Diplomat has right credentials to deliver goods for Weld
The week of Galway is the most important week of the summer for jump racing in this country, and it's good to be going into it knowing that the ground will be safe.
When I rode work and schooled around the track in Ballybrit last Monday, the ground was lightning quick, even though they had been watering during the heat wave. From that point of view, we were glad to see the rain arrive when it did over the last few days.
There should still be plenty of good in the going, and that will suit my ride Honourable Emperor in the first race. Noel Meade's horses are running well, but this fellow ran flat for some reason before falling at Bellewstown earlier in the month. He was impressive for me at Kilbeggan before that, so I'd give him an each-way chance.
Diplomat, though, is going to be hard to beat for Dermot Weld and Ruby Walsh. He won in a canter at Sligo and we will all be up against it if he is in similar shape tonight.
My other ride is in the handicap hurdle on the Eric McNamara-trained Hevelius, a horse I haven't ridden before. He has been running pretty moderately over fences, but he had some nice form over hurdles last year, so he'd have some sort of a chance if he came back to that.
Usa is the most consistent horse in this. He has won twice and been placed twice in five starts this year, and I reckon he could take a bit of stopping under Robbie Dunne.
One horse that I rode work on at the track last week was Riverside City, which runs in the bumper for Gordon Elliott and Mikey Fogarty. He finished fourth on his debut at Down Royal in June, but he felt like he had come on a bundle for that experience on Monday. He will be a more potent proposition now.
In the big amateur riders' handicap, Oilily could be the one to keep on side for the two Sean Byrnes. She is in foal to Presenting, and seemed to be especially sweet at Cork last time.
She has the gears to travel around here, she is in off a nice weight and young Sean takes 7lb off, which could be key. Redera might be the danger. He won well at Dundalk and looks like he has been trained for this by Tony Martin.
A seven-furlong three-year-old handicap follows, and Dermot Weld's Peace Accord catches the eye in that. In three runs over shorter trips, he hasn't done much but this trip might suit better on his handicap bow, and the application of blinkers might just make Pat Smullen's job a bit easier.
5.10 Diplomat (nap)
7.15 Peace Accord
7.45 Abu Nayef
8.15 Riverside City