The opening 2m 5f maiden hurdle at 17.10 on Wednesday looks a competitive affair as always. Dermot Weld is represented by Days Without End who was third here before, finished second at the Punchestown Festival and had a good recent run on the Flat. However, Henry de Bromhead’s Dancing On My Own has some really good form behind Cheltenham Supreme Novices Hurdle winner Klassical Dream in graded races last season and that should be good enough to win this.
In the handicap hurdle over the same trip at 17.40, Castle North was very disappointing behind Generator City at Ballinrobe last week, when he seemed to fade tamely on the run to the line. It’s noteworthy that Willie Mullins has decided to go again and it wouldn’t be the biggest surprise to see him involved in the shake-up. It’s a puzzle of a race and the relatively unexposed West Coast Time for Joseph O’Brien and JJ Slevin. This son of Westerner has some good bumper form and could be the answer.
Dan Skelton sends over So Lonely to try win a decent prize in the 2m Mares Handicap Hurdle at 18.10 having been successful in the UK. This is harder and she doesn’t appear to have anything up her sleeve handicap-ratings wise. Stormy Tale has been performing well on the Flat and based on her jumps rating, could be competitive here. Tom Mullins’ Bercassa has been very consistent but has to give weight to my selection.
In the Flat maiden over 1m 4f at 18.45, Willie Mullins’ Buildmeupbuttercup has 20lbs in hand of Formal Order on ratings, yet only has to concede 6lbs to Johnny Murtagh’s three-year-old. Murtagh is very hopeful his charge can win, but the obvious ratings gap between could be the difference in Mullins’ favour.
Wednesday’s feature is the Galway Plate at 19.20. I’ve ridden in it a few times and it’s a rough and tumble affair and while I would love to see Black Corton run well for connections, I’m not sure a big field will suit him. Paul Nicholls has won the race before though, so knows what it takes.
Azzuri is one that interests me going up in trip. He won very well at Ayr and has won at Killarney so has previous form in Ireland when trained by Richard O’Brien. He is a strong traveller in his races and the guys involved will know how to party if he wins! One that I really hope gets a run is Movewithetimes who is second reserve at the moment. He needs two to drop out of the race and used to be trained by Nicholls, but is now with Enda Bolger.
He has some fantastic form in decent handicaps and is definitely has a live chance – but we’ll have to wait until Wednesday to be sure he’s going to run.
Of the others, it is hard to ignore the form of Mengli Khan who has to be involved if everything falls right for him.
Michael Halford’s Balefire won very nicely at Leopardstown and is worth chancing again in the three-year-old handicap over a mile at 20.00. Jim Bolger was unsure about running Leagan Gaeilge so soon after winning at Naas last week, so it’s interesting that he does. Balefire is my fancy though.
There’s up to 16 runners going to post in the 2m Flat handicap that ends the card at 20.30. Jessica Harrington’s Conron won a 2m Flat race at Clonmel before putting in another good over hurdles when second at Punchestown. She looks progressive and can defy a 12lb rise in the weights for that Clonmel victory.
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