Horse Racing

Galway Monday 26th July

Monday 26th July 16:40

WhichBookie racing analyst Will Smith provides a preview and selections for day one of the Galway Festival on Monday 26th July

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Bookie Selection Best Odds Market Bet
Sir Sedric 17/2 each-way
Galway 16.40
Place Bet
Rave N Contagion 25/1 each-way
Galway 16.40
Place Bet
High Altitude 12/1 each-way
Galway 17.15
Place Bet
Mandarin 12/1 each-way
Galway 17.45
Place Bet

Date of Tips: 26/07/2021

Disclaimer The odds for these selections were correct at the time of publishing (08:07 26/07/2021) but may have changed since. Please check the latest price before placing your bet.

Having had a few weeks off, there is no more interesting week of racing to come back to than the Galway/Goodwood week. Seven days at Ballybrit combined with five on the Sussex downs, and you have a perfect storm of intrigue, diverse racing and punting interest.

Cracking straight on to day one at Galway, and there are three 7f races to usher in the meeting. A maiden followed by two competitive handicaps at 4.40 and 5.15.

The 7f trip at Galway is heavily draw dependant, as evidenced by the fact that in the last 10 years, of the 20 winners of those two 7f handicaps, only two have come from a double figure draw. Amazingly, 15 of those 20 winners also came from stall 6 or lower. High draws can often run well, and you may regularly see horses flying late and wide up the punishing climb to the finish, but for win purposes it is, without doubt, sensible to concentrate on low draws.

So, with that in mind, the each-way selection in the Claytonhotelgalway.ie Handicap at 4.40 has to be the unexposed improving Sir Sedric, who at 17/2 with SkyBet, who offer five places, is a winner waiting to happen. From stall 5, Joey Sheridan can hopefully bounce out and secure a prominent sit throughout, safe in the knowledge he’s on a horse with two solid handicap runs under his belt at Limerick and Dundalk, and also will handle any (likely) softening of the ground based on his two-year-old form.

I am also mindful not to let Rave N Contagion go unbacked at 25/1 each-way with Betfair Sportsbook (offering five places too) in the 4.40 also, despite being lumbered with a tricky draw in stall 13. His trainer Michael Mulvany has won two of the last three runnings of this three-year-old handicap, and often targets the meeting.

Rave N Contagion has been mightily unlucky on all three handicap starts this summer, and as a result the layers have significantly overlooked him at 25/1. He has two-year-old form that ties in well with plenty of 90+ rated performers, and the tongue-tie goes on for the first time today. And like Sir Sedric, he is proven in soft ground, should the well-watered Galway turf be hit by the predicted heavy showers.

Moving on to the 5.15 – the Galwaybayhotel.com & Galmonthotel.com Handicap, and it is High Altitude from stall 2 that is the overpriced horse in the race at 12/1 each-way with SkyBet (again offering five places.)

A classy performer on his day, High Altitude rattled off a hat-trick in 2019, and then improved again last season when winning under Dylan Browne McMonagle at Killarney. Having had five starts this season, he showed that the fire still burns at Killarney last time.

So, with McMonagle taking over in the saddle for the first time this season, High Altitude is well-handicapped and well-drawn to record his first Galway success on his fifth visit. Despite just one placing from those previous four starts here, he has shown more than enough in better events than this, to suggest he handles the track well.

The Easyfix Handicap at 5.45, run over 1m4½f, will be many people’s idea of the first Willie Mullins-trained winner of the week, in the shape of the undoubtedly well-treated Mr Coldstone. He makes no appeal at a general 2/1 however.

A horse who appears much more temptingly priced is the Joseph O’Brien-trained Mandarin, at 12/1 each-way with Paddy Power, who offer five places. Once rated as high as 93 in 2019, when trained by Ian Williams, a lean patch since has seen his mark drop like a stone to 73.

But there was conspicuous promise in his first start for Joseph O’Brien at Fairyhouse 19 days ago, against a much classier type of rival than he meets today. The hood that was introduced that day is retained, and given he is proven at the trip, and also on softer ground, Mandarin has all the hallmarks of a horse likely to run up a sequence for O’Brien.

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