Galway Festival Tips: Grand servant Bay Hill the one to back on day five

Mark Walsh for JP McManus
Mark Walsh rides the JP McManus-owned Bay Hill on Friday
Join today

It's day five in Ballybrit, and Alan Dudman is excited at the prospect of Bay Hill lining up in the Galway Blazers...

"That was only his fourth outing over the larger obstacles and he's running from an appealing mark of 126 - which looks tempting given he is rated just 3lb lower over hurdles."

Back Bay Hill Win and Place @ [14.5] in the 19:45 at Galway

On with day five at Galway, and the third successive all jumps' card. In terms of depth, quality, and each-way betting, this looks the most appealing with some terrific horses on show.

There are three big field handicap hurdles comprising of 18, 18 and 20 runners respectively (at the time of writing), plus a Beginners' and a super-looking Blazers to tail the fixture before the bumper at 19:45.

Great servant could go well in "Blazers"

Let us begin with the Galway Blazers at 19:45, a race in which Gordon Elliott sends out two with Mighty Stowaway and Creadon Grae.

Those don't make it to the list, but one horse that most certainly will is the Padraig Roche-trained Bay Hill - a most remarkable horse for connections.

At nine years of age, he's won at 1m4f and 2m on the Flat, and scored over hurdles from 2m to 2m4f. Throw in a victory at Wexford last summer when he beat Jan Maat at Wexford on his chase debut too, he really has been smashing for all involved with him. Jan Maat however, was a project horse of mine who might be finding himself scratched off soon.

Bay Hill makes it, though.

Creditable fourth of 13 in handicap chase at Tipperary (20f, soft, 9/2) 12 days ago.

Scroll for more info
Date Course/Class Pos Type Dist. Gng. HDGR WGT Jockey BSP
19/07/20 Tipperary 4/13 Chase 2m 4f Soft 11st 1lbs M. P. Walsh 5.97
13/06/20 Curragh 12/16 Flat 2m Gd/frm 9st 4lbs L. F. Roche 60
18/02/20 Punchestown 5/6 Chase 2m Heavy 11st 7lbs D. J. O'Keeffe 180
05/01/20 Naas 5/6 Chase 2m Soft 11st 8lbs J. S. McGarvey 160.68
10/10/19 Thurles 1/15 Flat 2m Soft 9st 11lbs D. J. O'Keeffe 5.8
14/09/19 Listowel 4/10 Hurdle 2m 4f Good 11st 1lbs D. J. O'Keeffe 6.09
29/08/19 Bellewstown 1/11 Hurdle 2m 4f 50y Good 11st 4lbs D. J. O'Keeffe 3.52
20/07/19 Curragh 4/14 Flat 1m 4f Good B 9st 10lbs Miss A. B. O'Connor 10.5
19/06/19 Wexford 1/14 Chase 2m Good 11st 12lbs D. J. O'Keeffe 9.2
23/05/19 Tipperary 3/10 Hurdle 2m 4f Gd/sft 0 11st 2lbs D. J. O'Keeffe 3.5
01/05/19 Punchestown 3/24 Hurdle 2m 5f Gd/sft 0 11st 1lbs Mr L. P. Gilligan 125.34
30/11/18 Limerick 9/12 Hurdle 2m Gd/sft 0 11st 2lbs Mr L. P. Gilligan 5.11
08/11/18 Thurles 1/10 Hurdle 2m Gd/frm 0 11st 9lbs Mr L. P. Gilligan 2.56
17/10/18 Punchestown 2/6 Hurdle 2m Good 0 11st 0lbs M. P. Walsh 2.8
03/10/18 Cork 2/16 Flat 1m 4f Good 0 9st 13lbs A. J. Slattery 3.5
11/09/18 Listowel 1/14 Hurdle 2m Gd/sft 0 11st 0lbs L. A. McKenna 4.2
31/08/18 Curragh 2/22 Flat 1m 4f Gd/sft 0 10st 6lbs Miss A. B. O'Connor 40
01/05/18 Ballinrobe 6/16 Hurdle 2m 1f 21y Heavy 11st 9lbs J. S. McGarvey 10.5
07/12/17 Clonmel 11/14 Hurdle 2m 61y Heavy 11st 11lbs L. P. Dempsey 16.5
05/11/17 Naas 10/16 Flat 1m 2f Soft 8st 4lbs N. G. McCullagh 157.36
27/10/17 Dundalk 13/14 Flat 1m 2f 150y Std 0 9st 7lbs L. F. Roche 15.25

He showed his first bit of form chasing since Wexford (and two subsequent poor runs) with a good effort at Tipperary over 2m4f earlier this month. That was only his fourth outing over the larger obstacles and he's running from an appealing mark of 126 - which looks tempting given he is rated just 3lb lower over hurdles.

Roche has described him as a summer horse who likes the decent ground, but he has got enough form in soft conditions (and wins) to not be too dogmatic with the sort of surface he'll face on Friday.

He jumped pretty well at Wexford last summer and he looked as enthusiastic as ever for a 9yo back then. It's a new trip, but he's such a grand horse I can see him holding a decent position to attack those two quick fences before the run for home.

Roche's dad Christy knew a thing or two about training winners for owner JP McManus, with Grimes winning at Ballybrit almost 20 years ago. Bay Hill doesn't quite possess the star quality of Grimes, but he's an admirable horse and deserves a big one.

Layers out to get Mengli?

In rewind mode, the proceeding race poses as many questions as answers. Four of the field ran two days' ago, and most in here are on some sort of recovery mission.

