All Eyes On The Big Prizes At Galway Next Week

With a rating of 162, Road To Riches has been handed 11st 10lbs and would be highest-rated horse to ever run in TheTote.com Galway Plate. Gordon Elliott, who has yet to win the race, is responsible for 12 of the 40 entries. Ten of those are owned by Gigginstown House Stud including the dual Grade 1 winner Clarcam who has been allotted 11st and is the highest weighted of the Elliott team.

With five entries, Henry de Bromhead holds the second strongest hand numerically and last year’s winner Shanahan’s Turn is set to carry 10st 13lbs as he bids to become the first back-to-back winner of the race since Ansar won for Dermot Weld in 2004 and 2005.

Willie Mullins has won TheTote.com Galway Plate only once before and he has entered three horses as he seeks to add to the 2011 success of the Paul Townend-ridden Blazing Tempo. The pick of the trio could be Alelchi Inois is a two-time course winner and he is set to carry 11st 1lb.

Trainer Mouse Morris has entered both the Grade 1 winning First Lieutenant (10st 9lbs) and Ravished (9st 11lbs) and another with two in the race is Joseph O’Brien who could be represented by Friday night’s Kilbeggan runner-up Carriganog and King Leon who went up 6lbs for Sunday’s Tipperary success. With four previous wins in the race, Dermot Weld is the most successful current trainer and he looks set to rely on Three Kingdoms who would shoulder 10st 11lbs. ‘Shark’ Hanlon’s Hidden Cyclone holds a number of entries at the Galway Festival and he would carry 11st 1lb if taking up this option.

Superb Story, winner of the Grade 3 Vincent O´Brien County Handicap Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival in March, features among the 39 entries for the Guinness Galway Handicap Hurdle on the fourth day of the Galway Festival tomorrow week. Trained by Dan Skelton, the five-year-old has been allotted 11st 7lbs and is one of four British entries for the €300,000 event.

This is another race Gordon Elliott has yet to win but he leads the home challenge with 10 entries, headed by his Punchestown festival winner Tempo Mac on 10st 10lbs and The Plan Man with 10st 9lbs.

Willie Mullins won the Guinness Galway Handicap Hurdle with Mystical City in 1996 and he has five entries, headed by Bamako Moriviere who is the early joint top-weight on 11st 10lbs. The champion trainer has also entered Max Dynamite (11st 3lbs) who was runner-up to the Tony Martin-trained Quick Jack in the race last year. Max Dynamite went on to win the Group 2 Weatherbys Hamilton Lonsdale Cup at York and finished second in the 2015 Melbourne Cup at Flemington last November.

Tony Martin won the race with the Tony McCoy-ridden Thomas Edison in 2014 and followed up with Quick Jack and Denis O’Regan last year. The latter is the other joint top-weight on 11st 10lbs this time while Ted Veale (11st 7lbs) and Pyromaniac, on 10st 13lbs, could also represent the stable.

Rookie trainer Joseph O’Brien has made two entries, both for owner JP McManus. Plinth, who has contested the last two renewals of the race for Joseph’s father Aidan, is set to carry 11st 1lb while Tigris River is currently on 10st 11lbs. Oh So Grumpy gave trainer Jessica Harrington a win in the race in 1994 and the Moone, County Kildare-based trainer could also be doubly represented this year with Modem and Rock The World, both on 10st 13lbs.

Dermot Weld has won the Guinness Galway Handicap Hurdle on three previous occasions, with Spanner, Strathline and Ansar in 1975, 1985 and 2001 respectively and Silver Concorde (10st 10lbs), the Champion Bumper winner at Cheltenham in 2014, is his sole entry on this occasion. Edward O’Grady could be represented by Time For Mabel (10st 10lbs) who was a good winner at Killarney last Thursday. O’Grady previously won the race with the Jonjo O’Neill-ridden Hard Tarquin in 1979.

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