2019 Galway Festival day one tips – Race-by-race selections for the opening day at Ballybrit

The 2019 Galway Festival kicks off on Monday.

The 2019 Galway Festival kicks off on Monday.

Brian Healy gives his race-by-race selections and best bets for every race on the opening day of the Galway Festival.

Monday plays host to the opening day of the week-long Galway Festival, and the Ballybrit track will bear witness to some cracking action both on the flat and over the sticks over the course of the next seven days.

The opening day gets underway with a seven-race card from 5.20pm featuring both flat and jumps racing action on a competitive racecard, with the feature Connacht Hotel (Q.R.) Handicap (4yo+ 70-100) going to post at 7.40pm as the fifth race on the card.

5:20 – Galwaybayhotel.com & Galmont.com Novice Hurdle (4yo) 2m½f

5:55 – Easyfix Handicap Hurdle (4yo+ 88-109) 2m½f

6:25 – Claregalwayhotel.ie (C&G) Irish EBF Maiden (2yo) 7f

7:05 – Claytonhotelgalway.ie Handicap (3yo 60-80) 7f

7:40 – Connacht Hotel (Q.R.) Handicap (4yo+ 70-100) 2m1f

8:10 – Eventus Handicap (3yo 60-90) 1m4½f

8:40 – Monami Construction INH Flat Race (4-7yo) 2m½f

Brian Healy takes a race-by-race look at the first day of racing action at the Galway Festival, and he gives his selections for every race.

5:20 – Galwaybayhotel.com & Galmont.com Novice Hurdle (4yo) 2m½f

Quite a strong race to kick off proceedings at the Galway Festival, and having already won four of the last five renewals of this contest it could pay to side again with Willie Mullins and his representative this year, AUTHORIZED ART (11/4, Bet365) who was a last-time winner.

That success came on his first outing for this yard, having joined from French handler Alain Couetil, and the Authorized colt ran out a three lengths’ victor over the useful Batts Rock, scoring readily with the pair finishing well clear.

Sure to improve for that experience, he can progress again and every chance he can make it 2-2 for this yard and extend their fine record in the race.

Willie Mullins can saddle a Galway winner on Monday

Willie Mullins can saddle a Galway winner on Monday

5:55 – Easyfix Handicap Hurdle (4yo+ 88-109) 2m½f

AL SAKB (8/1, William Hill) found a jolt of improvement for the application of first-time cheekpieces to post a career-best success at Ballinrobe recently, and Denis Hogan’s charge could follow up here with blinkers now tried.

The Dansili gelding had begun to look exposed in handicaps, but he took advantage of a return to maiden company to run out a three lengths’ winner over Dunbar, and appearing to do the job readily.

The handicapper has perhaps reacted harsly with a 10lbs rise, but that is mostly negated by his young rider’s 7lbs claim and the switch in headgear could have another positive effect now.

While he probably does need to find another chunk of progress, it isn’t outside the realms of probability that he can find such, and he’s not out of this contest for all he needs a shade more.

6:25 – Claregalwayhotel.ie (C&G) Irish EBF Maiden (2yo) 7f

The first flat race of the 2019 Galway Festival is likely to go the way of Aidan O’Brien and INNISFREE (8/15, Paddy Power) who shaped well on his debut at Naas earlier in the month when finding only Year Of The Tiger too strong by four lengths.

The Galileo colt ran on well from the back but was ultimately no match for the impressive winner; however, that run will have taught him plenty, and likely to improve for the experience he could prove a tough nut to crack at the second attempt where he can go one better to open his win account.

The form of that debut effort has been boosted by the third winning since, and the Ballydoyle representative can follow suit here to open his win account.

Aidan O Brien can get amongst the winners on day one of Galway

Aidan O Brien can get amongst the winners on day one of Galway

7:05 – Claytonhotelgalway.ie Handicap (3yo 60-80) 7f

FANCY FOOTINGS (5/1, Paddy Power) built on a pair of runner-up efforts on his first two starts for Joseph O’Brien to strike at the third attempt, scoring a shade readily at Limerick earlier in the month with a half-length defeat of Travelwise.

Previously with Gordon Elliott, the Dandy Man gelding kept on well having hit the front approaching the last half-furlong, and the form has since been franked with the runner-up winning his next two starts; while the fourth and fifth home have both gone close since.

He’s been raised 7lbs for that win, but he ought to remain competitive nonetheless given he appeared to win a shade readily. The drop back to seven furlongs from one mile ought not to be a problem either, and he can follow up that latest success with the potential to do better still given his lightly-raced profile.

7:40 – Connacht Hotel (Q.R.) Handicap (4yo+ 70-100) 2m1f

Willie Mullins has won the last two renewals of this contest, and the County Carlow maestro saddles four in the race as he bids for a hat-trick of wins. The pick of the quartet could prove to be MR ADJUDICATOR (5/1, William Hill) who was a Grade Two winner over hurdles in France last month, beating stablemate Bapaume in the Prix La Barka.

The Camacho gelding also won a Grade One hurdle race as a juvenile prior to finishing runner-up in the 2018 Triumph Hurdle, and his earlier form on the flat for Joseph Murphy prior to joining his current yard was useful and included wins at Listowel and Killarney.

Following that French success he was returned to the level to contest at Bellewstown earlier in the month where he finished third to Royal Illusion where he was given too much to do, and he could be thrown in here on the pick of his hurdles form competing from just 81.

The longer trip here looks in his favour, and with a top amateur rider taking off a valuable 5lbs then he looks to hold solid claims of getting back to winning ways in this discipline.

Mr Adjudicator (white cap) can win at Galway on Monday

Mr Adjudicator (white cap) can win at Galway on Monday

8:10 – Eventus Handicap (3yo 60-90) 1m4½f

SWITCH AROUND (8/1, Bet365) has shown steadily progressive form in a trio of maiden contests without seriously threatening the judge. However, Dermot Weld’s charge can find improvement now her sights are switched to handicapping.

The Galileo filly was last seen finishing around six lengths’ fourth behind Leo De Fury at the Curragh, keeping on at one pace and hinting that a step up in trip might be of benefit.

The winner of that race has won since to give the form a boost, and she is open to improvement tackling a stiffer test of stamina and with a first-time visor potentially proving a catalyst for improvement.

An opening mark of 68 for this contest is workable judging on her form to date and she could be worth chancing then to do better.

8:40 – Monami Construction INH Flat Race (4-7yo) 2m½f

Joseph O’Brien can close out day one of the Galway Festival with a win, and RISK FACTOR (11/8, Coral) can go one better than his debut at Ballinrobe back in May where the Duke Of Marmalade gelding was beaten less than one length behind Blazing Emily.

He possibly just needed that experience, but he is sure to have learned plenty from the run and he pulled clear of the remainder in what was a promising first outing.

He was sent off odds-on for that first run, but possibly bumped into one and despite meeting with defeat he shaped like a useful prospect so it wouldn’t come as a surprise to see him find improvement on the back of that debut effort.

A tongue-tie applied now could help in that regard, and with the potential for better to come he could get off the mark at the second attempt.

2019 GALWAY FESTIVAL TIPS – DAY ONE SELECTIONS

5:20 – AUTHORIZED ART (11/4, Bet365)

5:55 – AL SAKB (8/1, William Hill)

6:25 – INNISFREE (8/15, Paddy Power)

7:05 – FANCY FOOTINGS (5/1, Paddy Power)

7:40 – MR ADJUDICATOR (5/1, William Hill)

8:10 – SWITCH AROUND (8/1, Bet365)

8:40 – RISK FACTOR (11/8, Coral)