By Aodhán Boland
The 2019 Galway Races has finally arrived and it’s safe to say this is the highlight of the Irish racing calendar. Seven days of top class racing kicks off this evening at Ballybrit and I’ll try my best to find you some winners this week.
5.20 pm: Galwaybayhotel.com Novice Hurdle
This is a tough race to break down, French Import, Morosini finished second in a Grade 3 contest at Fairyhouse in February and won nicely at Ballinrobe in May so I’ll go for him to win the opener for JP McManus and Jessica Harrington at odds of 5/2. Authorized Art may be his biggest threat, Trainer Willie Mullins has won this race four times in the past five years so his French challenger is feared.
5.55 pm Easyfix Handicap Hurdle
My first tip in this race is to back your horse each way, most bookmakers are paying out 5 places and this is a very open contest so I would highly recommend backing each way. The favourite is Joseph O’Brien trained, Linger who has been in excellent form on the flat this season but at 3/1 I don’t see much value there so I will go for Volatile Lady at 20/1. She is a fantastic jumper and has ran very well in her last three outings so I will go for her at a tasty price.
6.25 pm Claregalwayhotel.ie Maiden
Innisfree is a massive 1/ 2 favourite for Aidan O’Brien and its clear to see why. The horse’s sire is Galileo, who is a leading stallion and father of dozens of Group 1 winners. Innisfree’s debut was highly promising, he finished second against the odd’s on favourite at Naas in July so he is a very worthy favourite. But for me, he’s unbackable at that price so I’m going to go for debutant, Hay Kimbello each way at a massive 50/1. The horse has plenty of speed in his pedigree and is trained by Denis Hogan, whose yard is in fantastic form at the moment so I’ll take a chance on him to place.
7.05 pm Claregalwayhotel.ie Handicap
Another very open race, Fancy Footings, Calling Time and Improving are all horses to note but Engles Rock looks like the way to go. She finished second behind dual Classic winner, Hermosa last year and ran well finishing second at Gowran in her last start so I’ll go for her.
7.40 pm Connaught Hotel (Q.R) Handicap
The feature race of the day, worth €120,000 and it looks like a open one. I’m a massive fan of the favourite, Mr Adjudicator. I backed him when he won a Grade 2 in France a couple of months ago but at 5/2 there is defiantly better value elsewhere. I’ll take a chance on Dalton Highway at 16/1.
Most bookmakers are paying 5 places and the form has good form for trainer Dermot Weld who is celebrating his birthday today and I fancy his challenger to give him something to celebrate.
8.10 pm Eventus Handicap
I like Ideal Pal at 8/1. He’s chasing his fourth win in a row and after seeing his performance at Ballinrobe last week, he might very well get the four timer.
8.40 pm: Monami Construction INH Flat Race
Risk Factor and Think Positive have the best form but I feel that they are too short to back and I will go for locally trained debutant, Shanwalla each way at a massive 66/1. I’m being a bit biased due to the fact that the horse is local but he has a decent pedigree. The horse’s dam (mother) is the sister of 2010 Albert Bartlett winner, Berties Dream so that’s enough for me to recommend a small bet on the local horse to close out day one of racing at Ballybrit.