Pass The Hat Primed For Plate
Big-field handicaps simply don’t come any better than Wednesday’s Galway Plate (5.30) over 2m6f where punters will be treated to one of the biggest betting heats of the summer.
Investors have certainly enjoyed their moments in recent years too, with three of the six winners having been well punted into favouritism, although this year’s renewal has a very open look to it at present. But, before scanning through the sizeable field, the following trends covering the last winners could help point the way.
Of the last 10 Galway Plate winners…
10 had five chase outings or more
9 had just one or less handicap chase victory
9 were officially rated 126-139
8 had 31 days or longer rest
Clearly, those unexposed chasers yet to show the limits of their potential prior to this race have done, with 9 of the last 10 winners having won a maximum of just one handicap chase, and one who fits that profile is Dessie Hughes’, Golden Wonder (10/1).
This 8yo has been kept under wraps since a close second in the Irish Grand National in April (4m1f, good), and having won over Wednesday’s C&D at this meeting 12 months ago, Golden Wonder will certainly handle the conditions.
Hughes also has the 10/1 co-favourite, Art Of Logistics, who has been more active of late in winning a chase at Punchestown last month (2m2f, good). That win made it 4-8 over fences for this improving 6yo, though he still has to prove himself over 2m6f unplaced twice over 2m4f/2m5f).
Hughes’ pair are also a touch high in the official ratings on 141 and 144 respectively, though one more in line with the preferred 126-139 band is Jonjo O’Neill’s, It’s A Gimme on 137.
Also around the 10/1 mark, this progressive 7yo is in top form having made it 2-4 over chase when landing the valuable Summer Plate at Market Rasen just 11 days ago (2m7f, good to soft), and a repeat of that would send him close.
It’s worth noting that each of the last 10 Galway Plate winners faced fences on five occasions or more, which could count against Paul Nicholls’, Caid Du Berlais (11/1), who has just two chase outings and is also high in the ratings, though Thomas Mullins’, Alderwood (14/1), is more experienced via eight runs over fences.
Mullins will have to produce wonders if his 10yo wins this following a 275-day break, and from a stiff rating of 149.
As for Willie Mullins’ main challenger in the betting, then that would be Balnaslow (12/1), a chase winner back in April (2m6f, yielding), which was compensation for a fourth in the Kim Muir at Cheltenham (3m2f).
Rated 135 and with eight chase outings, this 7yo has a good profile, while Mullins’ 11yo, Away We Go (12/1), is another with experience and arrives in form having won a 2m6f chase last month.
Plenty to fancy in a wide-open affair, but it’s interesting to note that the majority of past winners had a rest period of 31 days or longer prior to Galway
, and one with such criteria is Noel Meade’s, Pass The Hat, who had a prep on the Flat 40 days ago.
A winner of the valuable Carrickmines Handicap Chase back in March, he could be the one at juicy odds of 14/1.