TO be honest, if you were to take out the big race on each day, the racing at Galway is not the greatest, but it's so special and renowned that everyone wants to have a winner at Galway.
The racecourse do a great job in facilitating everyone and there is always a great buzz around – it's the bee's knees really. Tonight, the feature is the carlton. ie/galwaycity Amateur Handicap which is still commonly known amongst us as the GPT and this is a race I'd love to win.
I enjoyed a winner at Galway a couple of years ago, but I'd love to get back in the winner’s enclosure this week, especially in today's big race.
I ride a horse called Rattan for Willie Mullins and to be honest I do think he has an each way chance, but it's very competitive and Dermot Weld's NATURAL HIGH appears the one we have to beat. Rattan is a decent price and each way would be the way to go with him but I don't remember a lady rider winning this race before so I'd love to be the first.
That will probably be one leg of a few winners for Weld who also has Sulwaan in the first and Riviera Poet in the third.
In the first race I fancy SULWAAN will be extremely hard to beat, although I hope I'm wrong and Dad's Devil's Elbow might outdo him. It's a decent novice contest but Ruby was very impressed with Sulwaan when he won on him at Sligo so it'll be tough for Devil's Elbow.
I won on him at Ballinrobe the last day and he seemed to have come on since that run, and while I do think he has a very good chance, it's hard to knock Sulwaan and the two of them should really be fighting it out jumping the last. Weld's other strong chance today is RIVERA POET in the third race and he should win having finished third in a good maiden on his debut.
I'm just about going to side with Willie Mullins' horse DE SENECTUTE in the handicap hurdle this evening. I was lucky enough to get the opportunity to win on her earlier in the month at Bellewstown where she was returning off a long lay off so hopefully that'll bring her on enough to complete a quick double.
A horse I was second on before is Philip Dempsey's Jacksonslady who I think will love Galway as she stays all day and was narrowly beaten the last day but I'd say she wasn't doing a whole lot in front and at a big price she has definite each way claims. In the Claytownhotelgalway.ie Handicap I fancy Jim Bolger and Kevin Manning with BURN THE FLOOR while a horse that caught my eye last week in the Ladies Derby at the Curragh was NANTUCKET BAY, who will be ridden by Joseph O'Brien for his father Aidan and can take the 7.45. In the last Jessica and Kate Harrington should oblige with MALLER TREE.
Tomorrow, the jumping fraternity take a bit of a step back as the Topaz Galway Mile is the big one on day two and a friend of ours, Tom Howley, may have reason to celebrate once more. He won the race last year with ASK JACK and the same horse is back again this time around and I'd say he has had this mapped out since 12 months ago and will take beating again. Tomorrow is likely to start off with something similar to today – a Weld winner.
SUBLIME TALENT has a rating of 123 and appears to be the best of the novices who will contest the race with Raggletagglegypsy and Safari Sunup the others to note in the race. Trainer Shark Hanlon has enjoyed some big race winners around Galway and he could be set for another with TRUCKERS DELIGHT.
The 10-year-old was third last time out at Wexford but I think that will have left him spot on for here and things might just be run to suit him a little better. David Marnane's horses have been in good form this season and one of those is ARAGORN ICON,who has won his last two and may complete the hat-trick here tomorrow, while Dermot Weld's MAHAAZEN and CATCH THE EYE in the two maidens are likely favourites.
Hopefully there'll be a few winners amongst that lot to get us off to a good start for the week.