Andy focuses on the opening day of the Galway Festival and Windsor this evening.
The form figures for CAMLANN (NAP) (best price 7-2) hardly make pretty reading to the casual observer, but on closer inspection, Shark Hanlon’s charge has a much better chance than the bare numbers suggest. Firstly, being a horse that requires a decent surface, soft ground has all but ruled him out of being competitive in the five of his hurdle races so far to date, and secondly, he arrives here off the back of landing a competitive handicap on the Flat recently in the style of horse that is right on top of his game at present. That success at Fairyhouse 26 days ago was done so at the expense of several strongly-fancied and in-form rivals, and having run well on the level twice at last year’s festival at Ballybrit, it looks as though his shrewd connections have laid out the son of Cape Cross some way in advance for his return visit.
Given the fact a wide draw over the seven-furlong trip at the Curragh is almost impossible to overcome on fast ground recently, FLYING FAIRIES (best price 10-1) ran her face off considering she was draw 15 of the 15 runners in an ultra-competitive fillies’ handicap on Irish Derby weekend when last seen out and she looks grossly over-priced at her early double-figure odds on the evidence of that performance. Prior to that sound effort, Joseph Murphy’s inmate had lowered the colours of a strongly-fancied Dermot Weld at Fairyhouse, and with the third and fourth both going to advertise the form subsequently, her overall credentials are even more crystal clear. Moreover, she finished in front of Heartful when runner-up to Monarch in a decent maiden at Gowran Park the time before, and considering the daughter of Holy Roman Emperor is much better drawn than Dermot Weld’s charge this evening (has the coffin box on the wing in stall 15), there makes no sense why the selection should be three times the price of the favourite.
The time figure posted by SHYPEN (best price 7-1) when winning at Yarmouth two starts ago was very good for the grade and although she failed in his bid to follow up that success back at the same track next time out, the drop back to the minimum trip was the obvious excuse for the defeat. The form of that previous victory at the seaside venue couldn’t have worked out better with the third, fourth and fifth all going on to score next time out and now racing back under her optimum conditions from a favourable stands side draw, George Margarson’s inmate rates a cracking each-way bet at the early prices.
MOTHERLAND (best price 7-2) proved that he has stamina aplenty when getting off the mark at the third time of asking at Ballinrobe last time out and those qualities can be seen to good effect in this examination where the last three furlongs are all uphill. Prior to that he’d shaped with plenty of encouragement in a strongly-run maiden at Roscommon and this uncomplicated type who looks as though he just eats, sleeps and races, has every chance of providing his rookie handler with his first taste of success at Ballybrit.