herald

Friday 15 December 2017

Unaccompanied is out on her own

Unaccompanied ridden by Pat Smullen. Photo: Barry Cronin/PA Wire
Unaccompanied ridden by Pat Smullen. Photo: Barry Cronin/PA Wire

WITH the ground changing for the worst over the last 24 hours or so at Galway, the meeting was hit with a spate of non-runners yesterday which reached almost 30, and today's fields kind of reflect that pain.

Full fields of 20 were declared for both the Guinness Galway Blazers, which will be a real gruelling prospect over 2m6f, and the amateur riders' Guinness Handicap Hurdle, but the biggest field on the flat is 11, with only 44 runners lining up in the five flat races on today's card.

The most high profile of those is probably the Dermot Weld-trained Unaccompanied, who runs in the Guinness Rated Race at 7.25 in which she will face seven rivals.

Man of the moment Tony Martin runs recent Bellewstown handicap hurdle winner Military Bowl, who runs on the flat off the same rating as Unaccompanied at 103, but has to concede five pounds due to the mares' allowance.

An encouraging run back last time out is likely to leave Unaccompanied spot on for this assignment but you rule out a Martin runner this week at your peril.

The feature race of the day is the Guinness Handicap in which the Harry Rogers-trained Solo Performer is the pick under Connor King.

As of the start of today's proceedings King was still looking for his first Galway winner but the 18-year-old, who is blazing a trail in the race to be champion apprentice, could break his duck here in this €110,000 contest.

Over jumps, the Galway Blazers is one of the big races of this week and this certainly will be a survival of the fittest, the bravest, the hardiest and probably the greatest mudlark.

However, few of these would be exactly looking for these type of conditions and it is just going to come down to who it suits best and with a light weight on his back to help, I think it could be the Mouse Morris-trained Bruff who is the mount of Niall 'Slippers' Madden.

Madden was second in Wednesday's Galway Plate for JP McManus who also owns Bruff but he has twice won the Blazers with Wins Now in 2010 and Half Barrell in 2006. He could well notch up a third this afternoon.

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