Mullins hoping Bob is back
Patrick Mullins is thrilled to have picked up the ride on multiple Grade One winner Boston Bob in Wednesday's thetote.com Galway Plate.
The 10-year-old won both the Melling Chase at Aintree and the Punchestown Gold Cup in a fantastic end to the season before last, but failed to reach those heights during the last campaign.
He will have to concede weight to each of his rivals at Ballybrit and Mullins is hoping he can rediscover his zest.
He said: " It's a fantastic ride to pick up a ride in a race as prestigious as the Galway Plate and I'm very grateful to Andrea and Graham Wylie (owners) for giving me the opportunity.
"Boston Bob is a proper Grade One horse on his day. He has top weight, which makes life difficult, but it is quite a compressed handicap, with just over a stone between top and bottom.
"He didn't really spark last season, but his work at home has been encouraging, so we'll see what happens.
"Races like this tend to go to younger and more progressive horses, but if he can regain that spark, hopefully he'll give me a nice spin and you never know, maybe the dream could come true."
Boston Bob is one of five runners in the field for Patrick's father, Willie.
The champion trainer's team is headed by ante-post favourite Alechi Inois, the mount of Ruby Walsh.
Assessing the quintet, Patrick said: " Ruby has gone for Alechi Inois.
"He's won at the course before, so that is a big plus, and his warm-up race at Cork went very well.
"He has a very impressive run-to-win strike-rate and he ticks all the boxes.
"Indevan is not the most consistent of horses, but he wasn't that far behind Alechi Inois in the race at Cork.
"He has a little less weight than Alechi Inois, so he'd have his chance if he runs up to his best.
"Unfortunately Perfect Gentleman (owned by Jackie Mullins) has too low a weight for me to ride him, but I think he has a big handicap in him.
"He'll love the ground and the trip with the hill at the end will really suit him.
"He's coming back from two runs at Auteuil, so it will be interesting to see if that has an effect on his jumping. It doesn't seem to have judged on his schooling at home, but you'd just be hoping he isn't too slow over his fences.
"The Paparrazi Kid has had his problems, but he's a fair horse on his day and I remember him beating Felix Yonger one day down in Limerick.
"I think he's another one who is probably better than his mark, but you would have preferred to have got a prep run into him."
Leading owner JP McManus is unsurprisingly well represented, with five horses set to carry the famous green and gold silks.
Newly-appointed retained rider Barry Geraghty has sided with the Charles Byrnes-trained Shanpallas, Robbie Power rides Jonjo O'Neill's British challenger It's A Gimme and Mark Walsh takes the mount on Philip Dempsey's star mare Jacksonslady.
She struck gold at last year's Galway Festival and her trainer is hopeful of another bold show.
"She's in good form and this has been the plan since Punchestown. She had a little break back at Martinstown after that and we've been happy with her since," said Dempsey.
"The ground should suit her and she has good form at the track.
"It's a very competitive race, as you would expect, but we're hoping for the best."
Gigginstown House Stud have a four-strong team made up of Rule The World, Make A Track, Savello and Rathlin.
Other contenders in a maximum field of 22 runners include Jim Culloty's Spring Heeled and Colin McBratney's Marito.
The three reserves are Art Of Logistics, Conquisto and Gold Bullet.