Three horses will carry the top weight of 11st7lbs in the Galway Hurdle today at Ballybrit, all three are trained by champion trainer Willie Mullins and it is the choice of his stable jockey Ruby Walsh that is picked to claim Ireland’s richest jump race.
While never quite making the breakthrough in Grade One level in quite the same manner as some of his stable companions at Closutton, Diakali has always held good company and form behind the likes of Jezki and The New One as well as his rival in today’s race, Thousand Stars, which makes him look well capable of defying top weight.
Last year’s winner Thomas Edison will attempt the rare feat of winning the race two-years in a row and is the pick of Barry Geraghty, who has never won the race.
All eyes will be on whether or not there is a non-runner in the race because, as it stands at the moment, Monday’s feature race winner, Modem, is just the first reserve. Amazingly. each of the 20 horses above him all stood their ground at yesterday’s declaration stage.
Robbie Power now has to mind himself as he prepares to do his lightest at 10st and has opted not to be declared on either of Jessica Harrington’s other two runners, Macnicholson or Rae’s Creek, in hope that Modem will still get a chance to run with the cut-off being 45 minutes before the first race today.
With that class that has seen him run well in big races, and only being a six-year-old, Diakali is the pick to score and give Willie Mullins a first win in the race since 1996 and Ruby Walsh a first winner in Ireland’s richest jump race.
Henry de Bromhead can already boast a winner here this week and it looks like Sizing Platinum can give him another this afternoon in the Guinness Harp Novice Chase.
Clondaw Farmer is a tentative selection in the opening Guinness Dublin Porter Beginners Chase which sees Tuesday’s faller Waaheb return for Dermot Weld.
If he learnt from that, he’d have the class to win, but Clondaw Farmer was highly regarded when winning a bumper here and connections have opted to go chasing early in his career and, hopefully, he can fulfill expectations.
The listed Arthur Guinness Corrib Stakes will hopefully see David Wachman gain another valuable success this week to follow Hint Of A Tint on Tuesday evening.
Queen Nefertiti hasn’t won since winning her maiden but she has been campaigned in good company and is clearly a nice sort, so this might prove a good opportunity for her to get back to winning ways with Wayne Lordan again booked to ride.
Liam Cusack has enjoyed a good year to date and after racking up a sequence over hurdles earlier this year and winning at both the Fairyhouse and Punchestown Festivals, his Bog War comes back to the Flat here to try and add the Galway Festival to the list.
1.50 Clondaw Farmer
2.20 Sizing Platinum
3.30 Queen Nefertiti
4.05 Sandymount Duke
5.25 Bog War
6.0 Prince D’Aubrelle