2019 Galway Festival tips – Stats and trends to help you beat the bookies at Ballybrit

A wonderful view of the finish at the Galway Festival.

A wonderful view of the finish at the Galway Festival.

We’ve taken a look through the results of the previous five Galway Festivals, and highlights certain stats and trends that could help you pocket some profit when the meeting begins on Monday 29th July.

The Galway Festival is one of Ireland’s most popular meetings. For seven scorching days, the biggest a brightest talents from the worlds of flat and jumps racing will make the journey to Ballybrit to try and plunder an assortment of fantastic prizes. The Galway Hurdle and the Galway Plate are the most prestigious races of the week, with plenty of maidens, pattern races and handicaps to keep every sort of racing fan thoroughly entertained.

To help you get on top of the bookmakers, we’ve taken a look through the results from the last five Galway Festivals and highlighted some important jockey and trainer stats, along with some recurring trends, which could come in handy during the 2019 meeting.

Galway Festival Trends and Stats

Jockeys To Jump On

Declan McDonogh

With Ruby Walsh and Pat Smullen – the two winning-most jockeys at Galway over the past five years – now resigned to retirement, the mantel for the most successful jockey at this Festival in goes to the lesser-known Declan McDonogh.

In the last four years alone, McDonnagh has ridden 13 winners at the Galway Festival, guiding horses to victory in all sorts of races for the likes of Willie Mullins, Dermot Weld and Gordon Elliott. McDonagh’s record around this course means any horse he rides next week must be greatly respected.

Declan McDonagh (second left) poses for a picture after winning onboard Riven Light for Willie Mullins and Rich Ricci.

Declan McDonagh (second left) poses for a picture after winning onboard Riven Light for Willie Mullins and Rich Ricci.

Billy Lee

Billy Lee hasn’t been around for as long as many of his peers, but he’s managed to clock up an impressive seven victories at the Galway Festival. Lee rode four winners here in 2017 and two last year, including a 14/1 winner for Willie Mullins in the Guinness Handicap on day five.

Danny and Patrick Mullins

Willie Mullins’ success at Galway makes it inevitable that his family members will also feature in the record books for this popular Festival. Patrick Mullins has ridden eight winners in National Hunt Flat Races for his father, Willie at this meeting over the past five years and celebrated wildly after guiding Sharjah to victory in the Galway Hurdle 12 months ago.

Like his cousin Patrick, Danny Mullins has reached double-figures for the number of winners he’d ridden at the Galway Festival. While Patrick’s winners have come almost solely from his father, Danny’s heroics in the saddle have helped both Emmett and Thomas Mullins join Willie on the roll of honour.

Top Trainers

Willie Mullins

Willie Mullins is, by far, the most successful trainer in the recent history of the Galway Festival. Ireland’s Champion Jumps Trainer has saddled 44 winners across the past five Festivals. The majority have come in the National Hunt races, but Willie is no stranger to success on the level either, boasting a superb winning percentage of 44% from the runners he’s entered into flat races at Galway during this time period.

Dermot Weld

Weld has long been regarded as the go-to man at Ballybrit. He may have been usurped at the top of the pile by Mullins in recent years, but Weld has still managed to rack up 23 winners in last five years. One thing to note is that only three of those 23 winners did not go to post as the favourite. So, if a Dermot Weld runner hits the head of the betting at Galway, you’d be a brave punter to side against it.

Dermot Weld loves a winner at Galway.

Dermot Weld loves a winner at Galway.

AJ Martin

If you see a horse of AJ Martin’s being backed in any race at Galway, you better jump on the bandwagon before it’s price disappears. Martin has had 17 Festival winners since 2014, including back-to-back Galway Hurdle winners in ’14 and ’15. 14 of those 17 winners have come in handicaps, with an almost equal split over jumps and flat contests, emphasising Martin’s quality as a dual-purpose trainer.

Other Trends

Course Form

The track at Galway is rather unique. A tight, turning, right-handed course, not too dissimilar to the track at Goodwood. Course form is even more crucial at Galway than it is at Goodwood, so any horse who has previously won at the Ballybrit venue must be respected.

Multiple Winners

Beckwith Star, Top OThe Ra, Dream Walker and Baraweez have all claimed back-to-back victories at Galway in the last five years. Alechi Inois, Tigris River, Yulong Gold Fairy and Truffles have all won two different races and there have been plenty of horses have come agonisingly close to completing Galway Festival doubles of their own.

Beau Satchel has won three times at the Galway Festival. An achievement matched by Willie Mullins’ Whiskey Sour, who won twice at the same meeting during 2017. Riven Light has won for Willie Mullins at the past two Festival and he is fancied by many to seal an incredible hat-trick when he enters next week’s Galway Hurdle.

Back Favourites in Novice Hurdles and Flat Maidens

14 of the 20 Novice and Maiden Hurdles races over the past five years have been won by favourites. Five of the six horses who didn’t carry the tag of favouritism into the winners’ enclosure were trained by Willie Mullins, who has saddled 13 winners of those 20 races.

It’s much of the same in the maidens on the level, with 20 of the 37 races going the way of the market leaders. Only six winners of novice and maiden races, either on the flat or over jumps, have been won by horses carrying a double-figure price, so you’re best served to back the horse at the top of the betting in any novice or maiden contest next week.

Henry De Bromhead celebrating Balko Des Flos' triumph in the Galway Plate two years ago.

Henry De Bromhead celebrating Balko Des Flos’ triumph in the Galway Plate two years ago.

Henry De Bromhead

De Bromhead has managed to capture 12 titles at the Galway Festival since 2014, with Shanahan’s Turn and Balko De Flos handing Henry two victories in the Galway Plate during that time. In fact, of De Bromhead’s 12 winners, seven have come in chases, so he’s the man to look to when backing a horse over the larger obstacles.

Aidan O’Brien Saturday

Surprisingly, Aidan O’Brien has only saddled 11 winners at the Galway Festival in recent years. Seven of those 11 triumphs have come on Saturday’s day six card, with O’Brien sending out the winner of Saturday’s Plus Ten Maiden over a mile in all of the past four seasons.

Brian Ellison

Victories for British raiders have been rare at the Galway Festival, but one trainer from this side of the Irish Sea who has managed to taste success is Brian Ellison. Baraweez and Dream Walker both managed to defend the titles they won in the Premier Handicap on day seven, with Danny Mullins riding Our Kylie to a surprise victory in a Handicap Hurdle back in 2016.