Galway Hurdle betting tips: Le Richebourg gets vote in hot Festival handicap

The Galway Hurdle betting tips given by Horsebetting.com experts include Le Richebourg, Whiskey Sour and Ivanovich Gorbatov, who are all put up each-way for the feature 2m handicap hurdle on Thursday, 2 August. Read our 2018 Galway Hurdle betting tips preview for more on the feature race on day four of this great racing Festival in Ireland.

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Odds
15/2
Selection
Le Richebourg
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Odds
8/1
Danger
Whiskey Sour
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Odds
14/1
E/W
Ivanovich Gorbatov
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Le Richebourg up for the Galway Hurdle

Trainer Joseph O’Brien saddles five of major owner JP McManus’s nine horses in the 20-runner field for the Galway Hurdle this year, and Le Richebourg looks to be the pick of them in this feature 2m Grade A handicap on day four of the seven-day Festival this Thursday (16:35).

There’s more than one stable companion for this five-year-old son of Network to worry about, including the 2017 winner Tigris River. Unlike that rival, though, Le Richebourg still looks unexposed after just nine career outings of which he has won three all on good or yielding going and run into the frame on a further three occasions.

He also has a course and distance victory from the Galway Festival in a novice hurdle last year. Le Richebourg justified favouritism when eased while in complete command on the run-in to land the spoils by five lengths, but he was value for more than the winning margin.

McManus’s retained rider Barry Geraghty was on board that day and partners him again, having had the unenviable choice of eight others for his boss. That speaks volumes and Le Richebourg is sure to act far better on this ground than the soft going he was campaigned on during last winter.

The return to a sounder surface is why he is taken to reverse the form of his runner-up spot behind Whiskey Sour in the Grade 1 Future Champions Novice Hurdle from Leopardstown over Christmas and when well down the field in the County Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.

Le Richebourg has also been eased 5lb by the handicapper from that previous outing to an official rating of 140. He goes well on the ground and may have been specifically laid out by his wily connections for this, so he gets the tentative vote in a typically wide-open renewal.

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Whiskey Sour will be dangerous

Willie Mullins has saddled two previous winners of the Galway Hurdle and the team at Closutton are in terrific shape as ever, so the aforementioned Whiskey Sour may be the pick of his sextet entered this year.

This five-year-old is clearly very versatile as regards ground as he landed two flat handicaps at the Festival 12 months ago and went on to score by 19 lengths in that Grade 1 novice hurdle over the festive period. Whiskey Sour’s 3 1/2 lengths third to Mohaayed in the County sets the standard here as far as British form is concerned.

Although well-beaten by Samcro at the first-ever Dublin Racing Festival and in two other Grade 1s at Punchestown following Cheltenham, he returned to action with a prep run for this on the flat at Royal Ascot. Whiskey Sour was a creditable 3 1/4 lengths fifth to Lagostovegas in the Ascot Stakes last time out.

He should strip fitter for that at a track which clearly suits. Despite stable jockey Ruby Walsh opting to ride Max Dynamite, who he finished ninth on last year, it’s Whiskey Sour that looks the best bet of the Mullins’ battalions this time around.

Ivanovich Gorbatov another worth an each-way bet

As noted above, there’s more than one McManus iron in the fire for O’Brien junior here and Ivanovich Gorbatov has dropped to a career low jumps mark that could be dangerous. Although the six-year-old hasn’t won a race since landing the 2016 Triumph Hurdle, he is another with each-way claims here in a contest where you can make a case for most.

His Cheltenham Festival victory came while in the care of his current handler’s father Aidan and Ivanovich Gorbatov beat the likes of Apple’s Jade, Footpad, Let’s Dance and Frodon in the Triumph. Those have all become top notch horses and the form is one of the strongest renewals in recent times.

Another notable scalp he took even earlier was Torcedor in a Navan maiden as a three-year-old on the flat. Bearing in mind that one has since placed twice behind Stradivarius in Group 1 stayers’ events, Ivanovich Gorbatov cannot have showed his best in National Hunt.

It’s very interesting that connections returned him to the level for a prep run when an eye-catching 2 1/4 lengths third to Wicklow Brace over 1m 6f at Killarney last time out. Blinkers are also reapplied; so, if the headgear has the desired effect, he ought to be putting in a better showing.

Something may have been amiss with Ivanovich Gorbatov but, should he rediscover his form and run up to his early promise, he should make the frame in an admittedly fiercely competitive renewal of the puzzle that is the Galway Hurdle.

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