Saturday 24 February 2018

Concorde has perfect Plate profile

Richard Forristal

Richard Forristal

Majestic Concorde will this afternoon bid to become just the fourth favourite in 20 years to capture the Galway Plate.

In 1990, the market leader's trainer, Dermot Weld, saddled Kiichi to land short odds, and Weld's 1993 winner General Idea was the last to justify favouritism until Oslot scored for Paul Nicholls in 2008.

Nicholls again saddles a live contender in the shape of Five Dream, but Majestic Concorde remains the most appealing win option, despite his price having contracted in recent weeks. A fortnight ago, the seven-year-old could be backed at 12/1, yet 5/1 is as good as you will find about him now.

In 2008, Majestic Concorde ran out a smooth winner of Monday's amateur riders' race, before going down by five lengths to Indian Pace in the Galway Hurdle three days later. That experience will stand to him, and his overall profile is exactly what you are looking for in a potential winner of the two-mile-six-furlong showpiece.

Twice a winner over fences from five attempts, Davy Russell's mount held his own in good company as a novice last year. At Leopardstown in March of 2009, he recorded a career-best effort over the bigger obstacles to be second to Deutschland. Today, he is nine pounds better off with that one for a two-length defeat.

Majestic Concorde's only subsequent start in a 'chase came when he ran out a facile winner of a conditions event at Sligo in October, and the son of Definite Article has been laid out specifically for this prestigious prize. Having made a hugely satisfactory reappearance when beaten a length in the Chester Cup in May, he comes here a fresh and unexposed horse. With just 10st 12lb on his back, he will be hard to beat.

Deutschland, runner-up in the Galway Hurdle last year, will no doubt be popular, but he has 11st 5lb to carry and that won't be easy. Cuan Na Grai and Five Dream may be the ones for the each-way market.

Like the selection, the 2006 Hurdle winner Cuan Na Grai has scope for improvement over fences, while Five Dream is a consistent six-year-old that gets in off an attractive 10st 6lbs. Both can be backed at double-figure prices and ought to be thereabouts with a bit of luck in running.

In the opening novice hurdle, Gordon Elliot's smart Final Day sets the standard. From just six starts, the Bob Back gelding has won two bumpers in Scotland as well as a pair of hurdles in the North.

He filled the runner-up berth on his two other outings, most notably when second to the Plate top-weight The Fonze off level weights at Limerick at the beginning of the month. Final Day is hugely progressive, but Moi Desire gets eight pounds from him here and that gives her a chance.

Trained by Eoin Griffin, Moi Desire is also a dual bumper winner. At Kilbeggan in June, she made a pleasing debut over flights when winning, despite having the appearance of a novice. She can only be better for the run, so may represent a bit of value at around 13/2.

Waterloo Chateau, which represents Noel Meade in the following Tote Telebet 1850 238 669 Handicap Hurdle, is another that hasn't been too straight over its obstacles in recent efforts. The son of Presenting overcame a tendency to jump left when scoring at Roscommon three weeks ago, but failed to repel Vivaldi at Ballinrobe next time out.

In his first handicap, Waterloo Chateau will need to hurdle better, but the hope would be that he can, and that the big field will give Paul Carberry an opportunity to cover him up. If that proves to be the case, he may not be badly handicapped off 111.

Endless Intrigue will be another Dermot Weld-trained favourite in the Qualified Riders' Maiden. A dual bumper winner, he is opposed with Oliver Brady's Caesar's Song, a lightly raced horse that will love the stiff Ballybrit finish.


3.00 -- Moi Desire

3.35 -- Waterloo Chateau

4.10 -- Your Busy

4.45 -- Caesar's Song

5.25 -- Majestic Concorde (Nap)

6.00 -- All In Clover

6.35 -- Yes Missus

7.10 -- Unaccompanied

Irish Independent

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