Dermot Weld has had success every day of the Galway Festival so far, but his Silver Concorde does not appeal as a worthy bet in the opening maiden hurdle (3.00). He should be in a different league to his opposition here but the sloppiness of his jumping has not convinced and at 2/5 the call has to be to look elsewhere.
In the Tote E.B.F. Mares Handicap Hurdle (3.35) Elusive Ivy, a course and distance winner last year, makes appeal a plenty following victory in a similar contest at the Punchestown Festival, after which she’s had a sharpener on the flat in a good contest at Leopardstown. She’s been fairly treated by the handicapper and makes appeal for Gavin Cromwell, busy looking after Jer’s Girl through the summer.
In the Thetote.com Handicap Hurdle (4.10) Cromwell has another strong chance for J B Kane with the hardy 4 year old Plain Talking, a hardy 4 year old who rallied in style to take his first handicap win at Killarney. He’s gone up 6lbs for that but Kane’s 7lbs claim negates that and the ground is in his favour too.
The ‘A Shins’ have made a big mark over Europe, with A Shin Hikari leading the charge in incredible fashion and the Hirai’s will partake in some Guinness sinking if A Shin Kildare builds on a decent debut to take the Tote (Q.R.) Maiden (4.45). A good third at the Curragh on debut, the son of Kitten’s joy was ahead of The Major General there and a repeat of that effort or an improvement upon it would set a stiff task for the Harringtons’ Easy Pass.
Few would have imagined that Road To Riches would be finishing third in a Gold Cup after he won the Galway Plate (5.30) two years ago but progress he did and now he holds fine claims of winning it for a second time. Last seen when taking a horrific fall at the second-last when travelling well in the Punchestown Gold Cup, he ought to go well if over that and a 13lbs higher handicap rating since is fair given what he’s achieved and the only worry is yielding ground although it’s better now than what he would be running on in the winter. Junction Fourteen is 3-4 chasing and has to be feared for Emma Lavelle whilst Clarcam is one of many from Gigginstown that also needs respecting, but an interesting one is Killer Crow. He looked set to progress when second in two good handicap chases before Gordon Elliot sent him for the Irish Grand National. He was going well there before his stamina gave out and he was probably bought back too soon to run in the Topham (burst blood vessel) and then at the Punchestown Festival. He’ll have been freshened up for this and has retained a similar mark to the one that saw him finish second to Cheltenham festival winner Empire of Dirt.
Little makes appeal in the handicap afterwards (6.05) but in its sort of sister contest (6.40) a flood of withdrawals have made life far easier for Tony The Gent, likely still improving after three runs, the last of which came behind a non-runner on his handicapping debut. In the lucky last, many people will be keen on Dermot Weld’s New Cross but he was behind Bromance, who’s better drawn to boot, and the presence of four year old Kaityamann, a well bred gelding who was an excellent second on his Firehouse bow, complicates matters.
1 pt each/way Elusive Ivy, 3.35 Galway (10/1 general)
1 pt each/way Plain Talking, 4.10 Galway (10/1 general)
1 pt win Road to Riches, 5.30 Galway, (9/2 general)
1 pt each/way Killer Crow, 5.30 Galway (16/1 general)
2 pt win Tony The Gent, 6.40 Galway (5/2 general) – NAP