Preview of day one of the Galway Races

While it may not be a Galway Racing Festival as we know it with thousands flocking to Ballybrit each day, the quality on show looks as good as ever. 

By Luke Keena (@lukekeena1)

Racing gets underway on day one with the Irish EBF Maiden over seven furlongs. While the racing atmosphere may be different to years gone by, something’s never change as Dermot Weld has an unrated two year old towards the top of the market. Duke De Sessa was well backed overnight and has the champion jockey, Colin Keane in the saddle. As a result, Anchorage has become a very appealing price drifting out from odds on overnight. Anchorage ran a very encouraging debut at Naas. He lost his position when the pace quickened and looked to be going nowhere. Once the penny dropped he ran on very well to finish a close third. The stiff seven furlongs trip will suit and I think he will be hard to beat and can hopefully get the week off to flying start.

The third race on the card is the & Handicap over seven furlongs. The one that appeals most to me here is War Hero. Most of his best form over the years has come on the all weather at Dundalk. He gained his first win on turf at Down Royal in June off a seven pound lower mark. I would put a line through his last run on turf when he ran over six furlongs, a trip on the sharp side for him. In 2019 he ran two Cracking races at the Galway Races finishing second and fourth over course and distance. He is still eight pounds lower than his all weather mark and I think he will go close at an each-way price.

The fourth race on the card is the Easyfix Handicap over one mile and a half. I like the Joseph O’Brien trained Merroir. She has been in Cracking form this season getting her head infront twice this season. I was impressed the last day as she toughed it out to beat Port Sunlight and this pair pulled clear of the third. The race was run in a fast time and I think that race could play a key role on day one of the festival with Port Sunlight running later on the card. I think Merroir will get a nice lead from No Thanks. She is a progressive filly and I think she will go very close with Dylan McMonagle in the saddle.

The feature race on day one is the Connacht Hotel Handicap for qualified riders. I like Away To Sea at a massive price. His last run was disappointing but his two previous runs on the flat were very encouraging. On his penultimate start he finished second to Chiricahua, who has since won again and has a mark of 97. One of the leading fancies for this race, Hook Head was back in third. Away To Sea is a lightly raced son of Born To Sea and I think the step up to two miles can bring out more improvement off what could be a lenient opening Handicap mark. I think he will outrun his odds of 33/1 with Maxine O’Sullivan in the saddle.

The penultimate race on the card is the Eventus Handicap over one mile and a half. I like the aforementioned Dermot Weld trained runner, Port Sunlight. He won his maiden late last season and was tried in Listed company at Navan first time out this season. He then was disappointing at Roscommon in May. He then bounced back to form to finish a close second to Merroir at Ballinrobe. He was raised three pounds for that second but the front pair pulled well clear of the third.  I Think he will enjoy the stiff finish at Galway and will go very close with Colin Keane in the saddle.

The last race on the card is the Monami Construction Maiden for Qualified riders. I like the Jessica Harrington trained runner, Anner Castle who has been weak in the market overnight. He has run three solid races this year. He was last seen finishing a close third at Killarney, he may have been closer only for missing the break and having to work hard to get into a prominent position. Prior to that he ran a very respectable race in Listed company at Navan behind some very useful horses. I think if he runs to that form he will go very close at what could be a very big price of 13/2.

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