The Galway Festival continues on Saturday and our resident expert Man On The Spot has previewed each and every race.
ONTARIO showed the benefit of his opening run when finishing first past the post at Fairyhouse only to be disqualified and placed second. Compensation awaits here though stable companion Hms Seahorse, another son of Galileo, will have come on markedly for his run at the Curragh when Snowy Owl was behind. Dermot Weld's horses have been in good form this week and Halite will have come on for his run in what looked a decent maiden at Killarney.
A poor contest for the Festival. The Coolmore-owned The Rain King couldn't match strides with Delphi at the Curragh though that was no disgrace. Crassus didn't run badly behind that winner in a Navan handicap and should find this more to his liking. Castel Gandolfo couldn't handle heavy conditions at Roscommon and is best judged on his narrow defeat at Gowran in June and should get into the frame though the vote goes to CHIMERIC. A 66/1 chance on his debut in a maiden won by Russian Emperor at Naas back in May, he belied his odds with a very good run and the form has worked out very well.
YAFORDADOE (NAP) completed a double when scoring here in October and looked in very good form when landing a maiden hurdle at Cork last week. He's on a fair mark and Andrew Slattery's claim is a bonus. Hightimeyouwon had been threatening to win for some time before landing a Naas maiden and doesn't look badly treated for his handicap debut. Mary Salome went a long way clear at Killarney but was reeled in right on the line by Raphael and will take some catching from just 1lb higher. Annexation made a successful debut for Henry De Bromhead over 7f at Gowran and made a bold bid to defy a 12lb rise when runner-up to the in-form Lady Scathach over this trip at Navan. Roving Mission has been unable to get his head in front in two runs over 1m2f on testing ground at Roscommon but retains the same mark and dropping in trip won't be a problem.
Soaring Monarch was making his handicap debut when staying on strongly behind Talking Tough over 7f here earlier this week for which he's been raised 7lb. The winner has gone up 11lb but neither will be inconvenienced by stepping up in trip and there shouldn't be much between them. Magic Chegaga has only had three starts and makes her handicap debut after a promising run over 1m2f at Leopardstown and looks on a fair mark. Next In Line had shown little in maidens before making most on her handicap debut at Gowran. She was fitted with blinkers that day and if they work again she should make a bold bid to complete a double. ZOOM ZOOM BABE led 1f out at Killarney but was caught close home by the in-form Star Of Cashel. She's up 3lb but can go one better though the progressive Call Me Rocky made most and battled on strongly at Limerick.
NO PATIENCE attempted to make all over a mile at Bellewstown and wasn't caught until the closing stages. The shorter trip can enable him to go one better though Iron Sheriff, who wasn't far behind in third, looks a major threat with that under his belt. Lightning Boltz takes a big step-up in trip after his run over 5f at Tipperary where he led to halfway but Lightning Jock was staying on over 6f at Cork and can go well for his new handler. Zozimus finished just if front in that latter contest though had the benefit of a previous run and may not confirm the form. White Pepper caught the eye at Gowran and with her allowances can get into contention.
Last year's Galway Hurdle winner Tudor City couldn't repeat that performance on Thursday but didn't run badly and it wouldn't be a shock to see him bounce back. War Diary came into the race a year ago on the back of two victories and finished fourth. He had a warm-up at Cork last month and looks certain to go well. PRINCESS ZOE, an easy winner over this trip at the Curragh last month, followed up over 2m here on Monday and though 7lb higher has the excellent Joey Sheridan's claim on her side so a hat-trick beckons. The three-year-old Memorabilis landed a Fairyhouse maiden over this trip before finding 1m6f and Group 2 company beyond him at the Curragh. This should be more to his liking while Lynwood Gold is a real staying type as he showed when scoring over 1m6f at the Curragh so a strong pace and soft ground would play to his strengths.
After riding Bua Boy to victory here on Thursday, Denis Hogan has retired from the saddle to concentrate on training. He's been having a very successful year and Wojood looked progressive when scoring at Dundalk. Allora Yeats could now be in the grip of the handicapper after last month's double but GRACE TO GRACE won here on testing ground in October. More rain would undoubtedly help but she's not badly treated and can gain her second course victory. Call Me Dolly was returning from a long break when runner-up at Limerick in June and has to be respected along with Dark Voyager, who chased home Flying Scotsman here on Monday and the winner went on to complete a double the next day and was due to run at Leopardstown yesterday.
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