Some huge priced winners have seen the bookies taking by far the best of the early exchanges on both sides of the Irish Sea during this twin festival week. That may be about to change.
The big race of the day is the Galway Plate (1735 BST), and this looks to have been earmarked for the very useful Balko Des Flos. He was last seen running a mighty race staying on well over 2m4f at the Punchestown festival, and trainer Henry de Bromhead will have had this in mind from the moment that race finished. That was his first handicap over fences and this trip promises to suit him ideally, the incomparable Davy Russell merely adds icing to the cake.
Davy can already do us a favour in the earlier handicap hurdle (1625) where he can steer William B to complete a hat-trick for Gordon Elliott. Somehow, Gordon got this horse seriously well handicapped, and his win over an in-form mare at Bellewstown last time smacked of more to come. Russell has donned these silks to good effect at Cheltenham in recent years and they can prove lucky again here.
Given we fancy William B, we also have to fancy the mare he beat last time, Just Janice in the preceding mares race (1550). She though is 6lbs higher for that, and although the booking of Ruby Walsh is eye-catching, it is worth noting that Davy Russell rode her to victory two runs ago, got off her in order to beat her last time on William B, and now takes the ride on Rosie Alice. He has ridden her in nearly two years, during which her form was awful until seriously eye-catching in defeat last time. Suddenly Davy is back in the saddle, it’s the Galway festival, and a horse with no form is vying for favourite – take the hint !!
Over at Goodwood they kick off with a marathon 2m4f handicap. Favourite Hawkerland comes form a good yard, but this will be a step up in trip and class after winning at lowly Chepstow last time. Star Rider won the race last year and must have a chance, but we thought October Storm was very impressive here earlier in the year. Unlucky here next time, he then was out of his depth but ran with credit at Royal Ascot, and his 7th in the all weather last time can be safely overlooked. Back at the Sussex track and with a low weight he looks super dangerous and well worth a good bet.
The following staying handicap (1425) offers up serious enticement in the form of Goldophin’s Secret Advisor. He looked unlucky in handicaps at Windsor and here before a marked step up in class and trip saw an excellent close 3rd at Ascot to Stradavarius winner of the Goodwood Cup this week. A mark of 96 seeks to capture some of that improvement, but on a line through the Ascot winner he must still have 10lbs in hand. The classy William Buick does the steering – never a bad thing.
October Storm, (1350 Goodwood), 2pts win, 12/1 Bet365, Skybet
Secret Advisor (1425 Goodwood), 1pt win, 11/2 Ladbrokes
Rosie Alice (1550 Galway), 1pt win, 6/1 Boylesports
William B (1625 Galway), 1pt win, 9/2 Skybet, Boylesports
Balko Des Flos (1735 Galway), 1pt win, 7/1 generally available
“The Davy Gravy”: Rosie Alice, William B & Balko Des Flos , 3 x 0.5pts win doubles, 0.5pt win treble (approx. 300/1)
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