1.40 Guinness Beginners Steeplechase
Minella Beau looks the right type to score on his chase debut. He got away with two miles when well-ridden by Ruby Walsh to score in a maiden hurdle at the festival last year, and that he went nought from five (thrice second) afterwards isn't a major concern.
He won a point to point on heavy and then bolted up in a bumper by seven lengths. He should be much more at home over this trip than the two miles of 12 months ago.
There are doubts about the remainder but money for Aeglos would have to be noted. The Mahler-bred should make a nice chaser, while Its All Guesswork ran well here last year too.
Selection: Minella Beau
2.15 Open Gate Brewery Novice Steeplechase
Rashaan looks a lively each-way player here. He has been a marvellous addition to the Colin Kidd barn, winning seven times over hurdles, three times on the Flat (turf) and once on the all-weather.
All that is left is a chase and there is no reason why he cannot snare one. He is perhaps not a natural chaser, yet was touched off both starts over fences. Ground-versatile, the booking of Davy Russell takes the eye now.
Having won two of the last four renewals with classy horses, Willie Mullins saddles four. Paul Townend rides Robin Des Foret, who may find this company a little tough, while Ruby Walsh steers Cadmium, whose rating of 147 advertises the class of the race. Le Martalin won here over hurdles and comes into the argument.
2.50 Rockshore Handicap
Three of these race from out of the handicap, which is far from ideal in Galway, while Honor Oak reappears two days after a narrow defeat at Ballybrit. Koybig edged Prosecution at Killarney but the 2lb swing may make the difference for the Lawman gelding, who is hardy and goes fine on soft ground.
John Murtagh is among the winners this week into the bargain.
Red Avenger has no chance on this ground, but Georgian Bay is one to keep an eye on for Ado McGuinness, with no issues regarding the terrain. The yard always tends to have a winner here.
3.25 Arthur Guinness Irish EBF Corrib Fillies Stakes
It is five years since Dermot Weld last won this, Yellow Rosebud scoring under Pat Smullen, and Yulong Gold Fairy has solid prospects of giving him another, this time with Shane Foley in the irons.
By Mount Nelson, not surprisingly she goes well on soft terrain, and she won her maiden over the course and distance. Her rating of 105 is warranted and it is the highest rating anyone has here, rendering her the likely winner on paper.
Few of the others make a convincing case, but Panstarr amounts to an exception. Rated a relatively modest 72 a year ago, she has progressed admirably, and her half-length second to the selection's stablemate Making Light on soft to heavy at Naas in March advertises her prospects for Jim Bolger.
Selection: Yulong Gold Fairy
4.00 Guinness Novice Hurdle
Willie Mullins has 17 runners on this card and four of the nine in this. Ruby Walsh is aiming to put the record straight on Exchange Rate, a costly flop when unseating at the first here on Tuesday, but possibly no major hiccup for connections as this may offer an easier opportunity for him.
He is not a confident selection, yet he was three from three before Tuesday, and he should appreciate this distance.
It is difficult to see Causey Arch giving him 6lb and a beating; perhaps a bigger danger is Awbeg Prince, a fine stamp of a horse who may be able to dictate matters under his amateur rider.
Selection: Exchange Rate
4.35 Guinness Galway Hurdle Handicap
This is, incredibly, the richest hurdle race on the Irish calendar. However, the colossal prize-money has been good for the purists – the race has become really classy – but not for the smaller trainer.
Note the race as it was 15 years ago when won by Sabadilla: five of the first six home were rated 117 or less. In 2018 Ted Veale (135) doesn't make the cut in a race in which JP McManus has almost half the field.
JP could provide the winner again in Le Richebourg, trained as Tigris River was 12 months ago by Joseph O’Brien. At that very festival, Le Richebourg scored in a novice hurdle, reminding me of the lyrics of Bill Callahan: "Let me see the colts that will run next year – show them to a gambling man thinking of the future."
Anyone there that day must have considered the Galway Hurdle as a possible target for Le Richebourg 12 months on; as such, what little he has achieved since may be forgiven.
What of the Mullins battalion? Sharjah has top weight but that did not stop Riven Light winning the feature on Monday and he certainly has a chance. He will relish the ground. Good Thyne Tara was really impressive at Cork, but has suffered in the weights and this is another league of toughness. And what or John Walsh's Davids Charm, ridden by championship leader Rachael Blackmore? A strong pace will suit a horse who likes Galway.
Selection: Le Richebourg
5.15 Open Gate Pure Brew Handicap
Townshend looks perhaps the bet of the day here. Though he was beaten at 6-4 at Killarney, he may just prefer this distance and he should really be a certainty based on his chase form, not to mind how good Willie Mullins does with this type of horse. The booking of Colin Keane only adds to his allure.
Tony Martin has had a notably quiet Galway, but a case can be made for Beau Et Sublime who has to be respected off 69.
Like the selection, Dasmyhoss might have done with a better gate. Out in the cheap seats in 15, he still looks dangerously well-handicapped for Robbie McNamara.
5.50 Good Time For A Guinness Flat Race
Doctor Duffy looks one for the Charles Byrnes fan club here. A 22-1 chance on debut at Punchestown, the Craigsteel gelding pulled well clear of third, and the runner-up (Batcio) was fancied in Monday's bumper only to get withdrawn.
Duke Of Marmalade would have few bumper runners but Golden Spread certainly merits consideration. Willie Mullins, intriguingly, has a really modest record in this and is not listed as having won it at all since 1990 in the records, with the exception of Prince D'Aubrelle in 2015.
You Raised Me Up is a lively one too for the in-form Martin Brassil and Jamie Codd.
Selection: Doctor Duffy