Quiet opening to day two, but Prendergast could be set for a winner
The opening four races on day two are not the easiest; a novice hurdle, a beginners' chase and two maidens. Bets were difficult in the first three, but I'll be backing the Kevin Prendergast Mudlahhim in the 19:05.
Clearly the favourite Limit Long sets a decent standard of 87, which is a strong figure to win any maiden, but Mudlahhim should be able to show a bit more following his comeback run earlier this month in Leopardstown.
He was sent off favourite for his return, but was never really in the race after missing the break. It was a pity, as he had finished second to Magna Grecia on his sole start as a juvenile. He travelled like a decent horse that day behind the subsequent 2,000 Guineas winner, and he rates a fair bet if you like having a punt in these sort of races at around 6.205/1.
The trainer has opted for the tongue tie and the visor for the first time.
Saltonstall has his mojo back, and is the one to follow in feature
The feature race of the evening at 19:40 will be the biggest betting event, and with 18 declared at the time of penning this preview, I'll be playing with two selections. It was almost three, but the market hasn't exactly missed Joseph O'Brien's Numerian - and he will be big player off the back of his excellent run in the Britannia. Click here to read what the handler has to say about his chances.
I've had my eye on Saltonstall for a while now. I backed him a couple of times when he raced in the Godolphin blue for Mick Halford, but he went off the boil for that team and started out this season with Ado McGuiness.
The horse produced his best run for a while (and for his new trainer) last time out at the Curragh in a Premier Handicap. He travelled very well throughout the race and the spark appeared to be back. He loomed large just tucked in behind the speed with two furlongs to go, but a clever piece of race-riding from Colin Keane that day on the eventual winner Basic Law was impressive, as he had Saltonstall hemmed in with nowhere to go as the tempo quickened.
Keane takes over on Saltonstall today.
He ran in last season's Hunt Cup at Royal Ascot from 103, and he's now down to 89, and with that improved effort last time, he's too well handicapped to leave out. Especially as the new combination of headgear has worked a treat in his last two runs. He isn't ground dependant either and acts on good and soft. The only negative is the draw.
Back him at 7/1 on the Sportsbook.
You can use Each Way Edge on the Sportsbook too, with a boost to 7 places, so I would consider Joe Murphy's Insignia Of Rank at 18/1.
He holds a decent draw in 2 and Murphy had a big price winner yesterday in one of the handicaps with Galtee Mist. The thinking with this fellow is fairly straightforward as he stays 1m2f and 1m4f well, so in a big field over today's 1m, I'd like to see his stamina put to good use.
Insignia Of Rank disappointed last time at Leopardstown, but he had previously landed a Listed race at the Curragh over today's trip and landed the Cork Derby earlier in the season. He's a tough horse with a big weight from a mark of 103, but he looks the type who might be able to outrun his odds, hopefully with a "go forward" ride from his draw.
Emperor could dance all the way to the line - at a big price in-play
My fourth bet of the day is Dance Emperor - although with his run style, he is likely to trade a fair bit higher in the run than the 5.204/1 that was on offer last night.
He very much caught the eye last time out at Navan over 1m2f. As per usual, he couldn't really go the early pace but picked up well and fairly flew home. It tends to be his style of racing, and he showed that when winning at Leopardstown last summer from a mark of 74 when trained by Jessica Harrington.
Now with Peter Fahey, he's clearly well handicapped from 70, and has dropped 13lb from his peak rating.
He'll enjoy a big field as he craves a decent pace to run at, whilst the stiff finish at Galway could be tailor-made for the horse in this sort of race. The booking of excellent
apprentice Ben Coen is a positive with his 5lb claim, and I would advise throwing in some bigger prices in-running considering his come-from-behind style.
*Click here for more exclusive news and betting previews for the Galway Festival