Galway is the venue for what promises to be a fantastic seven-race card on Wednesday. Phill Anderson has picked out three selections for the Irish action.
Gabynako @ 11/1
Sir Antonino @ 1/1
Unanswered @ 1/1
The feature event on day three of the Galway Festival is the 22-runner Galway Plate and with no more rain in the weather forecast, the ground should be ideal for Gabynako.
Gavin Cromwell's sole representative really found his form again on decent ground in the spring, finishing runner-up in the Arkle before a respectable third in the two-mile Grade 1 novice at the Punchestown Festival. He shaped like a step back up in trip would yield improvement in both of those outings.
He gets more of a stamina test here, and the return to this venue will hold no fears having gone close on chase debut when narrowly denied by the subsequent Grand National winner, Noble Yeats.
The seven-year-old's jumping has improved plenty since that day too and more time at his fences over this sort of trip should yield further progress.
The 90-day absence since his last run isn't a major concern, having posted his career best effort off a similar break in this year's Arkle and with more upside than most in this field, he warrants plenty of respect dropping from Grade 1 company.
Trainer Gordon Elliott has won three of the last six renewals of this contest and his progressive six-year-old, Ash Tree Meadow, may be the main danger to the selection. He's one of three runners for Cullentra House.
The three-year-old handicap later on the card seems to have a lack of front runners and it might be worth taking a chance on Sir Antonino, who bounced back to form with a maiden success at Limerick last time.
He seemed to enjoy a switch of tactics when winning last time out, making nearly all the running and his wide draw (11) here isn't a major concern with what looks like a lack of pace in the race.
The handicapper has leniently left him on the same mark, and with potential of more to come at this slightly longer trip, the son of Galileo looks capable of going well for a yard running at a 23% strike-rate in recent weeks.
The finale on the card is a typically competitive Galway handicap but Unanswered is the one to beat if he continues on his upward trajectory.
He's won his last four starts (three on the Flat, one over hurdles) and he won a Killarney handicap with plenty in hand when last seen a fortnight ago. The margin of that success was roughly three lengths but he was good value for that distance, only pushed out in the closing stages, and a 7lb rise from the assessor looks on the lenient side.
With the potential of more to come, particularly stepping back up in trip, he may be able to continue his winning sequence with a handy draw (7) to work with in a big field.