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Today is the start of the illustrious Galway Festival. It is a tricky track, where a lot of horses struggle to get runs, and having a wide stall is no great favour, so make sure you keep an eye out for those stall numbers.
I tipped up EXCHANGE RATE when he was making his return after 945 days off the track, and instantly after that run, where he finished 4th, I said that would've been a prep run for the Galway festival, and here we are. The owner of this horse, Mrs A F Mee loves a Galway festival runner, so it was no surprise to see him entered up in two races this week, and it wouldn't be a surprise to him run in both races.
His return was a cracking little run based on the fact it was on the back of a 945 day break. He has clearly had his problems, as there is no reason for him to be off the track for that long, but it wasn't a concern to me as Willie Mullins is a master trainer, and bring horses off from huge layoffs and get them firing instantly. He was keen throughout the first half of that race, which is no surprise as he hasn't been on a track for so long. He was positioned last throughout the entire race, found a little bit of trouble in running when still going okay, but then managed to stay on into 4th, and nearly grabbing 3rd. I think that was a big run, and I was expecting a lot more next time out, but they've clearly saved him for the Galway festival, and clearly felt another run wasn't needed.
Willie Mullins had won this race three times on the bounce before Anthony Mullins won this race last year with Princess Zoe, so it's not a surprise to see him well entered with about six of the field being represented by himself. Jodie Townend is the jockey booking for Exchange Rate, and that is a positive booking, as she won this race back in 2019 on Great White Shark. She will take off a handy 5lbs, which will be a huge help, as it will mean he will be carrying the second lowest weight in the race.
There are obviously a few in this race who have nice chances, and there will more than likely be trouble in running. I've been wanting to back this horse since his run in the early parts of June, and thought this festival was always the target, so hopefully we get a clear run through.
Advised: Each Way (4 places B365, 6 with a lot of other firms)
Willie Mullins and his son Patrick Mullins have dominated this race in the last ten years, winning it six times since 2011, with Patrick Mullins only having eight rides in the race. Willie has a couple of runners in this race, but Patrick has opted for the ride of Emmet Mullins, who likes a winner at the Galway Festival and likes to land a gamble, so my selection is ZERO TEN.
Some of you might realise that the owner of this horse is the same as the first selection, Exchange Rate. This wasn't done by design, but I do think Zero Ten holds a very strong chance in this race. It's a race that this owner has targeted in the past, winning this race with no other than… Exchange Rate, as well as Diamond Hill the year after (2017 & 2018). This horse is a very capable horse over obstacles (rated 147 over fences and 141 over hurdles), but was also a smart horse in bumpers, so this flat test shouldn't be a problem. This horse has won at the Galway Festival on two seperate occasions, landing a bumper on stable debut, and then winning on Chase debut, so it's no surprise to see him back here for connections who love a winner at this track and at this festival.
I do expect this horse to be well found in the market, due to Patrick Mullins riding, and it wouldn't surprise me to see him go off favourite.
12:35 Ayr - Race: 2
12:43 Worcester - Race: 1
12:50 Cork - Race: 2