Teaplanter looks at the handicap chase on the Friday evening card at Galway and has two selections at 10/1 with Paddy Power.
Galway 6:15 - Guinness Galway Blazers Handicap Chase
This looks a very competitive handicap chase, but we have picked two against the field that look to have excellent chances provided the rain stays away and the ground remains good.
Me an Ben is a talented mare, but she has not always shown her best form over the past 12 months through a combination of some poor jumping on some occasions and the fact that the Fergal O'Brien yard has been in and out of form during this period. However when she is at her best she is a talented mare, as she showed when winning a very competitive mares' handicap chase at Cheltenham's April meeting off a mark of 108. She was disappointing at Market Rasen after this, but bounced right back to her best at Perth, when winning easily over a furlong shorter than this distance, off a mark of 112.
She has been raised 8lb for that effort but Conor Shoemark is a very effective 5lb claimer and he takes her weight in this contest down to 10-4. While the fences coming quickly together just before the straight could be problematic, she has never actually fallen and if she can jump around Cheltenham, she should have no problem around here. She is a mare that promises to stay 3 miles and the stiff finish here over 2m6f should bring her stamina into play.
Off such a light weight, she makes plenty of appeal at 10/1 with Paddy Power.
Usual Smurfer is a second selection in this race as despite the fact that he has been raised a further 2lb in the handicap for his 3rd place finish at Killarney, that was a very good effort on ground that was far from ideal for him and he could still be a little bit ahead of the handicapper. He was impressive when winning on good/yielding ground at Fairyhouse in April off a mark of 122 and he could easily have defied the rise to a mark of 132 at Killarney if the rain had not fallen ahead of that contest in May. He was never travelling on the softer conditions that day, but stuck to his task very gamely and on better ground he should be able to carry Danny Mullins into the race and if the weight does not tell, they look to have a sound chance of at least a place. He could find the concession of 19lb (including the Shoemark) to Me and Ben too much, but he is worth including as a second bet in this race at the prices.