For the layers out there, I imagine they are going to be keen on taking on Mengli Khan. He ran in last year's Plate, and there are an awful lot of defeats on his dance card since then - and he's a 150 chaser. I liked him in his early days as a novice, but I have been converted, as a few people were telling me he was over-rated.

It will be good to see him get back, and he had a bit of a confidence booster winning over hurdles at Kilbeggan earlier in the month. He scrambled home in that, and he remains unconvincing with that lofty rating of his.

Smart chaser. Didn't need to be at best when winning 9-runner minor event hurdle (6/4) at Kilbeggan (19.8f, good to soft) 21 days ago, always holding on. Switches from hurdles to chase.

Scroll for more info
Date Course/Class Pos Type Dist. Gng. HDGR WGT Jockey BSP
10/07/20 Kilbeggan 1/9 Hurdle 2m 3f 180y Gd/sft + 11st 2lbs L. P. Dempsey 2.88
01/03/20 Leopardstown 3/7 Hurdle 2m 2f 30y Heavy + 11st 0lbs L. P. Dempsey 2.46
15/02/20 Gowran Park 3/5 Hurdle 2m Heavy + 11st 0lbs L. P. Dempsey 20
26/01/20 Naas 3/7 Hurdle 1m 7f 180y Soft + 11st 1lbs L. P. Dempsey 32.13
15/12/19 Navan 6/15 Hurdle 2m 4f Heavy + 11st 10lbs J. W. Kennedy 20.21
23/11/19 Gowran Park 4/5 Chase 2m 4f Heavy + 11st 1lbs M. P. Walsh 17.5
02/11/19 Down Royal 4/4 Chase 2m 3f 120y Heavy z 11st 5lbs Keith Donoghue 4.7
31/07/19 Galway 9/22 Chase 2m 6f 111y Good z 11st 6lbs Davy Russell 17
18/06/19 Ascot Ascot Stakes 12/19 Flat 2m 3f 210y Gd/sft z 9st 6lbs R. P. Cleary 10.5
21/04/19 Fairyhouse 4/5 Chase 2m 4f Good z 11st 10lbs J. W. Kennedy 5.1
04/04/19 Aintree Devenish Manifesto Novices’ 3/6 Chase 2m 3f 200y Gd/sft z 11st 4lbs J. W. Kennedy 8.8
14/03/19 Cheltenham JLT Novices' Chase 3/10 Chase 2m 3f 168y Gd/sft z 11st 4lbs J. W. Kennedy 10.5
02/02/19 Leopardstown 3/6 Chase 2m 1f Good z 11st 10lbs J. W. Kennedy 6.8
26/12/18 Leopardstown 4/6 Chase 2m 1f Good z 11st 12lbs Davy Russell 2.89
28/11/18 Punchestown 1/9 Chase 2m 20y Gd/sft z 11st 12lbs Davy Russell 1.87
24/04/18 Punchestown 3/10 Hurdle 2m 100y Gd/sft z 11st 12lbs J. W. Kennedy 6
13/03/18 Cheltenham Supreme Novices' Hurdle 3/19 Hurdle 2m 87y Soft z 11st 7lbs J. W. Kennedy 17.39
13/01/18 Punchestown 2/6 Hurdle 2m Heavy 11st 8lbs Davy Russell 3.1
27/12/17 Leopardstown -/7 Hurdle 2m Soft 11st 7lbs J. W. Kennedy 2.22
03/12/17 Fairyhouse 1/7 Hurdle 2m Soft 11st 7lbs J. W. Kennedy 2.45
12/11/17 Navan 1/6 Hurdle 2m Heavy 10st 12lbs J. W. Kennedy 2.49

I was with The Storyteller for the Plate on Tuesday, but something wasn't right straight after the first fence. Jockey Davy Russell had a few looks down before pulling him up very early following some sloppy leaping. He was declared in the contest at the time of writing, and on Thursday evening he was [3.1] in the betting. If all is well with him, he really ought to win.

If he lines up, he's a class act and a better horse than Mengli Khan. Simple as that. Blazer might be worth an interest too, as he didn't run too badly on Tuesday.

Elsewhere on the card we are treated to arguably one of the toughest Grade B handicaps of the season. Canardier topped the betting for Willie Mullins last night at [6.4], and the trainer has an outstanding chance of adding to this week's impressive tally as he has just the seven representatives.

I am quite tempted to go again with his mare Great White Shark - who was pretty unlucky in the big amateur riders' handicap on Monday. She likes to come from off the pace, but like so many hard luck stories at the track, can either wait on the inside for a non-existent gap, or switch to the outside before the run for home. When the latter happens, you can lose a lot of lengths purely with how tight that final corner is.

Great White Shark was running on, so she'll have a bit more time to get involved over the 2m7f here. She ran a personal best at Cheltenham in the Martin Pipe from 136, and from a 1lb lower mark, I'll give her another chance.

Click here for Kevin Blake's course guide to Galway

New on Betting.Betfair – Betslip

You can now bet without leaving Betting.Betfair with our brand new on-site betslip for Exchange markets. You'll see the Exchange back and lay prices at the end of articles - simply login and place your bets as you would do on the main Exchange site

Get a Free £/€20 Exchange Bet

  • Join Now - Open your account today using promo code VAL225
  • Bet - Place a £/€20 Bet on the Exchange
  • Earn - £/€20 Back in cash if your bet loses
Bet Now

T&Cs apply.

Alan Dudman,

Read past articles