3 things to look out for on Day One of the Galway Festival

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1) A Walsh/Mullins winning start

A bit like in the opening race of the Cheltenham Festival, the curtains of the Galway Festival are usually drawn by Ruby Walsh and Willie Mullins.

The pair teamed up to take the meeting’s opener last year with Bachasson, while Mullins trained the 2014 winner in McKinley too.

Walsh rode home first in the two editions prior to that, so between them they certainly have form to follow in the 17:15.

They have our 2/9 favourite Muthaza as their entry this time around.

2) A long-priced Connaght Hotel Handicap winner

The feature race on the first day comes in the form of the 19:20 Handicap, where history has tended to favour double-figure winners.

Only three of the 10 winners since 2006 have been shorter than 10/1 in the betting, which appears to rule out market-leading pair Time To Inspire and Renneti this time around.

Instead look for Benkei to come home in front at 10/1 with star amateur rider Jamie Codd on board.

3) Follow Gary Halpin’s rides

Halpin only has three winners and two places at in the past three years at Galway, but that trio of victories makes him the 10th most successful flat jockey at the course in that time.

He has also claimed those honours in just 17 rides, which gives him the joint-third highest strike rate on the list.

Putting a £1 on each of the 17 outings Halpin has made in those three years would have put you in £16 of profit by the end of proceedings and his best chance of adding to his Galway tally appears to be 8/1 shot Spruce Meadows in the 18:50.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.