Ryan Byrne/INPHO
day 1

Three value Galway bets as Mullins primed to continue superb Hurdle record

Johnny Ward makes his selections for the big races at Galway this week.

ON A RECENT work-related London visit, I got lost in a few beers and ended up running late for my tube, which I eventually got. 

Who did I see sitting opposite me? Sam Waley Cohen, the Corinthian amateur who only won the Grand National on Noble Yeats this year, sat unknown to the masses commuting – bar yours truly.

That victory showcased Emmet Mullins’ ability to defy convention with his campaigning of horses. The son of Yeats had precious little experience for the race and was a remarkably young winner.

patrick-mullins-with-cousin-emmet-mullins-after-winning-with-noble-yeats Caroline Norris / INPHO Caroline Norris / INPHO / INPHO

Emmet has the benefit of being able to use his uncle Willie’s gallops but gallops don’t mean you have winners on their own and he is clearly really talented.

As such, I feel Cape Gentleman can take the Galway Plate (6.40) on Wednesday (available at 7-1 generally and 15-2). It’s nowhere near the romantic race it was – Willie Mullins, Joseph O’Brien, Gordon Elliott or Henry de Bromhead accounted for all winners since 2014 – and it takes a young horse to have a good chance nowadays, at least on paper.

Cape Gentleman run just four times over fences, so he has very little experience for a race like the Plate. However, he hammered Run Wild Fred by 14 lengths in October. Run Wild Fred would bolt up in the Troytown next time.

Intriguingly, Noble Yeats was favourite then but could only finish fourth behind his stablemate, who has classy hurdles form. He might get away with his inexperience. Donagh Meyler rides.

Willie Mullins, predictably, has a superb record in the Galway Hurdle (5.05 Thursday) and the problem might be not what trainer wins it but which of his horses. Echoes In Rain has top weight – I do wonder will she be beaten in Monday’s feature en route to victory in this off top weight.

It would be just the thing Patrick Mullins would do: fail to win the race that has continued to elude him but snare the Hurdle. However, stablemate Tax For Max appeals more. He’s down to run on Tuesday in a novice race and it’s far from unusual for Mullins, or indeed many other trainers, to target more than one race in the week at Ballybrit.

He ran a blinder at Punchestostown in what was just his third handicap hurdle, despite running freely, finishing just behind Farout, as he did here as a novice last year. I can’t see how he is 16-1, even in a race as open as this; as a five-year-old, there’s likely more there.

They called the ground soft, yielding in places on the Flat track Monday. Still, you’d imagine that will dry out pretty extensively by the time Bowerman forms part of Ado McGuinness’ incredible eight-strong assault at Tuesday’s feature Galway Mile (6.40).

It’s not really ideal that one trainer should have nearly half the field in a race of this nature but McGuinness is breaking no rules and his stable has targetted these good-class handicappers. At 40-1, Bowerman is worth a poke.

He will need luck but that applies to pretty much everyone. He was rated around a stone higher not long ago and was in fine form in the spring. He hasn’t lost a leg and has come down to a mark that makes him very dangerous; it seems obvious this race has been laid out for him.

Do gamble responsibly throughout the week – it is a long one.

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