Glorious thriller set for Goodwood
Fascinating rematch with three Guineas winners as Shanpallas is pulled from Plate
Glorious Goodwood may stage a fascinating rematch of this year's three major Guineas winners, Galileo Gold, The Gurkha and Awtaad, who were among 14 horses left in the Sussex Stakes next Wednesday.
Despite being turned over at the Curragh by Awtaad, English 2,000 Guineas winner Galileo Gold bounced back to win the meeting of the trio in the St James's Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot last month and he is the current 7/4 favourite to come out on top again next week.
Hugo Palmer is hoping to frank the Royal Ascot form and insists that his leading three-year-old is still improving. The trainer said: "Galileo Gold continues in fine form at home prior to his intended run in the Qatar Sussex Stakes next week.
"He is still getting bigger and stronger by the week, and hopefully that physical development will translate itself to the track at Goodwood."
The Gurkha has stepped in against older company since, going down by half a length to Hawkbill in the Coral Eclipse, while Awtaad, like Galileo Gold, hasn't been in action since Royal Ascot when he finished third, beaten a length and three parts having come out on top for Kevin Prendergast at the Curragh by two and a half lengths.
Meanwhile, the Galway Plate field was narrowed down yesterday following the latest forfeit stage and the ante-post favourite with some bookmaking firms, Shanpallas, was taken out of the line up by trainer Charles Byrnes.
The absence of the eight-year-old, who was fifth in the Galway Plate last season behind Shanahan's Turn, will be a blow to punters who had made him so prominent in the ante-post betting for the race and the 2014 winner, Road To Riches, is now the clear 9/2 favourite.
Bookmakers have also priced up Tuesday's feature, the Colm Quinn BMW Mile, which is worth €120,000.
Paddy Power make it 7/1 the field with the Ger Lyons-trained Sea Wolf their market leader following his impressive victory at the Curragh on Irish Derby weekend.
Dermot Weld's Navan maiden winner Karalara does top the betting with some firms and her stable companion Ashraf is also prominent in the market, while Brian Ellison's previous Galway Festival winner Baraweez is another that bookmakers are keen to keep on the right side.
Unsurprisingly, this year's dual Derby winning trainer Dermot Weld is 1/5 to retain his leading trainer crown at Ballybrit with Willie Mullins the 3/1 second favourite and the champion national hunt trainer is himself as short as 1/3 in the market without Weld. One of Ireland's newest trainers, Joseph O'Brien, is 20/1 in that same market without Weld.
After saddling a winner with his first runner as a trainer, Robbie McNamara is eyeing up a return to Galway where he had many memorable days as a jockey.
McNamara's first winner, Chadic, has been given an entry in five races over the opening four days of the Festival, including in Monday's feature amateur handicap which the Limerick native won in 2008 and 2009 for Weld.
The Galway Festival could also see McNamara give a first start to Rogue Angel who he purchased from France and holds in high regard.
A winner on the Flat in France, Rogue Agent is now owned by Dr Ronan Lambe and is entered in the maiden hurdle on Wednesday, a race that McNamara won for Weld and Lambe in 2010 and again for Weld in 2011.
Call Vinnie, who was second on McNamara's first night with runners at Cork, also holds engagements at Galway and is in both the 2m5f handicap hurdle on Wednesday and the beginners chase there on Thursday.