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Four horses to follow from the 2022 Galway Festival

Timeform highlight four horses who caught the eye at last week’s Galway Festival and earned the Horse In Focus Flag.

The Horse In Focus Flag is used by Timeform reporters to highlight runners who caught the eye and are likely to be of interest next time. Here are four who caught the eye at the Galway Festival.

DUTCH SCHULTZ

Third, 2m1f handicap, Monday 25 July

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Last seen over hurdles five months earlier, Dutch Schultz ran a cracker on his return in the valuable Connacht Hotel Premier Handicap for amateur riders over an extended two miles. Dutch Schultz found only the Willie Mullins pair Echoes In Rain and Maze Runner too good for him in the field of 20 but was arguably unlucky not to finish even closer than the two and a quarter lengths he was beaten at the line.

Driven before the home turn, he was hampered a furlong out and forced to switch as a result before staying on. Lightly raced both on the Flat and over hurdles, he won a handicap on the level in heavy ground at Gowran last autumn and is unexposed as a stayer. He’s one to keep an eye out for in the coming weeks. Gavin Cromwell

SHOOT FIRST

Runner-up, 2m6½f handicap hurdle, Wednesday 27 July

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Having just his fifth start over hurdles, Shoot First attracted support for his handicap debut and while he took his form up a notch he wasn’t seen to best effect in this 17-runner contest, with his conditional rider making a comeback after a lengthy injury-related absence.

Racing off the pace, Shoot First made headway early on the final circuit before meeting some trouble two out but he kept on well in the straight to be nearest at the finish, six and a half lengths behind winner Rock Road. The winner of a maiden hurdle at Tipperary over two and a half miles on his previous start, Shoot First benefited from the step up in trip at Galway but three miles will suit him better still and there’s further improvement to come from him. charles byrnes

LIBBY

Third, 1½m handicap, Thursday 28 July

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Libby was having her first start for Joseph O’Brien having shown some ability in four outings at two for Phillip Makin and shaped well upped markedly in trip for her handicap debut. She was beaten only a length into a third behind Star Image and Pale Moonlight who were separated by just a nose and it’s likely she would have finished closer still to the front pair given a clearer passage.

Libby still had plenty to do over two furlongs out in a race run at just an ordinary gallop but made good headway entering the straight and kept on well after being forced to switch entering the final furlong. A daughter of Highland Reel, Libby is totally unexposed over a mile and a half and looks something to back next time. Joseph O’Brien

WHITE CAVIAR

Fifth, 1½m fillies’ maiden, Friday 29 July

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Racing well off the pace, debutante white caviar still had plenty to do three furlongs out in this big-field fillies’ maiden, but she finished well in fifth to pull clear of the remainder in a contest which went to Jessica Harrington’s filly Willamette Valley with favorite River Rain, a stablemate of White Caviar’s , in fourth.

As well as in the race itself, White Caviar took the eye on pedigree as she’s a full sister to her stable’s 2020 St Leger winner Galileo Chrome. She looks open to significant improvement and should be hard to beat in a similar contest next time. Joseph O’Brien



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