Timeform's Joe Rendall gives two previews in one for the Galway Festival, recommending bets in the Hurdle and Plate...
"It’s another flag bearer for those famous green-and-gold hoops who catches the eye this time around in the shape of Rum And Butter..."
You wouldn't normally associate the Galway Festival with fashion, though you can see it in the contrasting recent fortunes of the meeting's two feature races. The old-timers of the Galway Plate are these days kept out of the spotlight by the sexy young things that contest the Galway Hurdle.
Betting knows no fashion- indeed if you're after value it's often hip to be square- and in that regard the Plate actually provides us with better options.Last year's race saw a JP McManus one-two-three after the late scratching of another McManus charge Like Your Style (it's fair to say we didn't) allowed the heavily-backed Carlingford Lough to land a good ol' fashioned gamble, despite some edgy moments at his fences.
It's another flag bearer for those famous green-and-gold hoops who catches the eye this time around in the shape of Rum And Butter. Like Carlingford Lough he's a novice. Unlike Carlingford Lough he hasn't been held back a year, more assured jumping taking Rum And Butter to a perfect three-from-three record over fences so far. Rum And Butter was particularly impressive at Market Rasen last time, again impressive in his jumping and going through the gears smoothly to win with any amount in hand. Providing he takes his chance there's a distinct possibility he'll have the services of AP McCoy, fresh from another record-breaking feat, and if that's the case he and AP will go off a good deal shorter than his current price of around 17.5.
An interesting one at a slightly longer price is Klepht, who shaped as if he needed the run at Wexford at the beginning of the month and wasn't seen to best effect at Killarney last time when he conceded first run to the other principals. It's possible he doesn't retain all of his old zest, which was enough to deliver him a win at the Punchestown Festival in 2013, but sometimes experience can be an overlooked asset in these big-field handicap chases and at around 26.025/1 he looks decent each-way value.
The market for the Galway Hurdle has an altogether different feel with impressive Royal Ascot winner Pique Sous a clear favourite at around 5/1. That looks far too short for what is traditionally a wide-open contest and one to keep firmly on side at a bigger price is Takeyourcapoff. He's won two of his three starts over hurdles for Gordon Elliott and he was value for a good deal further than the winning distance of four-and-a-half lengths at Roscommon on the second occasion. A subsequent run on the Flat (third at Bellewstown) was perfectly acceptable and the main downside with Takeyourcapoff could actually be the fact he's not guaranteed to get a run. If he does- and it's more likely than not with only a handful needing to come out- a price of 26.025/1 would look very big for a horse who is in the form of his life at present.
The other to take a chance on is Gabrial The Great, who was an expensive purchase from the Flat and has won three of his four starts over timber for Donald McCain. Although the extent of his achievements is not the easiest to assess given those three victories have all come in small-field novice events, his win at Market Rasen in June came after he all but bolted at the beginning of the final circuit and the fact he won so easily even so suggests that he is a horse of considerable ability. The likelihood of a strong pace may go some way to allaying Gabrial The Great's tendency to pull in the early stages over hurdles (he has no such trouble on the level) and providing he's far enough in his development as a hurdler it seems fairly certain he'll prove well-handicapped either sooner or later. A price of 15.5 is a good one for it to be the former.
Back Rum And Butter & Klepht in the Galway Plate
Back Takeyourcapoff & Gabrial The Great in the Galway Hurdle