Galway Plate Day Preview
Dermot Weld hasn’t been as successful as many would have thought at this point with only three winners on the board but his Tandem is likely to add to that tally in the opening 2m maiden hurdle. A 105 rated flat horse, he should be hard to beat if jumping adequately and his course form is a big plus. He will need to settle, so a strong gallop would suit. Mick Halford is less known on the national hunt scene but his Castle Guest could develop into a smart hurdler with a high flat rating of 100. He jumped nicely on his hurdling debut at Gowran Park in a slow run race and he should settle better than that day with Fruits of Molly and Poetic Lord likely to make the pace.
18 Mares go to post for the 2m Mares Handicap Hurdle with Queen Alphabet an unlikely runner having finished second yesterday. Champion Jockey Tony McCoy rides Beach of Falesa who is a very difficult ride as he pulls very hard early giving her a lesser chance of getting home. A very strong gallop will suit which could be set by tear away runner Dazzling Suzie. Elizabeth Doyle’s Cacheofgold might not be badly treated by a mark of 107 and Johnny Burkes 5lb claim is invaluable.
The Following race is another wide open handicap hurdle and Tony Martin’s Greatness could go well off 9-7 and taking Shane Shorthalls 7lb claim into account. He’s only 7lb higher than Kilbeggan where he beat subsequent winner The Parishioner. He was badly outpaced that day, so today’s stiff 2m 4f should see him to better effect.
Dermot Weld looks to have found a good opportunity for 89 rated Whitey O’Gwaun to get off the mark in the 1m 4f Q.R Maiden. He should be a different horse over this distance having ran over an inadequate 7f last time. Colin Bowe’s mare Little King Robin is likely to go a good clip but might have to settle for the runner-up spot.
Jp McManus owns 7 of the 22 horses going to post for the feature race on the day, the Galway Plate over 2m 6f. A.P McCoy has opted to ride dual Cheltenham festival winner Alderwood who is only 9lb higher than his easy success in the Grand Annual. He is the class act in the field and has won twice over 22f before albeit they were over hurdles. At the other end of the weights, former runner-up in this race, Wise Old Owl, could go well for Mark Walsh. He finished a well clear second behind Blazing Tempo in the 2011 renewal and is 3lb lower today. He made a nice reappearance at Punchestown recently and that should leave him spot on for this. Of the English raiders Paul Nicholls Caid du Berlais makes most appeal.
The draw plays a huge part in the handicaps here and in box 1, Connacht Council could go well for Willie McCreey and Leigh Roche in the extended 1 mile handicap at 6.05. He’s dropped down to a mark of 70 and a stiff extended mile should suit. Dermot Weld’s Moonbi Creek has a terrible drawn in stall 15 and will find it tough. Andy Olivers’ Halul is unexposed and is interesting.
11 runners go to post for the following extended mile 3yo handicap at 6.40 and Dermot Weld’s Sarafiyla is going to be popular off of a mark of 86. However I’m not sure she beat much that last time at Leopardstown and is inexperienced. Ruler of France is interesting for David Wachman, who had a shock winner in Legatissimo last night. A return to this firmer surface should suit and Wayne Lordan rides.
It will be disappointing if Dermot Weld doesn’t end the day with another winner and he runs the Khalid Abdullah debutant Brooch in the finale. Joanna Morgan’s Dunchess Andoarra should chase her home.
By Sean Jackson / Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire
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