Our horse racing expert Andy Holding has two tips for today's action, including a NAP at Galway.
SOARING MONARCH (NAP) (best price 10-3) had been prepared especially for the Colm Quinn Mile here on the second day of the meeting, but unfortunately for connections, stall 21 was enough to make them rethink and with the decision made to bypass Tuesday’s valuable prize and come here instead, hopefully that change of tack can reap maximum rewards.
Agonisingly runner-up twice here at last year’s meeting, once from an impossible draw, it’s pretty clear Peter Fahey’s gelding has been saved specifically with a view to coming back for another crack, a point backed up by the fact he’s only had three races in the intervening period. Indeed, the four-year-old has only been seen once so far this season, which resulted in a victory at Roscommon, and with his performance at the Lenebane track backed up by a very impressive time figure for the grade, he arrives here right on top of his game. Nicely drawn in stall 7 and with conditions to suit, the son of Free Eagle is unlikely to let his supporters down with anything like a clear run.
It’s been a memorable week for local handler Paul Gilligan and there’s chance the Athenry-based trainer can sign off with his third winner at the festival with VARNA GOLD (best price 6-1) in the concluding handicap.
Although a winner over hurdles, the son of Shooting To Win has yet to score on the Flat, but he did go close to shedding the maiden tag at Bellewstown two starts ago, when keeping on well in the closing stages to chase home the in-form Fallen Forest. Sporting the first-time visor at the Co Meath venue, it’s interesting that connections decided to dispense with the headgear when he raced over hurdles here the other night, but it didn’t make too much different either way as he ran just as well in a 20-strong handicap. Hampered at several crucial stages rounding the home turn, the four-year-old finished with a degree of purpose to finish a never-nearer third and although that effort has to go down as an extremely unlucky one, at least it proved his suitability to the demands of Ballybrit. Ideally, he could have done with a better draw, but it’s been a week where literally anything can win from anywhere, so it’s probably best to concentrate of his form claims, of which, his seem to be as good as anything else in the field.