Today sees the start of a marathon, dear reader: a marathon of betting, a marathon of races, and a marathon of socializing and drinking for those there present. Today is the start of a full week of craic from Ireland's most popular race meeting, the Galway Festival.
It runs from this evening until next Sunday 1st August, and features over forty races. The Galway Festival is truly a meeting for the battle hardened!
Now, here's the rub. Unlike other shorter Festival meetings, it is very difficult for Galway to sustain quality through forty-plus contests. And they know this, and don't try to hide it. Instead, the aim at Galway is to provide competitive racing at various stages on the quality scale.
And this has helped me and my man, Tony Mac, to pull together a report that highlights the core profiles of twelve races across the seven days. There is too much chaff in amongst those golden ears of wheat to look at every event so we decided to look at - generally speaking - two races per day.
If you've ever seen a trends report, you'll be familiar with the format, and if you saw the Irish Oaks meeting report we produced, you'll know exactly the format. We've broken races down into primary and secondary trends.
By so doing, we're able to look at what we consider to be the most material historical pointers and draw up a shortlist for each race. That shortlist might have as few as a single runner on it, or it might have five or six.
We then apply the secondary trends to try to condense the shortlist to one or two horses. In applying this approach to the Irish Oaks meeting, 9/1 winner Latin Love was singled out as the sole horse on the shortlist, and cruised home. We also highlighted the chances of Air Chief Marshal (5/1) and Snow Fairy (7/2) in our shortlists.
The Galway Festival 2010 Trends report is available as an instant download, and costs â‚¬9.95 (about Â£8.33 in Her Majesty's currency). As well as the report, you'll also get daily updates on the special members' page, and a free bonus report.
The bonus report is worth the subscription on its own, featuring as it does a series of trainers whose favourites you'd typically do well to oppose. It's been put together by one of my business students, William O'Brien, and if you're of a laying disposition, this will be a very useful weapon over the next seven days.
If you'd like to know more, please click on over to here, where you'll be able to download a free 'Lite' version of the trends guide, and to sign up for the full week's information should you so wish.
I'm quietly confident that we've got the winner in our first race tonight. It's an 18 runner novice hurdle, so anything more than quiet confidence or cautious optimism would be careless. But, nevertheless, I'm hoping for that race to springboard our profits at the meeting.
Now then, let's take a quick look back at the weekend. The clear highlight - and indeed one of the highlights of the season - was the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes, a Group 1 over a mile and a half.
The race featured the seven length winner of the English Derby, Workforce; the winner of the Irish Derby, Cape Blanco; three times (!) Arc second, Youmzain; Hong Kong Vase winner, Daryakana; and, rapidly improving Harbinger.
The market was all about Sir Michael Stoute, with his Derby winner put in the 8/11 favourite, and Harbinger clear second best at 4/1. I have to admit that I considered Workforce way too short in a top class field like this, and laid him to win a hundred quid. I also had a score on Cape Blanco to win.
History shows that Workforce did not win, so I collected my lay bet. Nor did Cape Blanco, so I lost that win bet. Both of these factoids are utterly irrelevant when put in the context of the actual winner, Harbinger, who was one of the most impressive winners I've seen. Ever.
I'm talking about a performance that puts Harbinger's ELEVEN length triumph - in a new course record - in the same bracket as Dubai Milennium's eight length victory in the Prince of Wales's Stakes at Royal Ascot in 2000. Or that of Arazi when he took off in the Breeders Cup Juvenile in 1991 from stall 14 in the car park!
If you're not sure what I'm talking about, check out these videos...
Harbinger wins the King George
Arazi (from last to first - wow!)
Harbinger is now a best priced 15/8 to win the Arc in October and, frankly, who's going to beat him? The only horse that has a chance in my opinion is the Frenchie, Bekhabad, who is a serious racehorse.
Forget Fame and Glory. And 8/1 Workforce (Stan James)? Don't make me laugh! He might never win another race, and he certainly won't win the Arc. You heard it here first. (Or second, or third... whatever 😉
I can't promise anything as spectacular as that at Galway this week, but we'll be looking to bag a few winners from our selected dozen races. If you want to join us, you can register here.
The best of luck!