I was half right that Kevin Prendergast was the man to follow in last night’s Topaz Mile – just a shame we were on the wrong one! Stable-mate Vastonea stormed home to repeat his 2012 win in the same race to give the Curragh veteran his fourth win in a decade in that ultra-competitive handicap.
On to today and the Galway Plate is the feature. And while J P McManus owns half the field – I like the Dessie Hughes’ trained Golden Wonder (5.30pm) at around the 10/1 mark.
The Co Kildare trainer would have had this race in mind ever since finishing an excellent second to Shutthefrontdoor in the Irish National last April. Another factor in his favour is a win here over this 2m 6f trip in a Beginners Chase at last year’s festival. He beat another of today’s rivals Spring Heeled then and I’m hoping for another big run in a race where we’re paying the first 5 each-way.
Earlier on today’s mixed card is Greatness (4.10pm) who exploited a nice handicap mark when last seen over hurdles at Kilbeggan, He’s 7lb higher here today but with Shane Shortall excellent value for his 7lb claim I fancy Tony Martin could be visiting the winners enclosure again with this fella who is about a 5/1 shot in early trading.
Group horse lurking in a handicap
It wouldn’t seem right to go through the day without tipping a Dermot Weld horse and his filly Sarafiyla (6.40pm) ticks all the right boxes.
She ran a nice race first time up when beaten into third by the Aidan O Brien-trained filly Shell House who has since won a Down Royal handicap off 86.
Sarafiyla was then impressive when winning a maiden at Leopardstown on softer than ideal ground. She could be the proverbial Group horse in tonight’s handicap and we’re keeping her onside at 11/8f.