Galway preview: Mazagran could stall Saltonstall’s historic treble bid

Joseph O’Brien’s unknown quantity could have potential Group race quality

Gavin Ryan on Saltonstall (right, white cap) inches out Tom Madden on Njord (red and white cap) at the last to win the Colm Quinn BMW Mile Handicap at the Galway Festival in 2020. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Gavin Ryan on Saltonstall (right, white cap) inches out Tom Madden on Njord (red and white cap) at the last to win the Colm Quinn BMW Mile Handicap at the Galway Festival in 2020. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

 

Saltonstall has festival history in his sights on Tuesday when bidding for a unique hat-trick in Galway’s day two feature.

The Ado McGuinness-trained star takes a shot at three-in-a-row in the €100,000 Colm Quinn BMW Mile.

Under its various guises – including when run as the ‘McDonogh’ – four horses have managed to twice win the ultra-competitive handicap.

Pinch Hitter managed it back to back in 1981-82 while Riven Light did the same in 2017-18 prior to Saltonstall scoring for the last two years.

The ultra-consistent grey Vastonea emerged on top in 2012 and 2014 and was an admirable third in between.

No horse, however, has managed to carve out a singular place in Galway Festival lore by securing a hat-trick so the odds suggest Saltonstall not only has to face the gruelling Ballybrit hill but also has a statistical mountain to climb.

One of a trio of seven-year -old veterans lining up, he is rated third best of McGuinness’s five-strong team in the race by some bookmakers.

Having won official ratings of 89 and 96, Saltonstall is now on 105 although Sam Ewing’s claim will be valuable and that mark is a drop from a career high 111.

Saltonstall also has a single-figure draw but perhaps his biggest plus for many will be his proven track form.

Jessica Harrington won’t need reminding of that since she saddled the second, third and fourth last year.

Beaten a whisker in 2020, Njord is back under topweight while Tauran Shaman is also likely to figure prominently again.

In comparison the Joseph O’Brien-trained Mazagran is very much an unknown quantity around here or most anywhere else.

Having failed to score in four starts for Andre Fabre in France, the four-year-old was then sent to be campaigned in the Middle East where he won twice.

Mazagran only pitched up in Ireland earlier this month when he could hardly have won any easier at Limerick.

Having dwelt at the start he eased through to score by three lengths and looking worth every bit of a subsequent 12lb penalty.

Mazagran shapes like a potential Group horse racing here off a mark of 94. Any ease in conditions will be fine and being drawn 10 of 18 should give Shane Crosse options from the gate.

Aidan O’Brien relies on the three-year-old Horoscope for a race he has never won before. That’s an all but historic statistic on the domestic front but not for the first time in a big handicap his son could ultimately beat him to the punch.

Tuesday’s black type action in Galway is the Listed Corrib Stakes which was won last year by the subsequent Group One heroine Champers Elysees.

The 2019 winner Surrounding is back for another crack at it but has been drawn wide in the 16-runner field.

Examination of the recent Cairn Rouge Stakes at Killarney could prove key and Emaniya did best of these on that occasion.

Neptune Rock was fourth to Mehnah in Killarney having been short of room at an important point and could be value to set up a potential O’Brien big-race double.

The Ballydoyle team run four in all at Ballybrit including Anthony Van Dyck’s sister Twinkle in a juvenile maiden with a pedigree for throwing up future classic winners.

However, there are two Derby winners taking their chance for them too on the first day of the Goodwood extravaganza.

Last year’s Epsom Derby hero Serpentine (Ryan Moore) is joined by the 2020 Irish Derby winner Santiago in the Group One Goodwood Cup.

They are accompanied by their stable companion Amhran Na Bhfiann as well as Donnacha O’Brien’s Emperor Of The Sun for a race where the deposed Ascot champion Stradivarius tries to make it a remarkable five-in-a-row.

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