Galway Festival day two preview: Vastonea a Topaz Mile gem
Vastonea looks decent value to land the Topaz Mile Handicap on the second day of the Galway Festival (18.50) for a third time.
The Kevin Prendergast trained gelding first won the race in 2012 when beating Pintura by 1/2 a length off a mark of 89, and finished a decent third in the 2013 renewal behind Brendan Bracken off a rating of 96.
Vastonea then duly took advantage of a drop in the weights to land this 7f contest 12 months ago when running on strongly to beat Piri Wango by 3/4 of a length off 89.
This seven-year-old is now able to race off just 1lb higher, and that gives Vastonea major claims from a handicapping perspective.
The son of Verglas has also been given the same preparation as last year, having had four runs, and has clearly been brought along solely with this race in mind.
Vastonea also shaped better than the bare result suggests last time out under tender handling when sixth at Gowran Park having been poorly placed and, taking into account the 5lb claim of promising apprentice Gary Halpin, looks weighted to make a bold bid to further enhance his superb record in this contest.
In the other 7f handicap on an ultra-competitive seven-race card (19.50), the progressive Bobby Jean looks to have plenty going for her.
The filly has improved with each runs this season, winning two of her four starts, and is clearly going the right way.
In the last of those successes two starts back, Bobby Jean stayed on strongly from well off the pace to land a 1m contest at the Curragh with a shade more in hand than the winning margin of 1/2 a length suggests.
The four-year-old got put up another 7lb for that victory but showed that her revised mark of 73 was not beyond her when an excellent 3/4 length third at Leopardstown back in May.
Connections have since given Bobby Jean a break to freshen up, and the daughter of Jeremy is now reunited with Colm O’Donoghue, who partnered her to a runaway three length success on her seasonal reappearance and was also on board when she failed by just a neck to follow-up at Limerick.
Another plus is that Bobby Jean has bagged a good draw in stall four, and with underfoot conditions holding no fears everything looks in place for a big run.
17.15: Long Dog
17.45: Hash Brown
18.15: Kind Of Magic
18.50: Vastonea (NAP)
19.50: Bobby Jean (NB)
20.20: Crystal Pearl