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Rory Delargy has put pen to paper on his thoughts for tomorrow's offering from Galway. Join the Fantasy Free Bet Club and earn a Free Stable each week!

The Tote are offering a €1,000 bonus on top of the usual prize for the winner of their Fantasy game on Galway Plate day, but what is the craic with Tote Fantasy? Well, much like Fantasy Football, on which it’s loosely based, Tote Fantasy gives players a budget to buy a team; in their case that budget is a mythical 10,000 guineas to spend over a seven-race card, with the guinea prices based largely on overnight odds, but not subject to fluctuation.

The budget offered means that – just like its football equivalent – you can’t simply buy all the best horses, meaning the skill is in finding which horses are undervalued, while also retaining those bankers likely to guarantee points.

Points are scored for winning (20pts) as well as finishing second (7pts) or third (2pts), but there are extra points on offer for the winning distance (up to 5pts) and for the size of the field (up to 10pts for a winner, with pro-rata bonuses for placed horses, as well as points for extra places on a similar sliding scale). Importantly, there are no extra points based on SP, which needs bearing in mind.

There are also two boosts which players can choose, namely ‘stable star’ and ‘stewards enquiry’ with each player’s stable star scoring double points. The stewards enquiry boost allows the horse in question to be promoted by one place for points purposes.

The cost is €7 or £7 per entry and prizes are based on the total number of players, but the prize structure remains the same, with 25% of players guaranteed a profit, and over 80% of the game fees are paid out in prizes. The prize fund works in two ways, with a tiered payout based on percentile (there are six tiers ranging from the top 2.5% down to top 25%), and a fixed pot for the top five players. The top five therefore each get a dividend for being in the top 2.5% and on top of that 20% of total game funds go to the winner, 5% to the runner-up, 3% to the third, 2% to fourth and 1% to fifth. If that seems complex, there is a useful worked example on the tote website which helps illustrate the potential breakdown of funds.

In terms of tactics, it’s clear that the majority of points on offer are for winners, but a limited budget means piling the wins up isn’t easy. Doubling your race tally for finding a winning stable star is almost a necessity, but splashing out on an obvious banker means you’ll need to cut corners to make the budget stretch. You could top-load your team with expensive purchases and pad it out with the cheapest runners available in the remaining races, but it makes more sense to spot the anomalies in the price structure. With prices assigned the night before and unable to change, there are bargains to be had with horses trading much shorter on the day, and it’s often the case that tissue prices are wildly inaccurate, so shopping around will pay dividends.

Utilising the stewards enquiry is also crucial, with the boost best utilised in small-field races, particularly those with short-priced favourites, where a reasonably cheap purchase can almost guarantee a good points return, leaving money in the budget for other potential bankers. Unlike most pool bets, a complete disaster in the first race doesn’t end your fun for the day, and you can chop and change your selections up until the first race is off. With an extra grand on offer, and a one-in-four chance of cashing in, it will be the best value €7 you spend all week, Toblerones notwithstanding.


17:10 – Sea Gardens

Joseph O’Brien has won this race for two of the last three years, and his record with turf handicap debutants is a positive one, so the son of Siyouni is an automatic pick having been undervalued in the fantasy market.

17:40 – Up And Under

Fifth in the Irish Derby last time, Up And Under finds himself in a weak maiden, and looks Stable Star material, even at 5,000 guineas.

The other way of playing this is to use the stewards enquiry with Winter Fog, who is unraced on the Flat, but is a high class hurdler who should have no problem making the frame in such a shallow maiden; he’s just a quarter of the price of Up And Under, and could get the same points return if finishing second to the odds-on favourite as the market says he should. Votre Homme is a cheap buy at 500 gns and has fair claims of a return with Dermot Weld booking the excellent Finny Maguire.

18:10 – Youcrackmeup

(750 gns) could be value here against Mr Escobar despite carrying a 7lb penalty for winning here on Monday. That came over 1½m, but he was runner-up over 2m1f on his penultimate start, and stamina is his strong suit. Mr Escobar is far from sure to handle the track (hangs left) or the ground.

Authorized Art and Danny Mullins wins the Gr.3 ODwyer Steel Novice Chase.

18:40 - Authorized Art 

Kilcruit won’t relish the testing ground having improved for better going in the spring, and he’s one you don’t need to splash the cash on despite his class. Lifetime Ambition (500 gns) is tempting, but at half the price, Authorised Art is the pick of the prices. In the frame in the Drinmore on heavy ground, he probably doesn’t want any further than this, but is reunited with Danny Mullins, and for a classy second-season chaser looks on a good racing weight with just 10st5lb.

19:15 – Aurora Princess

representing Pearse and Annette Mee, who love to have a winner at Galway’s festival meeting, and she looks to have been laid out with this race in mind by the shroooooood Emmet Mullins. At 250 gns she is a steal and there is a fair chance that she will be backed off the boards given connections. Banntown Girl is a solid alternative on the ground, but is three times the price, and may have been too honestly campaigned.

19:50 - Arabian Diamond

High Class Hero is a bit too expensive here despite being arguably the one to beat, and the value players will be tossing up between Tag Man and Arabian Diamond, who both cost 1250 gns as opposed to 3750 for the market leader. The latter won a Sligo bumper last time, and very much caught the eye when  sixth of 25 to Found A Fifty in a maiden hurdle at Fairyhouse on his only outing in this sphere. He was ridden with a view to gaining experience that day, and is sure to be a different proposition this time around.


We’llhavewan represents the track’s leading trainer, and last year’s winning combination so is a fair favourite to plum for at 1,250 gns, for all this looks a very open race. If you need to cut your cloth thinner at this stage, then both Shanawalla and Something Abouther (both 500 gns) appeal more on value grounds. The former was ridden a little too aggressively at Tipperary last time, and Danny Gilligan takes over in the saddle in a family affair. Gilligan scored here on Monday and is riding with real confidence.

Something About her built on early promise with an impressive maiden win at Punchestown in June, and looks fairly handicapped on a mark of 114. She should improve further, and is competitively priced.

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