There has been some rain over the weekend at Galway, and it should pay to side with horses who are versatile as regards ground requirements on the first day of the seven-day Festival in Ballybrit, on the West Coast of Ireland.
The Racing Post's Dave Randall selects his best bets ahead of the first seven races of the Festival on Monday evening:
5.40 Galway @ 1/1
5.40 Galway @ 1/1
Echoes In Rain
6.40 Galway @ 1/1
The Twelve Pins
8.20 Galway @ 1/1
The evening's action begins with an interesting extended 2m novices' hurdle (5.10) but it is hard to find a punting angle with the most likely winner HMS Seahorse an odds-on chance and his two most significant rivals, As Tears Go By and Gaoth Chuil, offering only the potential for a bet-to-nothing each-way.
There are three horses on the shortlist in the following big-field Easyfix Handicap Hurdle (5.40) over the same course-and-distance.
The claims of the seven-year-old mare Delightfantastic are straightforward enough. She is in the form of her life, having dotted up at Tipperary in a similar contest on yielding ground in June, and her subsequent 12lb rise is negated to a degree by the continuing association with jockey Harry Swan, who claims 7lb.
The son of the famous Irish jumps' jockey Charlie Swan is 2-12 (17%) when riding for John Walsh, who is 3-25 (12%) with his runners in handicap hurdles at Galway.
The dangers emanate from the same yard of Tony Martin.
The French-bred six-year-old Golf Marin carries the colours of J P McManus and showed signs of getting his act together on his ninth and 10th career starts at Punchestown and Tipperary in April and May.
The latest Tipperary third came in a better race over an intermediate trip and he should relish the prospect of a strongly-run contest over this shorter distance, but on a stiffer track.
Tony Martin is 10-72 (14%) in handicap hurdles at Galway and Mark Walsh is 15-107 (14%) when riding for the yard.
The potential curveball is Martin's perceived second-string Sil Ver Klass, who appears well treated reverting to hurdles on his first start since finishing third in a much better chase at Punchestown in April.
He is not formally put up as a saver here but it is definitely an option worth considering, particularly if the betting speaks in his favour.
In the feature 110,000 euros extended 2m Connacht Hotel (Q.R) Handicap (6.40) it is hard to resist a bet on the Willie Mullins-trained Echoes In Rain, the form pick from a seven-strong entry by the prolific Closutton handler, who won three consecutive runnings of this race between 2017 and 2019.
The case for the six-year-old mare by Authorized is clear.
On her penultimate start in April, she finished a three-length second to Honeysuckle in Punchestown's Champion Hurdle, registering a Racing Post Rating of 156 and a Topspeed figure of 143.
She reverted to the Flat when second in a 1m6f handicap at the Curragh in May and this is a good opportunity to go one place better, stepping up in trip from a mark of 87.
Patrick Mullins takes the ride for his father and is on record as having this particular race on his wish list before he hangs up his riding boots.
Jody Townend combined with Great White Shark to land Monday's feature for Willie Mullins in 2019 and her mount The Twelve Pins is bred for success in the concluding Monami Construction INH Flat Race (8.20) over an extended 2m.
Willie Mullins is 16-68 (24%) with his runners in bumpers at Galway and Jody Townend is 24-82 (29%) when riding for the yard.
Mullins has three entries but The Twelve Pins could represent some value, being by Beat Hollow, a sire who is 52-293 (18%) in National Hunt Flat races, and 2-6 in such races at Galway.
The four-year-old filly is a sister to winners Diamond Hill and Mt Leinster, and is closely related to Blackstairmountain out of a 1m6f winner.
Her pedigree is the most appealing among the newcomers in a race where those that have run already don't set a daunting standard.
By Dave Randall