Ruby Walsh with his betting tips on Galway Hurdle Day at Ballybrit
1.50 Beginners SteepleChase (2m 6f)
This looks a match between Cairdin and Silverhand. Cairdin handles the softer ground but Silverhand is a course winner and course winners around Galway tend to follow up. I think he’ll deliver for Noel Meade and AP McCoy.
2.25 Guinness Series Novice Steeplechase (2M 1F)
My day gets going with Laganbank who won his maiden hurdle here but it was on good ground. He’s by Norwich and they tend to need good ground to show their best which it certainly won’t be at Galway today. It could be quite hard to get tabs on Dazzling Susie.
On good ground Laganbank would give here a race of it but on this Soft Soft/heavy in places she’ll be quite hard to beat for John Phelan and Tom Doyle.
4.10 Arthur Guinness Fund Novice Hurdle (2m 4f)
I’m back in action here with Letherbelucky and I won on her first time out at Punchestown and the last time at Roscommon. She stayed very well that day and she’s a tough little filly who should climb the hill. I had a spin on her on Tuesday morning and she worked very well.
But being by Luso you’d just wonder about the soft ground. Audrelles Lad is in good form and Tugboat of Edward O’Grady’s is running well but it will be tough for a four-year-old against these older horses.
4.50 Galway Hurdle (2m)
Paddy Power are paying 1/4 the odds the first 5 home in the Galway Hurdle
One of the highlights of the Irish jumps season never mind the festival itself, this is always a helter-skelter competitive race. The Real Article got everyone in a tangle last year after his Tipperary run but I don’t fancy him on the soft ground today.
I do fancy this year’s winner of that renewal though, Rebel Fitz. He beat The Real Article and Captain Cee Bee at level weights and now gets weight off them here, so you’d have to look closely at that even with his 6lb penalty. He could still be ahead of the handicapper.
I’ve gone for Drive Time purely because he’s had a recent run and that recent run was over hurdles. Last year’s Galway Plate winner Blazing Tempo hasn’t had a run recently and is coming back from fences to hurdles which I think is harder than going from hurdles to fences.
There are nine flights to be jumped and if you’re slow at one of them it puts you up against it. Do it again and you’ve no chance. Drive Time’s form has worked out well from Killarney but if Blazing Tempo hurdles fluently she could prove me wrong!
Princeton Plains looks to be in good form, won a novice hurdle here last year and is well fancied in many quarters. Plan A just doesn’t light my fire. I could be wrong about him but he’s been beaten in weaker races than this.
Edward O’Grady and Barry Geraghty will be looking for some quick compensation with Sailor’s Warn after Out Now’s challenge in the Galway Plate petered out tamely yesterday. He has the form, the experience and has been knocking on the door in all the big handicaps like the Tote Gold Trophy and County Hurdle. He could be the one.
Donald McCain won this two years ago with Overturn and if Lexi’s Boy is in that vein he’ll have a hell of a chance. Should be respected.
At Goodwood, Simenon travels over from Willie Mullins’ yard. Was very good at Royal Ascot when he won twice in the week. Bolted in the first time and was even more impressive the second time but this is a different ball game taking on the first two in the Ascot Gold Cup.
As Willie said yesterday, he’ll have to improve about 12lbs but I think he has improved a bit since Ascot. I rode him in his work last Saturday and he’s in great nick. Who knows he might just spring a surprise because he is an improving horse.
5.30 Charitable Trust Handicap (1m 4f)
Willie has booked Pat Smullen for his Call Me Bubbles in this but I think the ground is against them after their win in Roscommon and they got 11lbs hike for that. He’s a really good-moving horse who appreciates good ground. If he gets beaten I’m sure he can return to winning ways on better ground.
6.05 Arthur’s legacy Flat Race (2m 2f)
Shes TenSixtySix is another daughter of Norwich so you’d have to be worried about the ground. She’s more than capable of winning a bumper of this standard but needs better going. With that in mind Indian Winter of Dermot Weld’s if he handles the going will probably be hard to beat.