Martin duo to spearhead spirited defence of Guinness Handicap at Galway

Newtown Anner Stud send three to post in attempt to retain fifth day feature

Artful Artist scooped last year’s Guinness Handicap and his owners,

Newtown Anner Stud Farm, appear determined to hold on to the €100,000 fifth day feature with a trio of runners which also includes Artful Artist’s stable companion Golden Spear, who could provide the betting value.

Tony Martin trains that pair while the Newton Anner owners, Maurice and Patricia Regan, can also call on the John Oxx-trained Cailini Alainn, in a fiercely competitive 15-runner field.

Artful Artist is 8lbs higher in the ratings compared to his victory last year, while the consistent Cailini Alainn has been upped 6lbs for her Leopardstown victory earlier this month, the form of which has been boosted since by Askmour.


In contrast, Golden Spear’s rating stalled after a lack-lustre effort at the Curragh last time but ground conditions will be very different this time and this one’s initial flat effort for Martin was a very encouraging second to Majenta on easier ground at the Curragh in May.

Willie Mullins drops his Royal Ascot winner Clondaw Warrior back in trip, while Dermot Weld will rely on last year's runner-up Show Court who should also relish easier going. However Golden Spear can maintain Wayne Lordan's excellent festival run this week.

Good Tradition has made it to his fourth year with just three runs under his belt and Dermot Weld’s persistence with him can pay off with a third career victory in the final conditions event.

Stand out

Certerach’s rating is a stand out here but it’s a while since Michael Halford’s stayer showed his best and he looks vulnerable to an improver like Good Tradition, who won on soft going at Killarney in May.

Weld can also supply the two-year-old maiden winner in Palmetto Dunes, who was set a huge task on his Leopardstown debut behind the two winners, Sanus Per Aquam and Port Douglas, yet wound up not beaten by too far.

Galway’s dominant trainer gave Brooch her debut at the festival last year and another Juddmonte newcomer, Pictogram, is scheduled to start his career in this evening’s mile and a half maiden.

Van Schaick already boasts a 79 rating, also sports first-time blinkers and could provide the Weld hope with a tough challenge.

Gambling Girl has flattered to deceive at times in her hurdling career, but there was much to like about her reappearance behind Silver Concorde at Killarney and she can prove a major player in her first handicap start over flights in the opener.

Brian O'Connor

Brian O'Connor

Brian O'Connor is the racing correspondent of The Irish Times. He also writes the Tipping Point column