Sunday, 6 August 2017

Galway Festival 2017: Who impressed, and who could be heading for Cheltenham?

Embed from Getty Images
The Galway Festival is one of Ireland’s leading fixtures, boasting some of the countries’ best horses both on the flat and the jumps, but what stars could be heading to the 2018 Cheltenham Festival.

With Willie Mullins and Gordon Elliott both enjoying six winners at last year’s Festival, and the Gold Cup heading to Jessica Harrington’s yard, Galway may have a few Cheltenham pointers.

Embed from Getty Images True Self (Won a Mares Flat Race on Saturday)
Willie Mullins has a brilliant record with his bumper horses, and this four-year-old made an exceptional introduction to the master of County Carlow.

Previously finishing second at Warwick, she easily defeated a good field to win by eight lengths, and her big margin win could’ve been extended. Her Galway test wasn’t the hardest, and she will have to prove herself; but wherever she goes after the manner in which she won the race.

Embed from Getty Images
Balko Des Flos (Won the Galway Plate on Wednesday)
The Galway Plate is one of the most prestigious prizes in Irish sport, and it was good to see it go to a horse who has always gone close without winning in big races.

He fell when fancied in the JLT Novices’ Chase this season, but Henry De Bromhead’s seven-year-old was excellent in winning the handicap. Beating Shaneshill by almost five lengths, shows his true class and he will certainly be a good horse to follow next year.

Embed from Getty Images
Housesofparliament (Won a novice hurdle on Tuesday)
JP McManus and Joseph O’Brien must be picturing some big days ahead with this four-year-old, after he finally got the hang of jumping. Formerly with father Aiden O’Brien, he enjoyed a terrific record on the flat. He was a winner at Group Three level, and finished third in the St Leger.

He’s had some tough days over hurdles, when second to Willie Mullins’ Meri Devie in a maiden contest and out of his depth in a Grade One event; but this time he was given a winning opportunity 
and grasped it well.

Although he didn’t win by a big margin, his first victory will give him his confidence for the rest of the season. He could be a real star.

Embed from Getty Images
Airlie Beach (Third in Guinness Galway Hurdle Handicap on Thursday)
Another for Willie Mullins who caught the eye is Airlie Beach, who was beaten five-and-a-half lengths in what looked a competitive handicap.

She came to Cheltenham last season with a string of 1’s to her name, but despite her strong market support she could only defeat two rivals in the Mares Novices’ Hurdle.

She’s run okay in top level mares event since, before boasting two good efforts in handicap company. She is improving, and would’ve gone closer had she jumped better; her trainer Willie Mullins will win a few good handicap prizes with her.

Embed from Getty Images
Le Richebourg (Won a novice hurdle on Monday)
Another for Joseph O’Brien who caught the eye was Le Richebourg, who does look like a very good novice hurdler. His bumper form was boosted when Debuchet, who he finished second to in a race at Leopardstown, went on to land the Champion Bumper this season.

He’s currently unbeaten over hurdles, winning impressively in races at Killarney and at this week’s Galway Festival. His wide margin win was both impressive and professional, he’s a top hurdler and Cheltenham will certainly be on his agenda.

No comments:

Post a Comment