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Meade to strike first with Bass; ALAN SWEETMAN TODAY'S BEST BETS IN IRELAND.

Byline: ALAN SWEETMAN

Today's bets Sam Bass 2.55 Galway 1pt win Laganbank 3.55 Galway 1pt win King Of Aran 4.25 Galway 1pt win GALWAY kicks off its three-day meeting today and, although the card looks like being particularly profitable for champion jump trainer Willie Mullins, first blood could go to former title-holder Noel Meade.

The County Meath trainer's Sam Bass, a narrow winner from a Weld-trained favourite at the festival meeting here last month, makes his jumps debut in the Anglo Printers Maiden Hurdle (2.55).

Jumping inexperience should not be a problem as Meade's youngsters are intensively schooled from an early stage and the Alhaarth gelding was a superior performer on the Flat to the Tommy Stack-trained Whatever It Takes, who finished third in the first juvenile hurdle of the season at Roscommon this month.

Mullins supplies three likely short-priced favourites on the card - Laganbank in the 2m2f maiden hurdle (3.55), Scotsirish in the conditions chase (5.25) and Robin Angevin in the bumper (5.55).

All three have strong credentials but, on the basis he might be available at a shade of odds-against, Laganbank is the most appealing from a punting point of view.

Second on his hurdling debut at Ballinrobe in May, Laganbank gained a second bumper win at Killarney last month, a race that was supposed to be a stepping-stone to a hurdles run at the Galway festival.

He missed that race through injury, but if fully recovered he should master Dingaling and Serein, who could manage only a remote third and fourth behind Galileo's Choice in that same festival contest.

With bookmakers fearing a Mullins benefit, their plight might worsen if Charles Byrnes and his supporters pile on last-time-out Cork winner Adropaupep in the O'Leary Insurances Handicap Hurdle (4.25). However, the mare has gone up 9lb for that victory under Paul Townend, who will be in opposition on King Of Aran.

Admittedly, trainer Michael Grassick has been going through a very lean spell, with no success since King Of Aran won at Dundalk in March, but this dependable Flat performer could be the one to end the losing streak.
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Geographic Code:4EUIR
Date:Aug 27, 2011
Words:359
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