Henry De Bromhead
6.40 Galway Monday Connacht Hotel (QR) Handicap
It is now over two years since this gelding last won a race and he has been somewhat frustrating to follow in the interim, but as an each-way proposition he represents a realistic option in the opening night feature.
His only run this year came in a two-mile handicap at Killarney last week when he had to settle for sixth behind stablemate Harry’s Legacy.
However, he was beaten by less than a length and a half there having looked sure to play a leading role for much of the straight and he should be all the better for that outing which was his first since October.
It is also worth considering his last two appearances on the flat at Galway which yielded a fine third to Princess Zoe in the premier mile-and-a-half handicap on the Friday evening and last year he ran an excellent fifth to Coltor in this race after completely blowing the start. Meanwhile, another good premier handicap run was his very creditable fifth (of 30) to Line Out in the Cesarewitch at the Curragh last October.
His various efforts at premier handicap level coupled with his previous form in quality handicaps at this track make him a lively contender and he can reward each-way support.
6.40 Galway Tuesday Colm Quinn BMW Mile Handicap
Adrian McGuinness has dominated the last few runnings of this race and the trainer looks poised to field another powerful team in his quest to secure this prize for the fourth year in succession.
Of the various McGuinness inmates that appeal Casanova is the one that stands out on a variety of fronts with his form this season bearing the closest inspection.
Back in March he ran a fine fourth in the Irish Lincoln and last time out he finished a splendid second to Jungle Cove in the Nasrullah Handicap.
The only time he finished out of the frame this year was when he was beaten just over two lengths into seventh by Celtic Crown in the Emerald Mile Handicap at the Curragh on Guineas Weekend.
All this points to his capacity to land a premier handicap and it is worth noting that he has winning course and distance form from last autumn while he was also good enough to compete with credit at listed and group level last autumn.
6.40 Galway Wednesday Tote Galway Plate (Grade A)
This gelding hasn’t run since November and has relative inexperience to overcome for his first handicap chase assignment but these factors shouldn’t undermine enthusiasm for his prospects in Wednesday’s feature.
Firstly, his trainer Emmet Mullins boasts a formidable record at this meeting, while his ability to produce his inmates in the form of their lives for major assignments is already well established.
Secondly, Cape Gentleman is an unexposed type embarking on his second season over fences which is the sort of profile that makes considerable appeal in a Galway Plate.
The former Irish Cesarewitch winner made a bright start over fences when he defeated the useful Buddy Rich to win a beginners’ event at Punchestown in October and he then trounced the subsequent Troytown winner Run Wild Fred in a Grade 3 at Cork.
His winning sequence was then brought to an end by Riviere D’Etel in a Grade 2 at Punchestown in November but he faced an impossible task there in dropping back to two miles and attempting to give 18lbs to a mare who subsequently reached the frame in a host of Grade 1s.
His versatility in terms of trip is another notable positive as is his previous course form which comes in the form of a fine third to Saldier in last year’s Galway Hurdle.
7.15 Galway Wednesday Tote Guarantee On All Races (Q.R.) Maiden
This colt could be quite interesting wherever he turns out over the course of the week. He has just two runs to his name but has shaped with promise on both occasions and his last run would suggest that he is good enough to pick up a mile-and-a-half maiden if pointed in that direction.
This son of Highland Reel began his career at the Curragh on Derby Weekend when he finished fifth to Cougar.
Admittedly, he was beaten a dozen lengths on that occasion but he ran respectably and the form of that race has already worked out to an extent.
Monarchs Brae then went off a big price for a Curragh maiden last Sunday and he took a step forward to be beaten less than four lengths by Nusret in a race where the first three home had all previously run to a decent standard.
Possibly Monarchs Brae can be regarded as running slightly better than his final position would suggest last Sunday and it represented an encouraging effort in the context of a meeting where his trainer has done so well in the past.
5.05 Galway Thursday Guinness Galway Hurdle (Grade A)
It is 28 years since Jessica Harrington won the Galway Hurdle with Oh So Grumpy. In the intervening period she has reached the pinnacle of National Hunt racing and latterly she has done the same on the flat.
Another Galway Hurdle win would represent a neat piece of symmetry in that would mark a return to the scene of one of her major early triumphs and such an outcome is a distinct possibility if Autumn Evening puts his best foot forward next Thursday.
This gelding was quite disappointing on the flat at the Curragh a month ago but he is a much better hurdler. Also his last run over jumps at Kelso leaves him with plenty to do but that effort came at a time when his yard was going through a quiet spell.
On the other hand, his third in the Ladbrokes Hurdle at Leopardstown in February is just the sort of form that points to his potential to win a Galway Hurdle and the way he travelled through that race would boost confidence about his prospects at Ballybrit.
Earlier last season he had won a Lartigue Hurdle and a useful conditions race at Fairyhouse and he would have been closely involved in a decent Grade 3 at Naas last November only to fall at the last.
There are others in the Galway Hurdle line up that might boast more intriguing or obvious profiles but if this five-year-old puts his best foot forward a strong showing should be forthcoming.