Through The Card: Galway, Monday July 25
Timeform take you through the card on the opening day of the Galway Festival on Monday.
"Heartful looked a fairly useful prospect when second on her racecourse debut at Dundalk in April and the form of that race could hardly have worked out better..."
17:15 - Muthaza maintained her unbeaten record over hurdles with an emphatic victory at Bellewstown last time, leading on the bridle as the field turned into the back straight and quickly drawing six and a half lengths clear of the reopposing Buyer Beware. That form leaves her rivals with 18 lb to find on Timeform ratings here and a clear round should be enough to see Muthaza bring up the hat-trick, and establish herself as another exciting prospect for her powerful connections.
17:45 - Deputy Marshall fared better than the bare result when fourth on his most recent outing at Sligo, forced to deliver his challenge from further back than ideal and never threatening to get on terms with the better-placed winner. He showed enough that day to suggest he can take advantage of his current mark before too long, though, and looks overpriced in this second leg of the Placepot. Long Journey Home has been in good form at Kilbeggan recently and showed improved form to open his account at that venue last time. He has a 5 lb hike in the weights to contend with here, but remains one to keep onside in his current mood and also has to enter calculations with the Placepot in mind.
18:15 - Right Honourable produced a fairly useful level of form when third on his racecourse debut at Leopardstown recently and would arguably have won but for suffering a troubled passage in the closing stages. That shouldn't detract from what has to go down as a most encouraging start to his career and - entitled to improve with that initial experience under his belt - Right Honourable is expected to open his account with a defeat of Courage Under Fire in this third leg of the Placepot.
18:50 - Heartful looked a fairly useful prospect when second on her racecourse debut at Dundalk in April and the form of that race could hardly have worked out better, with the winner since landing the Group 1 Irish Oaks at the Curragh. Heartful has failed to reproduce that level of form in two subsequent outings, but she wasn't disgraced when third at the Curragh last time and doesn't look too harshly treated with an opening mark of 79. She can make a successful handicap debut in blinkers for the first time here and is joined in the Placepot by Blairmayne, who has been in fine form since reverting back to turf last month and is entitled to be thereabouts off a mark just 3 lb higher than when second last time.
19:20 - Benkei produced a career-best when second in a listed race at Down Royal on Friday, sticking to his task well when headed and forcing the smart winner to pull out all the stops in the closing stages. He was ultimately beaten a little over a length by the Irish Derby third and - although he was seen to better effect than most given how the race developed - it could be dangerous to dismiss that effort as a fluke. Indeed, a repeat of that form would leave his rivals with 2 lb to find on Timeform ratings here and, with jockey Jamie Codd a terrific booking for a race of this nature, Benkei is taken to defy a mark just 5 lb higher than when successful at Bellewstown last month.
19:50 - My Fantasea shaped as if this longer trip would be well within his range when shedding his maiden tag at Dundalk last time, showing a tenacious attitude to hold off the sustained challenge of the runner-up and appearing to have more in hand than the official winning margin suggests. He is likely to prove far better than an opening mark of 82 and, with the edge over Motherland on Timeform ratings, he can consolidate that view with a big run in this final leg of the Placepot. Restive showed improved form when stepped up to a trip in excess of 1¼m for the first time at Navan last month and, with the possibility of more to come in blinkers for the first time, he is also considered for Placepot purposes.
20:20 - Robin des Foret failed to meet market expectations when fourth on his racecourse debut at Wexford earlier this month, but actually shaped better than the bare result on that occasion and possibly paid the price for making a big move into contention as the field entered the final four furlongs. He should prove capable of better with that initial outing under his belt and is expected to make amends with victory here.
Back Heartful in the 18:50 at Galway
Back Benkei in the 19:20 at Galway
17:15 - 5
17:45 - 7, 8
18:15 - 9
18:50 - 4, 6
19:20 - 2
19:50 - 5, 6