Dynamite charge can blow Hurdle field away
I've skydived and bungee-jumped, but thundering down to the first in the Galway Plate with 21 other horses tightly packed around you trumps those adrenalin rushes. Steeplechasing is the ultimate thrill and Ballycasey gave me a super spin; I'll not forget it in a rush.
Bosman Rule is our representative in the first on day four. He is a half-brother to Kicking King, but this is a big ask considering how little he has run in recent years. I expect, though, that he will improve for the run.
I think Tesseract will take a bit of beating in this contest. He was a very good bumper horse, won a couple of hurdle races and got his jumping together of late.
Townshend runs in a very strong race, the novice heat. We think he is better than a summer horse and he is a fabulous jumper. He will take a bit of beating.
Don't Touch It is the main danger and he won a good handicap chase at the Punchestown Festival.
Townshend has to give a lot of weight to Landofhopeandglory, but I don't think he looks a natural chaser and slick jumping is worth a lot around here.
Our other runner, Rathvinden, is dropping back in trip and likely wants more of a stamina test. He has had his problems and an awful lot of ability at the same time. He is best over further.
Lac Kivu, meanwhile, is very exciting. He was hugely impressive on his hurdling debut at Punchestown, the second and fourth both winning since as well. He gets weight from the non-four-year-old horses and the good ground will suit. We expect him to cement the impression he made at Punchestown.
Stablemate Robin Des Foret was second in a bumper here last year and improves with every hurdling run but I feel he is probably best on a Flat track.
Bhutan was really impressive at Tipperary and has solid Flat form. Perhaps he is the main danger, though we think a lot of Lac Kivu.
On we move to the Galway Hurdle, which we won in 1996 with a baby-faced David Casey aboard Mystical City.
As always this summer highlight will be fast, furious and tightly packed.
It's a race you need an awful lot of luck in running, more so than the Plate as jockeys don't spread out as much for hurdles as they do for fences, meaning the gaps are smaller, briefer.
We've ran horses like Max Dynamite, Thousand Stars and Wicklow Brave, Group or Grade One horses, and they've been beaten - which gives you an idea of the kind of race this is.
Clondaw Warrior and Ivan Grozny seem not to be running to their best lately and with their weight life is going to be difficult for them.
Airlie Beach, however, is very interesting as a Grade One and Galway winner. She has only 10st 10lbs, so she had a nice pipe-opener on the Flat. I think she is over-priced at 16/1. Notably, her dam Screaming Witness was my first ride.
Max Dynamite looks the pick of the four. Second in this race two years ago when his jumping let him down, he has not run over hurdles since and is coming off a long layoff - which is not ideal. For the class of horse he is, his weight is light and if he can jump slicker he will be hard to beat.
Peacocks Secret looks to have a very good opportunity to open his account in the finale.
I was due to ride at Wexford, but he was bought by the Mees (with the view to going straight to Galway) on the day and that meant I missed a winner for my dad.
It looks like it might work out for the best. On a line through Lighthouse Warrior, he should beat All Good Things and I'll be disappointed if he cannot give my cousin Emmet and the Mees a Galway winner.
2.50: Clonard Street
4.00: Lac Kivu
4.35: Max Dynamite
5.15: Invisible Dog
6.00: Peacocks Secret