Ballybrit should be a calmer place this evening after the jubilations that followed yesterday’s gripping climax to the Galway Hurdle. Dermot Weld drew a rare blank at the meeting yesterday but he should wipe that aberration from his CV today and he has good prospects of recording at least a double.
The track and field events at London 2012 get underway today and you couldn’t find a more aptly named winner all day than Weld’s Olympiad in the mile and a half Guinness Handicap at 6.50pm. On paper the four year old has to improve to beat top weight Chicago from the all conquering Ballydoyle team. Chicago has won his last two starts, most recently at Down Royal seven days ago and has some notable entries including the St. Leger. He is the class horse in the race and only has to concede a pound to Olympiad.
Clarach is another who should run well. She was third in the McDonagh Handicap on Monday and was fancied for the Galway hurdle but didn’t make the cut. She has won at the Festival previously and if her exertions from earlier in the week haven’t taken too much out of her she should go close. Recent Curragh winner Authorization has a decent weight and he could pounce but Olympiad is the one for the top step of the podium in very competitive handicap.
Weld could have a quick fire double with Pale Mimosa in the next, the mile and a half Guinness EBF Maiden. The daughter of Singspiel was fourth on her only start as a two year old and hasn’t run since that Cork race last October. It’s most interesting that Weld has elected to run her in Galway and he has produced plenty of Ballybrit winners without prep races.
Aidan O’Brien has a better recent record than Weld in this race and is looking to train his fourth winner in the last ten years. Buckingham Gate is a well bred son of Montjeu out of a full sister to Rock Of Gibraltar but it’s fair to say he hasn’t lived up to his pedigree. Third at Leopardstown last week he has to concede five pounds to his rival and as a lesser light at Ballydoyle, he may not have the ability to do that.
The Master of Rosewell House is bidding for back to back victories in the final contest, the Guinness Race over a mile and six furlongs. Notable Graduate was an also ran in last year’s Irish Derby but he performed with credit over this distance and similar ground to be a close second to False Economy at Listowel in early June. He should have enough to account for his three rivals tonight. Distant Memories began his hurdling career with a lofty reputation but he has been a disappointment since. Prior to that he had some good form on the flat and he makes his first start on the level for almost a year tonight. Joseph O’Brien is a stand out jockey booking for the Dot Love trained Shadow Eile and he could prove best of the rest.
California Rose is on a winning streak right now and looking to extend that run to four victories on the bounce in the Arthur Guinness Handicap over an extended mile at 7.55pm. The Pat Martin trained filly has improved considerably over the last six weeks. Soft or heavy ground is no hindrance to her and she will appreciate the going. Joseph O’Brien takes the ride on Joanna Morgan’s Antiquus for the first time and that could be a strong signal. Weld relies on the maiden Stuccodor who has improved on each of this three starts. The ground is an unknown factor but the market should be a good guide to his chances.
Tony Martin has been quiet this week but Victrix Gale should have a good chance in the Galway Blazers Handicap Chase if he goes on the ground. Any market moves for him will be a good clue to his chances.