WITH the Galway Festival now less than a week away, the weights for both the prestigious summer highlights the Galway Hurdle and Galway Plate were released yesterday.
Willie Mullins is a prominent figure in both races with Boston Bob topping the weights in the €220,000 Tote sponsored Galway Plate which takes place on Wednesday.
Former Galway Hurdle winner Rebel Fitz is up near the top of the weights for the popular Cork-based Mick Winters but it is another Mullins contender that heads the betting as BoyleSports make recent Cork hurdle winner Alelchi Inois the 8/1 favourite.
Bookmakers vary in their opinions for those behind the current favourite but Shanpallas is a horse that BoyleSports are taking no chances with at 10/1.
"Alelchi Inois is installed as the early favourite having had an ideal prep run when winning over hurdles at Cork earlier in the month," Liam Glynn of the Louth firm said.
He added: "Despite pulling up on his last outing at Punchestown back in June, the Charles Byrnes trained and JP McManus owned, Shanpallas is a horse that our traders are keen to keep on their side at 10/1."
The weights for Thursday's Guinness Galway Hurdle were also revealed yesterday and Rebel Fitz also holds an entry for that but it is the JP McManus owned Kitten Rock who tops the field for Edward O'Grady.
Kitten Rock was campaigned at a high level last season and ran in the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham when last seen and it's a classy looking line up with recent Tipperary winner Diakali and the ever dependable Thousand Stars spearheading the Willie Mullins challenge as he bids to win the race for the first time.
Tony Martin has enjoyed rich fortunes at Galway in recent years and he is responsible for the current Galway Hurdle favourite Quick Jack who is a best priced 6/1 for the €300,000 contest.
Fresh from his recent win on the flat at Leopardstown, Shark Hanlon's stable star Hidden Cyclone may run off the attractive looking mark of 137 which would be well shy of his chase rating and leave him with just 10st3lbs in the race should Kitten Rock run.
Meanwhile, it also looks likely that jockey Brian Toomey will be in action at Galway after his incredible comeback from injury. Toomey is expected to ride Kings Grey, the horse he made his return on just over a week ago.