5.15: Long Dog
5.45: Guitar Pete
6.50: Stay De Night
7.50: Bobby Jean
8.20: Heartbreak City
THERE has been a lot of talk this summer about introducing a second-tier competition for football into the GAA, well a much more pressing matter may be the introduction of a Leading Trainer consolation prize for whoever finishes second to Dermot Weld this week.
On no fewer than 28 occasions, Dermot Weld has been crowned Galway's Leading Trainer during raceweek and it feels like he has played down his chances of taking that accolade for about 25 of those years but despite declaring a warning to those punters who depend on his Rosewell House residents to pay for their week in Ballybrit and maybe a few Christmas presents thrown in, Weld continually comes up with the goods.
This year he has indicated that objectives overseas with Mustajeeb heading to France, a possible trip to Arlington for Carla Bianca and plotting Free Eagle's autumn campaign are of higher priority than proceedings in the west of Ireland this week but still he has a enviable team of horses heading in that direction and the firepower may still be enough to see him bring the haul to 29.
Galway has always hosted two of Ireland's most prestigious races in the Galway Hurdle and the Galway Plate and this year the Hurdle will Ireland's richest jump race but aside from that the quality to come here in recent years has been from the top drawer.
Weld has never been a stranger to introducing a nice type at Galway and in the past he has won the two-year-old maiden on this evening's card with Grey Swallow and most recently with Mustajeeb while tomorrow night's fillies maiden was won by Weld's Tarfasha two-years ago and this seasons English 1,000 Guineas heroine Legattismo won the race 12-months ago.
And it's not just the good two-year-olds you need this week.
The last two Galway Plate winners have developed into leading Grade One winning staying chasers, Carlingford Lough and Road To Riches and it would appear at this stage that to run sneak in at the bottom of both the Galway Hurdle and Galway Plate this year, you'd have to be rated higher than you would to sneak into a handicap at the Cheltenham Festival.
Annie Power also made a winning debut around Galway so you can start to get the point... If you think you've a nice one going to Galway you'd want to be fairly certain because you'll know your fate fairly quickly.
All this is a credit to the Galway Race Committee who have been awarded for their services in the past and led by racecourse manager John Moloney who will oversee his last Festival this week but he'll hand over the responsibility in the full knowledge that he has had the most positive of impacts on a week that is part of so many peoples calendar.
Galway isn't just a nursery for progressing top class horses but also maturing the up and coming members of the weighroom many a young jockey has walked into Galway wondering what it might throw up and walked out of it in high demand by trainers all over the country.
The feature race on tomorrow evening is the Topaz Galway Mile, a race with its own rich tradition and one that is never that simple to unravel.
Colin Keane is one of those young riders who came to prominence to a much wider audience after winning the Topaz Mile on Brendan Bracken for his boss Ger Lyons that is the horse who tops the weights for tomorrow's race.
This year Keane rides Unsinkable who is one of five in the race for the trainer but if conditions do turn out to be on the soft side for him that would look to be a negative with his best form appearing to be on good to firm ground.
This hasn't been a race that Weld has enjoyed the same fortunes in over the years but in the relatively unexposed Stay De Night he might hold the key on this occasion.
Aussie Valentine is a horse that catches the eye but the wide draw in 13 of 14 would be a negative for him and while Stay De Night is not ideally situated in stall 10, it is still more positive.
Weld is will be the man many rely on in the maiden races this week and tomorrow's fillies maiden over seven-furlongs looks to be a real competitive contest with a number of the runners bringing a decent level of form to the table.
However, while Weld's Simannka is a likely favourite after finishing second on debut at Tipperary, an alternative selection is given to the Kevin Prendersgast-trained Ava who may be a bit of a price.
It is significant that this is a filly who Prendergast has got well entered up in early closing races and she is among the current entries for races such as the Keeneland Phoenix Stakes at the Curragh in just under a fortnight and the Moyglare Stud Stakes later in the year so she may be worth taking a chance with ahead of those with a previous run.
It is back to Weld in the Caulfieldindustrial.com EBF Maiden later on the card though where he runs Valac who should be hard to beat from stall one under Pat Smullen and in the colours of Moyglare Stud.
The Topaz Novice Hurdle looks most likely to go the way of the Willie Mullins-trained and Rich Ricci-owned Long Dog who impressed when opening his account over hurdles at Sligo last month.
The Latin Quarter Beginners Chase looks a tasty renewal and the previous run of Hash Brown will be a big plus to his chances but Guitar Pete is a horse who made a big mark for Dessie Hughes as a juvenile hurdler, winning at Grade One level at the Aintree Grand National meeting and at the Punchestown Festival and now in the care of Sandra Hughes he looks to have the class to make a winning start over the larger obstacles having missed his intended target at Killarney earlier in the month due to the change in going.
There is a mix of jump and flat racing at Galway this week like no other Festival meeting and there are a host of dual-purpose types lining up in the concluding Caulfieldindustrial.com Handicap over two-miles.
Heartbreak City caught the eye when running a nice race to finish third over hurdles for Tony Martin at Killarney a couple of weeks ago and market moves should be watched for that one with Fran Berry set to do the steering.
This will be just a second run in almost a year for the five-year-old and he should be expected to come on from that Killarney outing and he just about gets the nod from the Gordon Elliott trained Mustadrik who has been in fantastic form this summer but did end up with a 15lbs hike in the weights for his last win on the flat at Bellewstown and the ground being on the soft side and that rise in the ratings may just see him fall short on this occasion.