Galway is Good to Go
Connections warm up for summer highlight
GALWAY'S ground was yesterday described as 'good' all round as entries for the opening day of the seven-day Galway Festival were released yesterday with Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday's entries set to be revealed at lunchtime today.
Aidan O'Brien dominates the possible runners for Monday's feature, the Connacht Hotel Amatuer Handicap, with Beach Of Falesa looking likely to top the weights in the €70,000 2m flat race.
A strong British representation looks likely over the course of the week and Brian Ellison's Streets Of New York and John Quinn's recent Chester winner Swnymor look likely to line up at Ballybrit on Monday.
As always, Dermot Weld will be the man that so many people will follow blind and Weld does look for another success in the opening day feature, with Grecian Tiger, Hisaabaat and Pay Day Kitten his candidates.
Weld enjoyed a scintillating start to the season and kept the momentum going with a Royal Ascot winner and the master of Rosewell House still boasts a high strike rate for his runners, leading Paddy Power to open a book of specials on the man fondly referred to as 'The King Of Galway'.
Paddy Power's are offering 4/1 that Weld can train a winner on all seven days of the meeting.
Weld was crowned leading trainer of the meeting again last year, albeit after a slight scare from Tony Martin who had a memorable week which included success in Monday's feature race.
Power's go 6/4 that Weld will train 14 or more winners throughout the meeting and 7/4 that he will train up to and including 11, while 12 or 13 winners is a 2/1 shot.
Paul Townend won the 2008 Galway Hurdle on John Kiely's Indian Pace and the former champion jockey is looking forward to the 2014 renewal as he gears up to ride Royal Ascot winner Pique Sous for Willie Mullins.
The grey is Mullins' only runner in the race this year and with Townend deputising for the sidelined Ruby Walsh, the Cork native is just hoping the ground doesn't go against him like last year.
"It's a competitive race and you need a lot of luck, but he's a good ride to have in it and I'm looking forward to riding him. Fingers crossed he'll run well," Townend said.
Pique Sous is the current 4/1 favourite for Thursday's Guinness Galway Hurdle with Boylesports and Townend added: "It was just too soft for him last year. Hopefully it stays lively and he turns up and gives a good account of himself."
Irish Grand National runner-up Golden Wonder is set to be joined by stable companion Art Of Logistics, as Dessie Hughes sets up a double handed raid on Wednesdy's thetote.com Galway Plate and the Curragh based trainer is hopeful of success.
"Both of them are well. I'm not sure about the trip for Art Of Logistics but Golden Wonder will definitely get it.
"Golden Wonder should run well, he won his beginners' there so he likes the track. They could both do with some rain but they do a good job of watering," said Hughes.
Art Of Logistics is 10/1 favourite.