Friday 23 February 2018

Everything set for Road To Riches to defy weight

Blazing Tempo and jockey Paul Townend (right) at Galway in 2011
Blazing Tempo and jockey Paul Townend (right) at Galway in 2011

Patrick Mullins

I've no rides today so I'll be at home keeping the ship sailing smoothly but all eyes will be fixed on the Galway Plate as dad makes a three-pronged attack in search of a second win.

It's one of Ireland's most prestigious races and with the start down in front of the stands and the first fence beside the parade ring, it's always a fantastic spectacle for racegoers.

Blazing Tempo (2011) is our only winner but the Boss, my late grandfather Paddy, won it three times with Boro Quarter ('86), The Gooser ('92) and Nearly A Moose ('03) and we're hoping to narrow the gap.

Road To Riches is going to be a tough nut to crack, however, but everyone is optimistic because they have a nice racing weight with Ruby opting for Ballycasey, who I must admit has been a very frustrating horse.

His home work has always impressed and he was a Grade One winner in his younger days, beating Don Cossack and Carlingford Lough, but he hasn't got his head in front in two years.


He's going to pop up in one of these big races though and 2m 6f is his sort of trip. He'll love good ground and he's got a lot of things going for him; it might just be the day he puts it all together.

Paul Townend rides Alelchi Inois, who was a little disappointing in this race 12 months ago with Ruby saying that things never fell his way. He was sixth last year but he's 6lbs higher today which makes things more difficult.

David Mullins is aboard Devils Pride. Genuine good ground is a must for him and he's a fantastic jumper who has won around Galway which is of huge benefit

However, Road To Riches is the class horse in the race and while he has a hefty weight, he has it for a reason and you know he handles the undulations of the track having won it two years ago.

A trip of 2m 6f is probably his optimum and if ever a horse could win it with that much weight, it's him.

Silver Concorde is the other stand-out horse of the day and should take the opener. Dermot Weld also has him in the Galway Hurdle tomorrow and it looks like he's going to run on back-to-back days.

He did something similar with Ansar in 2001 when winning a handicap hurdle on the Monday and then coming back to win the Hurdle two days later and you'd have to fancy him to take the first leg.

Elsewhere, we've nothing in the Tote Maiden (4.45) but I know Finian Maguire is very keen on A Shin Kildare for Dermot Weld. He's sweating a lot to ride off 10st 4lbs and it should pay off.

patrick's picks

3.00 Silver Concorde (Nap)

3.35 Our Kylie

4.10 Star Counsel

4.45 A Shin Kildare

5.30 Road To Riches

6.05 Serefeli

6.40 Palmones

7.10 Katiymann

RIP JT McNamara

Racing was very far from everyone's minds in Ballybrit after hearing about the sad passing of JT McNamara.

JT was a hugely popular man as well as a highly-talented jockey. We crossed paths regularly and everyone in the weighing room, particularly the younger jockeys, would have looked up to him.

He was the elder statesman of the amateurs and had achieved so much in his life. Everyone remembers his ride on Rith Dubh in the National Hunt Chase at Cheltenham in 2002, JT was always the ultimate horseman.

He was a fabulous jockey but more importantly he was a good man and was genuinely popular. He was very forthright, he didn't beat around the bush, he said what he thought and was very honest. He was always himself and will be sorely missed.

It has been a hugely testing time for his family since his fall three years ago; the racing community provided great support then and I'm sure they will give great comfort again.

May JT rest in peace.

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