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Five days down, two to go at the Galway Festival! Having put up plenty of winners both over jumps and on the flat, Danny Mullins is back to cast his eye over Saturday's card.

12:50 - Irish Stallion Farms EBF Maiden - 1m ½f

Stone Age was third in Leopardstown for Aidan O’Brien. He had a good run that day, but I think he’s probably going to go off too short here. Golden Beach for Dermot Weld, who had a good run in a barrier trial at Dundalk recently looks more of a value bet. The fact that Dermot put him away after that barrier trial to come to Galway is interesting. The winner of that trial was a good second in a Leopardstown maiden so that gives you a good line into the form and I think Golden Beach could be good enough to beat Stone Age here.

13:25 - Irish Independent On Saturday Maiden - 1m ½f 

Paddy Twomey looks to have the horse to win this race in Artician. He was third in the Group 2 Railway Stakes behind Law Of Indices and Lucky Vega. Both of those have gone on to run well in good races this year, with Law Of Indices winning a Group 1 and Lucky Vega going well in the Guineas. If Artician is anyway straight, which I’m sure Paddy Twomey will have him, he’s going to take all the beating.

Of the rest, Handel is 0 from 5 and drawn in 19 which I think will put paid to his chances, while Kojin for Jessica Harrington is still a maiden after plenty of runs and only rated 77 so the likes of those are really going to struggle to get near Paddy Twomey’s runner in this.

14:00 - O'Leary Insurances Handicap - 1m ½f 

Dream Tale for Andy Oliver is probably going to be on plenty of shortlists for this. The only negative is that he’s creeping up the handicap all the time. He’s won a mark of 74 and has had two solid seconds, and finds himself off a mark of 86 today which could catch him out.

I think the one that could beat him is Fil The Power for Kevin Smith. He’s had a decent run in Naas the last day, wasn’t beaten all that far, which looked to be a good jump up on the form that he’d shown prior to that. Kevin and Matthew Smith train on the same premises, so it’s good to see some of Matthew Smith’s horses running well as you’d expect plenty of them had been working with some of Kevin’s string.

14:35 - Galway Shopping Centre Handicap - 1m ½f 

The one I’ve gone for here is Alpine Sierra for Dermot Weld. The negative might be that this is his first run in a handicap, but he does look like the sort that Dermot would have targeted for this sort of race. He’s drawn in stall 13, but that might not be such a negative as if he’s slowly away he’s got the visor on for the first time and might have a bit longer to get into a good position early.

Cisco Disco notched up a couple of wins earlier in the season, but was beaten earlier in the week and I think the handicapper might just have got a hold of him.

15:13 - Irish EBF Auction Series Maiden - 7f

This is probably going to be a close enough match between the two of Jessica Harrington’s. Nectaris has put up two decent runs so far. She was second in Gowran and followed that up with a good third, not beaten far, in Tipperary.

But it’s the stable companion that Tom Madden takes the ride on, It’s Snowing, that’s for me. She had a good run in Leopardstown the first day where she was a little bit keen early and didn’t get the clearest of runs in the last furlong. I think there’s a bit of improvement to come from this one, and getting 10lbs from her stablemate, I think she could do the job.

15:48  - Irish Stallion Farms EBF Nursery Handicap - 7f

I do like Jim Bolger’s Cool And Clever here. He won well the last day in Roscommon, jumping out to make all the running that day. He just got caught out of speed around the furlong pole, but got back up for the win late on. The fact that Galway is a much stiffer finish will definitely play to his strength here.

The one that could give him plenty to think about is Dermot Weld’s top-weight Barud. He’s run in a few decent maidens, including one at the Curragh. On what he’s achieved so far, he’d probably have to improve, but it’s noteworthy that he runs in the first-time blinkers here. He’s got a good draw in stall 1 and if he goes forward, could be the main danger to Cool And Clever.

16:20 - Galway Shopping Centre Handicap - 1m4f

Crowns Major ran a great race earlier in the week for Emmet Mullins, finishing second to No Thanks. It was a steadily run affair that day, and I think Crown’s Major was the best horse in the race, and had things gone differently, could have been the winner. He only has to carry 7-13 here with a 7lb claimer on board, which could be significant.

Camorra for Ger Lyons and Colin Keane could be the one to give him most to think about. He has the first-time blinkers here and put up a good run at Gowran the last day. That was on soft ground, but he’s got some decent form in quicker conditions. He’s the danger, but with such a light weight on his back, Crowns Major’s the one for the win.

16:50 - McDonogh Capital Investments Handicap - 1m4f

While You’re Up is the one I like here. He was second the last day in Fairyhouse, running a bit keen early before his run flattened out. If Andrew McNamara’s charge learns a bit from that run, he could take a bit of beating here.

Another that has a good chance is Crassos for Noel Meade. He put up a smart run the last day to finish second at the Curragh having been running at a decent enough level over hurdles through the winter could be a hardy enough type to go close in a handicap like this.


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