Tony Keenan is back from a few weeks away and has been through the final card of the Galway Festival to find the best bets...
"Early market moves suggest the well-bred Mounira has been kept back to give Dermot Weld another Galway win but Nonetheless should at least give her a race and in any case the John Oxx filly looks well clear of the rest. She improved for the better ground and step up in trip last time when third in a strong Curragh maiden against colts (the winner had been placed at Royal Ascot previously) and this stiffer track should suit."
While on honeymoon in the States for most of the past three weeks, I read Adam Kucharski's 'The Perfect Bet', a book that tells of how maths has come to play a major role in modern betting. Holidaying amidst regular Have A Nice Days (the phrase, not the horse), the thing I took from it was an anecdote about Alan Turing's distrust of American politeness that comes at you 'like a ball against a wall' rather than with sincerity. Racegoers expecting the same automatic civility from Ballybrit bar staff this afternoon might find themselves disappointed; a week is a long time in Galway, not least during Race Week!
Galway 15:20 - Concentrate on UK runners over sprint trips
UK-based horses have an excellent record in Irish sprint handicaps, defined as races between five and seven furlongs; since the start of 2014, their runners are 13/87 (14.9%) with a level-stakes profit of 43.75 points and an actual over expected of 1.33. Baraweez has played his part in those numbers, winning the Ahonoora the last two years, and he's a player again this time round over the trip that suits him best.
The draw has not been kind however and preference is for the same stable's Stipulate who is berthed in stall three. Once rated 110, he has back class and ran well when fourth in what is often the key trial, the Galway Mile on Tuesday. The drop in trip should be ideal and drying ground will suit too and while he has been temperamental in the past, a recent wind operation may have straightened him out.
Other English raiders like Dream Walker have chances but Pintura is the second play at the prices. He possesses a fine record at the track (course:215202) and is on a competitive mark. His last run looks poor but he met plenty of trouble and is overpriced as a result.
Galway 16:30 - Potts pair hold the key
Devils Bride is the worthy favourite but the market has him short enough and the ones chasing him up are opposable; Mr Fiftyone looks badly handicapped while Mountain King has plenty to prove on his first start for Gordon Elliott. Dutching the Alan Potts-owned duo against them makes sense.
Bally Longford won this race in 2015 and is two from two at the Festival; the form of last year's renewal is decent and he looked to be in need of his seasonal bow at Wexford. Cavite Beta has had his problems but he's already returned successfully from injury once and there was plenty to like in his strong-travelling sixth at Killarney last time. Another course winner, that run should leave him spot on for this.
Galway 17:00 - Soul to supply a local winner
The Weld and Martin runners dominate the betting for the final flat race of the meeting but Tracey Collins is well able to ready one off a break, especially one like All Body And Soul that is locally owned by Herb Stanley. The four-year-old improved markedly for a step up in trip early this year, well-backed in winning twice, and the second of those wins stands out as he did well to beat Abraham (second in the premier handicap here on Friday) despite the slow pace being against him. The step up in trip should be ideal and it would be no surprise if he proves the best of these in time.
Galway 17:30 - Oxx runner can be best of the rest
Early market moves suggest the well-bred Mounira has been kept back to give Dermot Weld another Galway win but Nonetheless should at least give her a race and in any case the John Oxx filly looks well clear of the rest. She improved for the better ground and step up in trip last time when third in a strong Curragh maiden against colts (the winner had been placed at Royal Ascot previously) and this stiffer track should suit. I'm going to be with her in all markets, especially without the favourite, but will suggest backing her to place here.
1 Point Back Stipulate @ [9.4] or bigger in the Galway 15:20
0.5 Point Back Pintura @ [26.0] or bigger in the Galway 15:20
1 Point Back Bally Longford @ [10.0] or bigger in the Galway 16:30
0.5 Point Back Cavite Beta @ [17.0] or bigger in the Galway 16:30
1 Point Back All Body And Soul @ [11.0] or bigger in the Galway 17:00
2 Points Place Back Nonetheless @ [2.4] or bigger in the Galway 17:30
Flat Season P+L: +8.6 points