Monday at Galway gave Black Key a timely form boost going into this handicap hurdle and he might simply be too good for these today in what on paper at least looks a muddling affair.
Storm Rising won the handicap hurdle on Monday off 109 and back in June of this year Black Key held too much for that rival beating him at Listowel in a maiden hurdle.
Uradel took the Amateur Derby on Monday in impressive fashion and he was only 3 lengths too good for Black Key in a maiden hurdle in June last year, again at Listowel.
Black Key’s last run at Limerick should leave him bang on for this race when he ran a big race to finish a three lengths third in a rated hurdle where the winner, One In All In (From the same yard), was considered good enough to take in the listed novice hurdle on Tuesday.
A mark of 119 doesn’t seem high when you consider that this is a horse who was thought highly enough to take on some very decent rivals last season as a novice.
He was seven lengths behind Any Second Now (Rated 142 over hurdle), was just over 5 lengths behind Montalbano (rated 140 over hurdles) and just over four lengths behind C’est Jersey (rated 142 over hurdles).
Black Key has everything going for him and get’s the brilliant Rachel Blackmore in the saddle.
Selections: Black Key 16/1, E/W.
A typically frantic renewal of the Galway Plate, with viable challengers throughout the card. Henry De Bromhead took this race last year with Balko Des Flos and I’m hopeful he could take it again in 2018 with Calino D’airy.
In the build-up to this year’s race there has been plenty of money for Slowmotion, and it’s understandable after a big run in 3rd last year behind Shaneshill and Balko Des Flos. This year it looks like they have been operating with this race in mind and a big run can be expected again with normal improvement likely. I still think that this horse is vulnerable to a genuine group class horse though, but Slowmotion should definitely give anyone a run for their money.
Patricks Park will be dangerous if he gets into the race, but I’m still happy to take him on either way. Tully Easy is another major challenger having ran well off higher marks at Leopardstown and Cheltenham this season, and whilst he is sure to run well, he is prone to an error or two and Galway will expose that.
Peregrine Run is vulnerable now the rain has arrived in Ballybrit, I don’t think De Plotting Shed is good enough and whilst Drumcliff is interesting, he has gone up through the weights for winning bad races and has been found out badly in hot company before.
Whilst the likes of Saturnas, Snow Falcon and Koshari are talented – for varying reasons I’m happy to look past each of them.
My main punt in this year’s renewal will definitely be Calino D’airy.
He is interesting when you take into effect how huge that run was at the Aintree Festival behind Finians Oscar, how well he acts around Galway (Two Novice Chase Wins) and this race looks tailormade for him – if he can prove his stamina.
I’m not overly concerned regarding his stamina as he seemed to stay well at Aintree in the finish. Of course, we won’t know for sure until he reaches those final few furlongs.
The big worry obviously is his lack of experience as he won’t have experienced anything like the hustle and bustle of a Galway Plate before. I think the experience he has gained at Ballybrit in the past will stand to him well in this regard.
Bryan Cooper takes the ride, which is a positive, as he knows the horse well having won on him around the track over these very fences last year.
Calino D’airy handles the track well which is worth about 10 pounds around Galway, jumps well in general and showed 145 may be a workable mark given how well he handled himself against a top-class horse like Finians Oscar.
Jury Duty is my idea of the biggest challenger and he will be my cover bet in the race. He has more than held his own in very hot company, this may well be his ideal trip and he has shown he is well capable in winning a big race fresh. There are plenty of positives about Gordon Elliott’s charge also.
Selections: Calino D’airy 11/1, E/W. Jury Duty 7/1, E/W.
I’ll be recycling the same old adage again here in regard to “course form at Galway” with Spiorad Saoirse.
This horse looks like he has been waiting for Galway this year since his maiden win here last year over 7 furlongs with only four sporadic runs this season.
That day last year Spiorad Saoirse had the likes of Medal of Honour, Quizical and Premier League (Won here Monday) in behind. He showed his liking for Galway and may well just be ahead of this mark of 85.
He showed he was in good form when winning well last time and whilst a draw of 14 is not ideal, he might be good enough to overcome it.
Young Ben Coen is a very promising young apprentice and claims an invaluable seven pounds today. He knows the horse well having rode him on his last four runs and I’m expecting a big run from Andy Slattery’s charge.
Selection – Spiorad Saoirse 9/1, E/W.
Odds are provided at time of writing, please check your betslip to confirm they have not changed before betting.