WhichBookie racing analyst Will Smith provides a preview and an ante-post each-way selection for the Middle Park Stakes at Newmarket on Saturday 25th September.
Date of Tips: 27/07/2021
Disclaimer The odds for these selections were correct at the time of publishing (09:16 27/07/2021) but may have changed since. Please check the latest price before placing your bet.
Classic Galway fare yesterday, with many races being dictated by horses either well drawn, horses that broke well and steadied in front, or by horses that received brilliant tactical rides.
Despite looking like all the ducks had aligned for a couple of my selections, things just didn’t quite pan out as planned for varying reasons. It is a track that when it goes right, it can look so simple, but equally when things start to unravel during the race, it must feel like a real devil to ride.
With that in mind, I have kept today’s Galway bets streamlined to hopefully fit these relevant criteria. The first of which comes in the feature race at Ballybrit – Colm Quinn BMW Mile Handicap at 6.15, run predictably over the mile trip.
It is last year’s dual Galway Festival runner-up Njord, who at 9/2 each-way with Paddy Power really can’t be knocked out of the frame, and with the safety net of six places from Paddy Power, is still just on the juicy side of value.
Second in the race last year, when a wide draw meant he had to race widest of all for much of the journey, to slip the field off the home turn, and only be pipped by the fast-finishing Salstonstall, Njord then filled the same agonising silver medal position in the Ahonaoora Handicap over 7f later in the week.
This time, Njord was slower away than ideal, met plenty of traffic problems, and still very nearly won over a trip probably shy of his optimum. Three visits to Galway previous to last year’s Festival had yielded a win, a third and a fourth, so his track affinity is unquestioned.
What is potentially questionable is the fact that he has top weight and an inflated mark of 110 to overcome. But with Scott McCullagh taking a handy 5lbs off, Njord’s subsequent improved form at the backend of last season and into this campaign; an ability to handle ground on the testing side; the aforementioned track craft; and a lovely draw in stall 4 to go forward from – and really Njord has a tick in every box imaginable.
At 9/2 each-way with Paddy Power, Njord is surely the most solid of solid plays, to go one better than last year in the Colm Quinn BMW Mile Handicap at 6.15.
The other bet of the day comes in the very last – Latin Quarter Handicap at 8.15, run over 2m½f and will be a sure test of stamina.
The Emmet Mullins-trained handicap debutant Crowns Major will be a danger to all if fancied and able to navigate a passage from stall 22, while the pick of the Willie Mullins pair has to be Maze Runner, who is a course winner over shorter and showed significantly improved form when upped to 3m over hurdles last time. Given this is his first try at this trip on the flat, there could be more to come, and he has the assistance of Shane Foley, who rode the track to a nicety yesterday.
But, a more appealing proposition from a price perspective, and perhaps also a form perspective, is the Paul Nolan-trained Coventry. At 8/1 with Paddy Power (five places), he is a great price to upstage the market leaders, on the back of his huge effort to pull miles clear with the handicap snip My Sister Sarah at Listowel three weeks ago.
That from has been highlighted as My Sister Sarah, Exchange Rate and Lynwood Gold all run very well in the big amateurs’ handicap at the track yesterday. To all intents and purposes, this should be an easier assignment in terms of quality for Coventry, and with a nice inside draw in stall 6 to go forward from, he is a great each-way bet at 8/1.
Despite having trawled through Goodwood’s day one card, and with the added complication of another thunder storm dousing the Sussex downs, I have nothing specific to go at on day one of the Glorious meeting.
Hopefully more will reveal itself on Wednesday…