Erik has it all to do inclash with Truckers
Published 26/07/2011 | 05:00
Just the one ride for me at Galway tonight, but at least it's a decent one.
Prince Erik, which is trained by Dermot Weld, runs for the first time since finishing down the field in the Irish Grand National at Fairyhouse on Easter Monday. If he comes back to his best, he should have a real chance in the Latin Quarter Chase.
Although he was well beaten at Fairyhouse, the ground that day had been heavily watered and was patchy as a result. That didn't suit him at all, while the good ground that he will get here will be ideal.
We'll need to concede weight to all bar one of our opponents if we are to win, but Prince Erik has a bit of quality so he should at least leave that Fairyhouse run behind. Muirhead adds a touch of real class to the race on just his third start over fences.
Having not been beaten far on him when fifth in the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham in 2009, I know what he is capable of on his day. With the benefit of a nice pipe-opener over hurdles at Tipperary recently, he should also go well.
I think Truckers Delight is probably the one that we all have to beat, though. He comes out quite well at the weights on official ratings, and I wouldn't be too worried about him getting beaten at Wexford last time.
He was running nicely that day until he made a mistake two-out, before eventually finishing third. That will have left him spot on for this and, crucially, he never runs a bad race at Galway.
In the novice hurdle, Paul Carberry takes over on Noel Meade's London Bridge, a horse that I won on at Downpatrick a fortnight ago. That was London Bridge's second win on the trot, and I was very impressed with him.
He is obviously getting the hang of hurdling, but so too is Dermot Weld's Ballinrobe winner Sublime Talent. While London Bridge should run a big race, he must concede three pounds to Sublime Talent here -- that might just count against him.
In the Topaz Mile, Joanna Morgan's Moran Gra is going to take plenty beating. Richard Fahey travels Kyllachy Star from England, and he may be the main danger.
When the British Flat horses run here, they are often well handicapped because they run off the same mark that they would at home. Still, Joanna thinks a lot of Moran Gra, and she has a good seven-pound claimer booked in Ronan Whelan.
She had declared Moran Gra for the Group Three that Famous Name won at Leopardstown last week only to pull him out when the rain came because she didn't want him to have a hard race on soft ground. He had previously won a nice handicap at The Curragh over Derby weekend, and is a horse that is going the right way.
Willie Mullins' Dorset Square is another that I'd expect to go close tonight in the two-mile handicap. He has gone up six pounds for winning at Killarney, but he might still do, because he stays well and he will love the hill at Galway.
When I rode Dorset Square in the Prix La Barka at Auteuil in May, nothing went right. He travelled over badly, he didn't jump the French-style hurdles and he hated the soft ground. With two wins on the Flat since, he has proved that run to be all wrong.
Truckers Delight (5.35) and Moran Gra (6.45)