Teaplanter looks at the Ladies Day card at Galway and has selections at 8/1, 15/2 and a 16/1 shot for the Guinness Galway Hurdle.
Galway 3:00 - Hasanour
These type of 1 mile handicaps around Galway are not usually the type of race that we get involved in, but the Mick Halford trained Hasanour looks to have outstanding credentials off a mark of 71.
Bizarrely, he started career in a Punchestown bumper in April won by the hugely impressive Forgotten Rules and he might return to the National Hunt code later in the year, but he looks to have plenty of potential on the flat before this and looks like a horse that has been laid out for Ballybrit. He showed limited promise in 4 for maidens as he was attaining his handicap mark, but his two runs in handicaps since then have suggested that he could be a lot better than his official rating.
He did not enjoy the clearest of runs at Leopardstown on his handicap debut over a mile, 3 weeks ago, but he stayed on very well in the straight under minimal pressure from Shane Foley, to be nearest at the finish and he was even more eye catching back at the course a week later. He was down in trip for this handicap and he was settled at the back of the field. However before the camera left him he seemed to be making steady progress, with Foley again not overly animated and when the camera came back to him at the line, he had progressed into 7th place with his jockey already standing up in the stirrups.
He has actually been dropped 1lb for that run, which is quite amazing and with the step back up in trip a major positive, as is the number 1 stall, he looks sure to take a lot of beating if he can enjoy a clear passage through the race and the 8/1 is very appealing, even if was a little bigger earlier this morning.
Galway 3:40 - Ballybacka Queen
We are not quite convinced that Tested is the quite the good thing that the market suggests here, but she has to be greatly respected on the basis of her record of 3 wins from 4 starts and was quite impressive last time over this trip at Naas. The rain that fell yesterday will not do her chances any harm and the word from Rosewell House seems to be very bullish.
Rather than try and take her on, we have looked for value in the without the favourite market and despite a couple of seemingly below par runs, Ballybacka Queen looks to have a decent chance in this contest. After a very encouraging seasonal return over a mile at Leopardstown in May, she ran a very average race on unsuitably soft ground in the Irish 1000 Guineas, when she was the subject of quite a lot of each way support. However she ran much better last time in the Irish Oaks, despite finishing 9th of 10 runners. She travelled well through the race and was still going reasonably well with a couple of furlongs to go. However she could not go with the leaders and this was a combination of being outclassed and not getting this 1.5 mile trip.
She is dropped considerably in grade for this Listed Contest and the last time she ran at this level she was an excellent second to Avenue Gabriel at the Curragh. She was also a very good second to the high class Tarfasha at this meeting last year over this trip and while it is possible that a mile is her best trip, she should be staying on well up the hill and can prove hard to keep out of the places.
A high draw is problematic but hopefully Fran Berry can get her settled in behind the leaders without having to trap too wide all the way round. There could be plenty of pace up front as they try and test the favourite and Ballybacka Queen could be finishing stronger than most of these fillies and mares.
Galway 4:55 - Pearl Castle
Bayan has been very popular for this contest, and especially so after the unfortunate injury sustained by Pearl Castle and he will take a lot of beating after a very solid staying performance over 14 furlongs on the flat at Leopardstown 3 weeks ago. He looked a little rusty in that race and had to be ridden along from some way, but he stayed on strongly to the line and that will have put him spot on for this assignment. He looks very reasonable value at 7/1 with Bet365, who are paying 5 places each way.
However we are going to look a little further down the market for our selection and that is the John Quinn trained Pearl Castle at 16/1 with Coral. He is bidding to be the first 4 year old to win this race since Perugino Diamond in 2000, but he looks to have very sound credentials off a feather weight of 10-1.
He was a useful flat performer as a 3 year old for Andrew Balding before being bought by John Quinn at Tattersalls last October for 28,000 gns. This has proved to be a great purchase, as after being beaten on his first start over hurdles, he won his next two and then ran a very solid race when 7th behind Tiger Roll in the Triumph Hurdle.
He showed that he can operate effectively going right handed when he was 5th to Abbyssial in the Champion 4 year old hurdle at Punchestown and he stayed on nicely in the straight after being tapped for a little bit of pace as they turned into the straight. In that contest he finished of the 143 rated Guitar Pete in 6th, 147 rated Tiger Roll in 7th and the 143 rated Kentucky Hyden in 8th. While form at the end of the season cannot always be relied on, this certainly suggests that he is well handicapped off a mark of 136 and with the weight for age allowance, he gets in here off almost bottom weight.
He has continued to improve on the flat this summer, winning off 86 at York and then running a very good race off 92 in a hot handicap last time, again at the Knavesmire. There is a little concern that he will want further than trip as his hurdling career continues and he is jumping these Easyfix hurdles for the first time, but he is open to plenty of improvement over obstacles and off this very low weight he looks very decent value at 16/1.