Monday 19 March 2018

Concorde takes flight in Plate

Dermot Weld. Photo: Stephen McCarthy, Sportsfile
Dermot Weld. Photo: Stephen McCarthy, Sportsfile

Dermot Weld's Majestic Concorde features among a maximum field of 22 runners for Wednesday's Galway Plate.

The Rosewell House handler is well known for his exploits at the Ballybrit Festival and among his previous winners of this feature event was the popular Ansar, who won the race in 2004 and 2005.

Majestic Concorde is twice a winner over fences and was last seen finishing a close-up fourth on the Flat in the Chester Cup.

Weld has an interesting second string to his bow in the shape of Bobs Pride, while champion trainer Willie Mullins also has a strong hand with Deutschland and Themoonandsixpence taking their chance.

British champion Paul Nicholls saddled Oslot to win the race in 2008 and this year's representative is Five Dream.

Another making the journey from England is Nigel Twiston-Davies' recent Market Rasen winner Grand Slam Hero.

Other interesting contenders include Nedzer's Return, The Fonze, Northern Alliance and Cuan Na Grai.

The three reserves are Hampstead Heath, Invisible Man and Bringbackthebiff.

Dessie Hughes expects his two runners - Montero and Sarteano - to put up good displays.

"Sarteano wants good, fast ground and hopefully it will stay dry between now and Wednesday," said the County Kildare trainer.

"Both ran well at the meeting last year. Montero won over fences and Sarteano was sixth in the Galway Hurdle. We're expecting them both to go well again."

Nedzer's Return is one of three runners for Gordon Elliott, with stablemates Backstage and Valerius also set to go to post.

"Backstage has worked well and and is tackling a bit further than the two and a half miles he ran over last time," said the County Meath trainer.

"Nedzer's Return has been running well, but we seriously thought that Valerius could become competitive if the ground goes dry."

Weld is worried Majestic Concorde's lack of experience might find him out.

"I think he's got a very good chance. He's a lovely horse, but inexperience has to be the problem. He's only run five times over fences," Weld said.

"He's the class horse of the race, but he lacks experience.

"That's a big factor for those two fences in the dip at Galway - to negotiate those is my concern.

"Bobs Pride usually runs on the Flat and usually runs well at Galway. He did win over fences there last year. He's got plenty of weight with 11st to carry.

"If we keep getting the drying ground, Majestic Concorde is my preferred and number one choice, but you must never discount Bobs Pride."

Press Association

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