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Galway Festival preview: Ted Veale weighted to strike

Ted Veale looks weighted to provide trainer Tony Martin with back-to-back successes in the valuable Connacht Hotel Handicap over 2m at Galway today (18.50).

Martin saddled Quick Jack to land a gamble in the race 12 months ago, and Ted Veal has a similar profile to his stablemate and carries the same colours of owner John Breslin.

The eight-year-old had some smart form on the level earlier in his career, including when a cracking fourth to Tiger Cliff in the 2013 running of the Ebor Handicap at York off a mark of 97.

This gelding’s has since developed into a useful hurdler/chaser and won a beginners’ chase at this meeting last year.

Ted Veale’s recent efforts over the jumps suggest he is as good as ever, and he has been given a big chance by the assessor now returned to the level.

The son of Revoque is able to race off a mark of just 85, and that is 7lb lower than when last seen in action on the flat and a career-low.

It makes Ted Veale look a potential handicap blot, and his shrewd handler has clearly laid him out for this contest.

HORSE RACING

In the 7f handicap (18.20), Cenotaph can take advantage of what looks a lenient mark to open his account at the fifth time of asking.

The Aidan O’Brien trained colt shaped with bags of promise on his sole run as a juvenile when runner-up to Endless Drama in a 17-runner maiden at Naas, and the winner is a very useful sort who finished runner-up to Gleneagles in the Irish 2000 Guineas and is now rated 117.

That is very strong form in the context of this contest and makes Cenotaph look potentially thrown-in at the weights off a mark of 80.

Although the three-year-old was unable to win off it on his handicap debut last time out when heavily-backed and finishing third to Have A Nice Day at the Curragh, Cenotaph was not given the best of rides and ran on strongly to be beaten just 1 1/4 lengths after being short of room at a vital stage.

It was an effort which suggested the son of War Front was ahead of his mark, and the winner has come out and won since to give the form a boost.

Selections:
17.15: Neverushacon
17.45: Eric The Grey
18.15: True Solitaire
18.50: Ted Veale (NAP)
19.20: Cenotaph (NB)
19.50: The Last Marju
20.20: Another Cyclone