Saltonstall was a 7/1 winner for Alan Dudman yesterday in the big handcap at Ballybrit, and he has a couple of 20/1+ selections for the feature Galway Plate on Wednesday....
"I expect a similar sort of hold-up ride to creep into contention, but he'll certainly stay well and can make an impact from a mark of 143."
Bolger has claims for Plate success, whilst Yorkhill needs a leap of faith
Under normal circumstances, I usually take in races in chronological order. But today, there is no warm-up act, and it's straight down to business with a couple of 20/1+ pokes for the Galway Plate.
It's a red hot renewal, and so it should be for 177,000 euros, but with 25 runners in the field, my radar was zoning in away from anything in single figures. It's a PROMO race on the Sportsbook and you can use Each Way Edge here with the 7 Places.
There's a UK challenge with Paul Nicholls fielding top weight Black Corton. Click here to read the latest on him, whilst Gordon Elliott has a strong team and plenty of runners, with his views available by clicking here.
Bet one is Enda Bolger's Auvergnat - who was priced at 20/1 last night on the Sportsbook. Whilst the Plate trip of 2m6f could be deemed a little on the short side, I prefer backing something at Galway that has plenty of stamina. Auvergnat ticks that particular box.
He also has winning form in a big handicap over fences - notably the Paddy Power Chase last Christmas at Leopardstown, and he bolted up in that by over six lengths. He was revitalised with that display with the first time blinkers, and his jumping was particularly impressive.
His effort in the Killarney National was a good one last seen, and I expect a similar sort of hold-up ride to creep into contention, but he'll certainly stay well and can make an impact from a mark of 143.
I should also flag up the move last night on the Sportsbook for Bolger's other runner Movewiththetimes, who was initially priced up at 25/1, but pushing 10 o'clock, he was 11/1. He has a low weight and starts for his new yard following his exit from Paul Nicholls, but I can't have him myself.
One I will be backing though is Yorkhill, and I have lost count how many times I have given a last chance to the most enigmatic of all beasts.
I'm too loyal to him, but for a horse with so much ability, it's been disappointing to say the least how his career has gone. Indeed, his last worthwhile piece of form at the top level was back in 2017 when finishing second in the Ryanair Gold Cup as a novice at Fairyhouse. He's a massive talent, but he is also massively quirky and frustrating in equal measure.
He was rated 164 as a novice and is now down to 154. There are plenty of warnings with him, though, as his free-going tendencies make the unpredictable side of him predictable these days. He can also jump to his left, so he might end up near side at the end - just like Clarcam did in 2018. Here's hoping anyway.
I suspect his trainer Willie Mullins has seen him as a real challenge in an attempt to get him back to his old self, and if he can, he might be better than his 25.024/1 price on the Exchange.
Huge field, but stick with McConnell to come up trumps
There's one bet for me in the 88-123 handicap hurdle at 17:40 with John McConnell's Roi De Dubai. You can back him at 12/1 on the Sportsbook to win an ultra competitive race.
He tried to make the running last time at Killarney over 2m7f and gave it a good shot, but I'm not entirely convinced that is his trip. He is ideal at around 2m4f to 2m5f, and with good ground, these are his optimum set of race conditions.
The hurdler looked most impressive when he landed a race at Bellestown from the front - and he won that easily with Lethal Steps in third that day. He has been described as a tough galloper, and I am hoping we can get a decent run for our money from the front. Options should be there to trade him in play from around 13.012/1 to shorter to get your stake back.
Flat action and Keane to back Zander
My first dip into the Flat action on a tough card, but the 20:00 is a rattling good three-year-old handicap over 1m. Michael Halford's Balefire is progressive and he's looking to add to his Leopardstown victory from the front when last seen from a 3lb higher mark. He needs a personal best, but he does have a good draw in 4 for his run style. He has toughened up according to his trainer, and he represents a good trade for a back-to-lay.
However the two at 15/2 on the Sportsbook are interesting to me. Jessica Harrington's Tauran Shaman won on debut at Killarney and goes handicapping for the first time, but this could be a tough race for a horse who looked green and a bit raw. His draw isn't ideal in 8 either, so for an inexperienced runner, I will leave him alone in preference for the bet in the race.
Step forward Zander for Ger Lyons and Colin Keane.
He looked a decent juvenile last season but has disappointed on a couple of occasions. His run over 1m4f recently was dreadful, but he bounced back to form when last seen at Ballinrobe - and he wasn't in the best position either. He finished third over 1m2f and he shapes as though this stiff finish at Galway will suit in a race where there is a guaranteed pace angle.
He's well handicapped too as his mark has dropped from 98 at the start of the season down to 90.
Zander won here at the festival last summer in the maiden, but Keane needs to be at his best here from stall 11.