NOBODY has come near testing Dermot Weld’s Galway dominance in recent years like Tony Martin and in the opening night’s feature race Ted Veale will bid to give him a perfect start but it could be his fellow Meath man that just denies Martin a third consecutive win in the Connacht Hotel Amateur Handicap.
Gordon Elliott runs three but it is top weight Eshtiaal who looks to have the form to land the €80,000 prize having made his mark at York last time out.
The ground would be something of a concern but Eshtiaal has handled it with an ease in the past and can hopefully do so again on this occasion with Nina Carberry looking to win the race for the first time.
Elliott’s Moonmeister is the only two-time winner in the opening Galwaybayhotel.com & Radissonhotelgalway.com Novice Hurdle for four-year-olds only but it is the Willie Mullins-trained Bachasson who showed plenty of promise when winning at Sligo and being a French-bred the ground shouldn’t be an issue for him and he gets the nod on this occasion.
Weld has enjoyed some notable successes with jockey Davy Russell and while Russell will no longer ride the Dr Ronan Lambe-owned horses trained by Jim Culloty, there will be no change where Weld is concerned and the pair can combine to win the Easyfix Rubber Products Handicap Hurdle with Defining Year.
Defining Year hasn’t raced over hurdles since January 2014 but with a mark of just 109 handed down by the National Hunt Handicap, the seven-year-old should be able to win a race of this nature.
True Solitaire is the chosen candidate from Rosewell House for the Claregalwayhotel.ie EBF Maiden which has been nicknamed as ‘Weld’s maiden’ such is his dominance in the race over the years.
Since 2006 only Weld and Aidan O’Brien have won the race with O’Brien only taking it from Weld’s grasp on three occasions but Gowran Park runner-up True Solitaire should make the benefit of that run count here this evening.
The ground won’t be ideal for many of those but True Solitaire is a well-bred son of Oasis Dream and a full brother to Carla Bianca so undoubtedly the one punters will want to get stuck into later.
Joseph O’Brien looks unlikely to see as much of Galway as we might have expected with Ryan Moore’s absence now almost certainly ensuring he’ll be busy at Glorious Goodwood later in the week but his visit to Galway today will be a fruitful one if Cenotaph can win the Claytonhotelgalway.ie Handicap under top weight.
The concluding bumper will see Another Cyclone, the well regarded brother to Hidden Cyclone line up for Shark Hanlon and Patrick Mullins take the ride but Matchway was just touched off in a
Punchestown bumper for Tom Mullins and Jamie Codd and may well come on enough to be a factor.
5.45: Defining Year
6.15: True Solitaire