What a frustrating weekend I had on the tipping front last weekend.
Some decent priced horses filled the placings but no winner over four cards. It rains and then it rains heavily. Then it pours.
Tramore’s August Festival continues over the weekend here in Ireland.
The racing is competitive at the seaside track, which remains in use after the proposed move to a purpose-built venue fell through in recent years.
The ground is in good nick at the County Waterford venue and it is testament to the regard in which it is held that so many top trainers have runners there this weekend.
A 15% strike-rate at Tramore over the past couple of decades is relatively modest for Dermot Weld, considering the prices his horses tend to be sent off at here, and odds-on favourite Baliyad is clearly no star.
He is more exposed than two-time runner Acrux Cass, who is a Footstepsinthesand half-brother to Duke Cass, a dual-purpose horse of decent ability for Karl Thornton who progressed after leaving the Stack barn.
It was a moderate race in which Acrux Cass was second at Killarney last time – the close third was well-beaten at Galway since – but he seems mildly progressive and may offer the value here in an apparent match. Calgath also comes into it at 7-1.
Short-priced favourite Bronagh's Belle will certainly help to make this a decent each-way betting race as, given that she is trained by Willie Mullins and the apparent form pick after her Galway second, she must be quite short in the market.
Head Turner was also well-backed last time, so veteran Byron Beauty is currently sitting at a massive 20-1.
The rain that has fallen will help the chance of a mare who, typically of a Harry Rogers-trained horse, finished in the first two three times aged eight and first or second three times aged nine.
The race was not run to suit at Galway on her second start there this season, yet she stayed on really nicely to be beaten only over four lengths. She was placed off a stone higher last October.
Moonball is likely to do very well for Gavin Cromwell, who she joined from Tom Cooper.
The Kapgarde filly is only four and a half-sister to three French winners.
She was an eye-catcher in a four-year-old hurdle at Killarney on her final start for Cooper and probably needed the run for Cromwell when finishing midfield at Cork earlier this month.
This is a pretty poor race and expect her to make her way in handicaps.
Eoin Doyle's Zaufo is one of those horses that will divide opinion.
He is either really consistent – 15 runs, nine of them finishing in the top three – or frustrating, in that he has won only once.
I think he is probably best-suited by a strongly-run two miles.
What he will have here is a more staying trip with Ruby Walsh probably dictating on Getareason and the chances are he simply will not go by.
Getareason won a bumper and his Galway second on hurdling debut was an excellent start.
Mill Quest has won three times already this summer for Gordon Elliott and finished second at Galway before the most recent of those three successes, off 117 at Downpatrick. The handicapper put him up to 126.
When Elliott procured this horse off Terence O’Brien, he likely decided to take advantage of what was, at that stage, a lower hurdling rating: he was 9lb higher chasing at the time, despite finishing no better than third in six chase runs.
He is well able to tackle a fence and looks a good thing here.