathan Crosse and Wesley Joyce are some names to watch out for but Cian MacRedmond could have a couple of lovely rides for Ado McGuinness so that combination could be worth following.

I read a fantastic piece first published in 2013 by David Jennings of the Racing Post this morning that is well worth a read. How to ride Galway by the late Pat Smullen and Barry Geraghty is a fantastic way to get some insight into how the track rides. It could give you an idea of what sort of horse you need to look out for, typically a strong travelling sort that has a good bit of stamina.

Gavin Ryan


Don’t fall for the Dermot Weld trap

Dermot Weld is renowned as “The King Of Ballybrit” and rightly so after the success he has had there throughout the years. In years gone by he has farmed the place and went nearly 30 years in a row as leading trainer at the Summer Festival. However, his success has not been as pronounced in recent years. He is operating at about 10 per cent at the track since 2016.

Our advice is not to get sucked into the Weld trap at Galway next week. Yes, he may have a few winners but the majority of his horses will be drastically underpriced. Regardless of the form of the horse, it is likely to be skinny odds just due to the fact that Weld trains it. Don’t be fooled by it, if anything it will just offer better value elsewhere in the race.

Dermot Weld


Draw bias on the Flat

Galway Racecourse is shaped like a diamond and covers a distance of 1m2f. It is a sharp right-handed track with undulations and a stiff uphill quarter-mile run to the winning post. Over 7f there is a shortish run from the start to the first of two bends. This requires horses that are drawn wider to either take a pull and pray for a gap or risk losing all chance at the start by using too much energy to get to the front.

A low draw is strongly favoured over 7f at Galway in handicaps with 14 or more runners. However, from a mile up the draw isn’t as relevant and the main factor is the running style. Horses that can get to the front outperform market expectation regardless of stall position so look for horses that like to be up with the pace.


If you back any of our selections you can watch them live on the free Racing Post app or racingpost.com. Simply log in to one of your bookmaker accounts and click ‘Watch live’ on the racecards.

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