It is about time Silver Concorde started to replicate his fine Flat form over hurdles and I am hoping he can start the process this evening by winning the opener. If he does just that, and comes out of the race in good nick, we will have a crack at the Guinness Galway Hurdle tomorrow but let’s take it one step at a time and get today out of the way first.
It goes without saying that Silver Concorde has a better record on the Flat than he does over hurdles. He won the November Handicap at Leopardstown last year off a mark of 91 and you’d have to say he was a little unlucky in the Chester Cup when he flew home to take third. I know he has yet to win over hurdles, but you have to remember that this will only be his fifth try and two of his four runs so far were in Grade 1s.
The one worry I have for him today is the ground and I wouldn’t like to see any more rain. He is a completely different horse on top of the ground – I cannot emphasise that enough. I don’t want to even think about the Galway Hurdle until he gets today out of the way so let’s hope everything goes according to the script today and then we can start to dream.
Dr Lambe was keen to have a runner in the Galway Plate (5.30) so Three Kingdoms has come back to me and we’re in the mix for the big one today. He was actually second for me in a Flat maiden at this meeting back in 2012 under Jane Mangan and went on to win his maiden at Galway that September. He did well for John Ferguson, winning six times including a Grade 2, and I feel we have a sporting chance today.
He is a funny sort of horse in that he takes a bit of knowing. With that in mind, we booked Brian Hayes who has already won twice over fences on him. He has never won over a trip this far but I think he will stay and he is in good form. He is actually entered up a couple of times this week and he could run in the Ladbrokes Handicap Hurdle on Saturday all being well. He is 11lb lower over hurdles.
We have won the 1m4f maiden (4.45) for the last two years on the trot and A Shin Kildare gives us a realistic chance of making it three in a row. Finny [Maguire] won on Whitey O’Gwaun and Time To Inspire and we have him on our side again today. He’s a good lad.
A Shin Kildare is a filly we always liked and she ran a lovely race first time out at the Curragh in a 1m2f maiden. The step up in trip shouldn’t be a problem and she seems to have learned from the Curragh. I think she has a good chance and stall one is always a help no matter what race it is at Galway.
We’ve two chances in the 1m maiden (6.40) but I wouldn’t be getting overly excited about either of then. Pat [Smullen] had the choice and picked The Moore Factor. He’s well exposed to be honest but he did run well in the good 7f maiden behind True Solitaire on the opening night last year. He seems to be beaten fair and square at Gowran last time so it is hard to get overly enthusiastic about his chance. Leigh [Roche] rides Creme De La and she makes her handicap debut.
Originally Published in the Racing Post