A pair of cross-channel raiders try to bridge a 39-year gap in Galway’s Day Two feature and if ever a horse deserved to win it is Baraweez. Unfortunately for him ‘deserve’ rarely comes into it around Ballybrit and What’s The Story could prove the evening glory.
Just one British-based runner has ever won the €120,000 Colm Quinn BMW Mile and Majestic Nurse managed it in 1979 in the days when it was known as the McDonogh.
No one has tried harder to change that trend in recent years than Yorkshire trainer Brian Ellison and in particular his veteran star Baraweez has become a Galway stalwart.
The eight-year-old has run twice each year at the last four festivals, first contesting the ferociously competitive big Mile contest and then lining up in the Ahoonara Handicap at the weekend.
In 2015 he finished runner-up on the Tuesday and won the Ahoonora. The year before he was third in the Mile and he’s been sixth and fifth respectively in the race over the last two years.
Last season Ellison also saddled Dream Walker to finish third in the Tuesday highlight behind Riven Light. That horse is back for another go too, although now in the care of Jarlath Fahey. Riven Light and the 2013 winner Brendan Brackan are other familiar faces lining up.
Those two former winners have had contrasting luck with the draw. Brendan Brackan is on the rail in stall one while Riven Light makes his return from serious injury off topweight of 10.1 and a near-impossible 18 of 18 draw.
The draw hasn’t been kind to Baraweez either in 16, nor for Aidan O’Brien’s three-year-old contender Bond Street who’s in 14.
It’s too simplistic to maintain a double-digit draw is too difficult to overcome. Riven Light broke from 10 last year. Brendan Brackan did too five years ago. But a low break is usually a help around here a box four slot is just one of a number of positives to What’s The Story’s claims at a decent price.
Scottish trainer Keith Dalgleish has never had a Galway runner before but the 35-year-old ex-jockey has established a shrewd reputation from his Lanarkshire base.
What's The Story belied big odds to run a fine race in Royal Ascot's Hunt Cup when he wasn't helped by a bump outside the furlong pole. Adaptable in terms of ground he will also sport first-time headgear and having Billy Lee on his back is another plus.
A worry is his lack-lustre effort after the Hunt Cup at York. However that was over an extended ten furlongs and the drop back in trip should help.
Having to concede substantial weight to Bond Street and Rionach won’t be easy but it is 14 years since a three year old managed to win this. Another older performer, Saltonstall, also ran in the Hunt Cup and has a good draw in two so may prove a more potent threat.
Exchange Rate and St Stephens Green carry Annette Mee’s colours in the opening two races and can provide some popular local success.
Exchange Rate won an amateur flat race at the track last year and got his jumping career under way this summer when winning over hurdles at Wexford. If he wasn’t overly impressive on that occasion then Galway can play to his strengths more.
St Stephens Green gets his career over fences under way in the following Beginners Chase having won his last start on the flat at the Curragh in May.
Aidan O’Brien’s newcomer in the juvenile fillies maiden is no less than full sister to the Irish Derby and Leger hero Capri. Such a pedigree rarely plays second-fiddle but Enticed does look the Ballydoyle number two behind Hermosa.
She boasts racecourse experience and hardly falls down in the pedigree stakes either being a full sister to Hydrangea.