We've reached the final day of the Galway Summer Festival and Gary O'Brien is backing a Ballybrit specialist to end the week the same way as he began...
"...she belied her 40/1 starting price by staying on from well back in the field to take fifth in a large field and certainly gave the impression that today's longer journey would be more suitable."
Dermot Weld may no longer enjoy the level of success of old at his beloved Galway festival but having kicked off the 2020 edition with a double on Monday evening the Rosewell House handler may also end on a winning note courtesy of Alaiya in the 1m4f fillies maiden at 16:50.
By Sea The Stars out of the smart filly Alanza, this three-year-old showed little on her belated debut at Leopardstown shortly after the resumption of racing but marked herself down as a likely candidate for this fixture with an eye-catching effort at Cork earlier this month. The yard's second string behind the winner Taramansour there, she belied her 40/1 starting price by staying on from well back in the field to take fifth in a large field and certainly gave the impression that today's longer journey would be more suitable.
Market leader Prose has an official rating of 84 but this will be her sixth start and she looks vulnerable to a less exposed type. La Joya and Secret Sea are other potential improvers, while Golddragon Reef hails from a top yard and deserves plenty of respect but on balance Alaiya looks the best bet.
Stiff finish to suit Lyons' Knight
Ger Lyons has had a very quiet week at Galway with just two runners so far - though he did have a couple of withdrawals due to ground conditions on Tuesday - but it is interesting that he is happy to allow The Last Knight to take his chance in the median auction maiden for juveniles over seven furlongs at 15:15.
This gelding by The Last Lion looked like one who would definitely enjoy going a bit further when staying on nicely into fourth behind stable-companion Coill Avon on his introduction at the Curragh last weekend and you would imagine the stiff finish here should play to his strengths. Fourhometwo sets a decent standard by virtue of his debut second to Ballydoyle hotpot Southern Cape at Gowran Park but take him out of the equation and it doesn't look a great contest so my advice is to back The Last Knight "two chances" at 3/1 on the Betfair Sportsbook.
Those who read my preview at the beginning of the week will hopefully have secured a bit of value about Current Option in the featured Ahonoora Handicap at 16:20, though Ado McGuinness's smart performer could have done with better ground than will prevail and is probably short enough now. He predictably was never able to get involved in Tuesday's Galway Mile but the return to seven furlongs and a kinder draw today will certainly help and in-form Gavin Ryan's 5lb claim is another bonus.