Line Drummer will not miss a beat for O'Brien
I hate to sound like a broken old record, but you can't talk about the Galway Festival without mentioning Dermot Weld, and every one of his horses, including the outsiders, demand respect.
His success at the Festival is unrivalled and he came up trumps again in 2011, saddling no less than 17 winners from 39 horses with a level-stakes profit of over 16 points.
The Curragh-based handler modestly plays it down, but his record at the course is not just pot luck, and many of his horses are trained with this course in mind.
Galway is quite unique and the steep incline at the finish has caught out many horses (and jockeys) over the years that were unprepared for how tough it actually is.
On the chase course, the final two fences are the closest you'll see anywhere in the world, and given the choice, I'll always opt for a jockey that knows Ballybrit well, rather than a rookie.
Lasting seven days, it's one of the longest racing festivals in the world, so pace yourself (on all fronts) if you want to see it out.
We have a seven-race card to kick off the action this afternoon and, while I won't win any awards for originality here, the nap of the day has got to be the Aidan O'Brien-trained Line Drummer in the Claregalwayhotel.ie (C & G) E.B.F. Maiden (5.0). Line Drummer's price is restrictive at 8/11, but the Galileo colt is bred for success and is a half-brother to several winners in France.
His debut maiden race was actually quite competitive where he finished second to stablemate The Ferryman and, although he looked a little green in the opening stages, he shaped up well when he got into stride and a strong finish was a promise of more to come.
For something priced a little bigger, consider Weld's Encrypted Message in the Galway Oyster Hotel Handicap (6.40) at 11/4. He's only raced three times but his versatility and toughness have impressed, winning once on soft and placing on both good and heavy. He won last time over seven furlongs but he appeared to want further, so a mile and a half on this difficult course will be right up his street.
4.30 Teach Nua
5.0 Line Drummer (nap)
5.35 False Economy (e/w)
6.10 Money Spider
6.40 Encrypted Message
7.10 Cul Baire