Galway Day 1 Tips: Palace Guard to go well for O'Brien

Day One of Galway
Mullins and Ricci have big-race favourite Limini

It's Day One of the Galway Races and Tony Keenan has keyed in on the flat contests at Ballybrit where he has found a number of horses to back...

"Palace Guard was a decent performer on the all-weather early in the year but really caught the eye last time at Leopardstown, coming from rear and meeting trouble in a better race than this, not given a hard time on what was his first run in 81 days."

1 Point Back Palace Guard @ 13.012/1 or bigger in the Galway 19:05

The ground dominates conversation heading into day one of 'the Races' though it is hardly the greatest surprise Galway has produced the softest going of the summer so far; this meeting has not seen firm in the description since 2010. There seems to be tacit consent between trainers and the course executive that the ground will be 'safe' (i.e. watered if no rain arrives) for the seven days which is reasonable given both jumps and flat horses need to be catered for. How trainers of fast-ground types feel about this is another matter though they can't have lacked for opportunity over the past two months and it is not as if they were not forewarned.

Galway 18:25 - Weld can land 'his' maiden for the twenty-fifth time

Mount Tabora has the best form and by some distance but this turning track has to be a concern; he has been coming under pressure in the middle part of his races, looking a galloper that is suited by straight tracks. He doesn't entirely convince with his attitude either while soft ground is a worry being by Scat Daddy and from a family of fast ground types.

The ground is also an unknown for Third World but he showed some knee action on debut and can be expected to get much closer to Mount Tabora now; that was his first start while the O'Brien horse was having its third run. He travelled through that Curragh race better than his main market rival and can be expected to improve significantly for what has likely been his target for a while.

Galway 19:05 - Krispen and Palace Guard two to keep on side

Krispen has looked well-suited by seven furlongs with some ease thus far and there is every chance he has been let in lightly with a one pound rise for his comfortable win last time at Sligo. He dictated the pace there but sectionals suggest it wasn't a soft lead and he easily beat the well-backed Wentwood with My Silver Nails, who has won twice since and is now rated 81, in third getting weight.

A relatively low draw in stall six is a help and he can go well provided he doesn't get into a pace battle. I suggest waiting to back him however, perhaps even using Betfair SP, as he is the one of the front end of the betting that seems likely to drift given his connections.

The other one to be interested in is Palace Guard. He was a decent performer on the all-weather early in the year but really caught the eye last time at Leopardstown, coming from rear and meeting trouble in a better race than this, not given a hard time on what was his first run in 81 days. His stablemate Rapture's Delight was ahead of him that day but I would expect him to reverse form now and while this ground is a question mark, he is by Shamardal and ran ok on it in the Madrid Handicap, a race that has worked out quite well.

Galway 19:40 - Limini the star attraction but each-way alternatives abound

The participation of Limini has given not just this race but whole meeting a jolt in the arm and it is a positive for her chances that Patrick Mullins is near his minimum weight to ride; he has never won this race and in a recent Newstalk interview talked about how much he wanted to tick it off. Her backers will be taking the 'in Mullins we trust' approach but she is still sub-3.02/1 in a 20-runner handicap and hasn't run since March 2017 so it makes sense to look elsewhere.

I'm probably going to finish up backing a few each-way against her with the likes of Decision Time, Uradel, Golden Spear, Benkei and Chelkar on the shortlist. The last-named was off 603 days himself ahead of the Ascot Stakes but that didn't stop Ryan Moore picking him ahead of four other Mullins horses in the race and he shaped as well as any of them; he was keen for much of the race but still managed fourth, doing well to come from rear off a slow pace.

That form has worked out with the one-two-three in the JLT Cup coming from it and while there is a slight chance he will bounce, it was not a well-run race so he may actually improve for it. Soft ground is an unknown but plenty of his family handled it and in Richie Deegan he has one of the better jockeys in the race especially when his claim is taken into account. The problem is the market has him well-found too but a late drift would be no surprise.

So for the moment the each-way bet is Galway perennial Benkei which feels like déjà vu all over again. He is six pounds lower than when third in this race in 2016, three pounds lower than when meeting trouble last year and looks his recent efforts over hurdles suggests he is as good as ever. Ideally he would have had his prep run at Down Royal on Friday night but the ground was too quick but things have come right for him on that score here.

Galway 20:10 - Weld favourite is solid but Mulvany improver looks dangerous

The draw is often mentioned in relation to races over a seven furlongs and a mile at Galway but it is significant over further too and it is against the progressive Baba Boom here; he could get hung wide from stall 13 and in any case he looks a big, immature sort that may not take to the track. Preference is for the better-berthed Imrana who won with plenty in hand at Limerick last time, racing wide but travelling well into the straight to win going away. She is clearly rated highly having been well-backed on both her starts and the Group 3 entry suggests she is better than a mark of 86.

Another well-drawn runner Stormy Tale has her chance too. Her defeat of Burning Questions at Ballinrobe last week was a good effort while she was better than the form at Leopardstown next time, missing the break and doing well to finish so close over a trip that is too sharp. Both her run-style and breeding suggest she will stay this trip and perhaps she will be the one to provide Mick Mulvany with an elusive Galway Festival success.

2018 P+L: -22.2 points

Minimum Bet Guarantee for ALL races from Galway and Goodwood

Betfair's 'minimum bet guarantee' on all Class 1 and 2 races in the UK and Ireland - which means all customers are able to bet to win a minimum of £500 - has been extended to cover all races from Galway and Goodwood this week. T&Cs apply.

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.

Read past articles