Alan Dudman scored with his advised 11/112.0 winner Great White Shark yesterday, whilst his other selection Bay Hill ran well in the Blazers. Our man for Ballybrit has three bets for Saturday...
"Her most taking piece of form was a real standout last winter when landing the October Handicap by a good margin."
It was lovely for Great White Shark to get her head in front yesterday, but what a grand servant the grey Bay Hill is. If ever a race captured the essence of Galway; it was the Blazers on Friday. But where an earth did Cusp Of Carabelli come from? The fact nobody knew he was there until there camera switch explains the 13/27.6 low for a horse that wasn't beaten far at all.
Trade the front-runner, and back Martin's Melburnian
One horse I am very sweet on for Saturday goes in the best race on the card as we revert to an all Flat day. It's not quite Galway as we know it, but I think the separate days for the codes have worked quite well.
Even Tudor City is back for a bit more glory in the Premier Handicap at 17:15.
As admirable as he is, I like his fellow Tony Martin inmate Melburnian. She's a really interesting runner at a decent price and was a 9/1 chance on the Sportsbook last night.
Her most taking piece of form was a real standout last winter when landing the October Handicap by a good margin. I watched the replay again last night and she absolutely toyed with Halimi in that to win going away. Halimi is the top weight for this from 98 and races off 10st, and he's a hard horse to win with.
Not so the 5yo mare, who scooted away in heavy conditions at Leopardstown to win that valuable prize by nearly three lengths. She does seem to stay well, but she travelled with ease too when she was switched five wide off the turn.
Her latest comeback run was in the Cork Derby and she wasn't really asked a serious question, as she may well have needed that and will be spot on for this.
Drawn in five could throw up the possibility of getting hemmed in, but Galway can be maddening at times and we have to accept there will be trouble in running. It's not easy with this going off with Goodwood too, as there have been a lots of those on the Sussex Downs.
If we can get around 13/114.0, she looks Win and Place material.
I was drawn initially to Johnny Murtagh's Pearl Warrior, who is a real tough nut to crack from the front. He's got a good draw for those tactics in 4, and he can press on with attacking in the field. He should be a good trade too if we can start with 7/18.0 and lay off some.
He's a very versatile horse in terms of ground and tends to find a fair bit in a battle at the end of the race. Last time he ran off 88 in the Cork Derby and he needs something close to a personal best, but Murtagh's horses are good around here as they seem to get positive rides.
Two more to consider away from Premier Handicap
The maiden at 16:45 might not be everyone's cup of tea, but there's a bit to go on with most of the field bar two - and I thought Kevin Prendergast's Iron Sheriff ran well on his debut at Bellewstown.
He was a big price that day with a BSP of 26.0, but he overcome a tardy start and inexperience to run on really strongly at the end - which bodes well for taking to Galway.
A price of around 4/15.0 could be interesting as he seemed to be learning on the job in that run. The winner has since finished second and looks a stayer, so there are a few reasons to be positive about Iron Sheriff's chances for his veteran handler. The ground at Bellestown for his first run was probably a touch quicker than the official going description of yielding. A drop back in trip with the stiffer finish could play to his strengths.
Sirjack needs a bit of luck
If ever there was a horse made for Galway it's Sirjack Thomas - meeting trouble and him go hand in hand. He's already had a couple of hard-luck stories this season and he deserves a change in fortunes in the 15:45.
Nothing went his way at Leopardstown last time, so I expect a bit of drama again in this from his inside draw in 6.
However, his trainer and owners are well in credit with that terrific performance of the grand Saltonstall earlier in the week, and Sir Jack Thomas could follow a similar passage ie: wait on the inside then switch for a bit of racing room and hope for the best.
He's well treated from 81 considering he finished second at Bellestown in a 0-90 from 82. But I also like the angle of the near-9f with him as he does run on late, and Gavin Ryan also takes off 5lb.
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Back Sirjack Thomas @ 11/112.0 in the 15:45 at Galway
Back Iron Sheriff @ 4/14.9 in the 16:45 at Galway
Back Melburnian @ BSP Win and Place in the 17:15 at Galway