There are very few jumps prizes that have eluded Gordon Elliott throughout a glittering training career and the Galway Hurdle may be ticked off at Ballybrit today.
The Meath trainer saddles two in the €200,000 feature on day four and he may be walking away smiling once again with young gun Aramax laying down the gauntlet to his older rivals in another classy renewal.
4.45 Guinness Nov Hurdle 2m
Punters should tread carefully in a tricky opener where Saint D'oroux sets the standard for Elliott and Davy Russell áfter a brilliant third in the Fred Winter at Cheltenham in March.
His comeback effort earlier this month wasn't anywhere near that level when finishing closer to last than first at Bellewstown, but he should strip much fitter today.
Recent winners Very Excellent and Anna Bunina will be in the mix while Ado McGuinness' Politicise is primed with four recent runs under his belt, however Elliott is the man to follow.
Verdict: Elliott and Russell can land the first with Saint D'oroux.
5.15 Guinness Open Gate Brewery Beg Chase 2m6½f
Wille Mullins has landed the last two renewals but looks under pressure this time around with Karl Der Grosse a frustrating type.
Elliott and Russell will have supporters here with Braid Blue bringing up a four-timer over hurdles at Perth last year but it may pay to side with fencing experience and Doctor Duffy can score on his third chase start.
There was no disgrace in his recent Kilbeggan second as the front pair pulled well clear and Charles Byrnes' seven-year-old should excel over this trip with Cathal Landers taking off a valuable 5lbs.
Verdict: Doctor Duffy can be just what the punters ordered.
5.45 Grade Three Rockshore Novice Chase 2m2f
Polished Steel is the most likely favourite - in the expected absence of Elliott's Galvin - following his comfortable victory on his chase debut for Jessica Harrington at Tipperary earlier this month.
Shark Hanlon's in-form mare Dime A Dozen - an impressive Tramore winner 11 days ago - has a squeak but Emmet Mullins' Russian Diamond is the one to fear on his chase debut if the market reacts in his favour as the young trainer certainly knows how to ready one.
Having scored in a bumper at last year's meeting and performed well over hurdles earlier this month, there's a lot to like about David Mullins' mount and he is the most likely to trump Polished Steel.
Verdict: The Mullins cousins should be feared with Russian Diamond.
6.15 Arthur Guinness Handicap Hurdle 2m
An each-way play may be the most sensible in an ultra-competitive affair where Cornakill Rose is the only winner last time over hurdles, having left her previous form well behind to score at Roscommon recently.
Stepping back in trip to 2m may not play to the strengths of Patrick Magee's charge, however, while any plunge on Tony Martin's Acclamatio should be respected. Sarah Dawson's Magic Sea makes obvious appeal on his Down Royal second but preference is for Denis Hogan's Alabaster.
The grey ran a decent race when fourth in a recent Bellewstown maiden hurdle coming off a break and David Mullins may strike again.
Verdict: Alabaster (e/w) should make the frame for Hogan.
6.45 Grade A Guinness Galway Hurdle 2m
Tudor City hasn't been seen over obstacles since landing this prize 12 months ago but Martin's eight-year-old has been kept fit on the flat as he bids to become the first back-to-back winner since Pinch Hitter in 1982-'83.
Martin has landed three of the last six runnings and with the talented Sean O'Keeffe taking 5lbs off, Tudor City races off just 3lbs higher than last year and will make a bold bid but this competition looks even stiffer.
Willie Mullins has won this twice in recent years with horses high in the handicap and top-weight Aramon (11-10) ran a blinder in the County Hurdle under a big burden before oozing class on his return when taking the Grimes Hurdle at Tipperary.
Patrick Mullins' mount cannot be dismissed and has place claims while Byrnes' Wonder Laish (10-13) is an intriguing type but represents little value under Robbie Power.
English raiders Hunters Call (10-4) - which scored earlier this month for Olly Murphy when defying a 921-day absence - and Dan Skelton's Fair Mountain (10-3) deserve respect but Elliott may have the final say.
Felix Desjy (11-6), a Grade One winner as a novice last year, cruised to a maiden flat victory in Navan recently and may be in the mix but Aramax (10-5) is of even more interest.
No four-year-old has scored in 20 years but JP McManus' charge is hugely progressive having landed the Fred Winter at this year's Cheltenham Festival and he can show further improvement for Mark Walsh.
Verdict: Aramax is an intriguing young hurdler bursting with class.
7.15 Guinness Novice Hurdle 2m4½f
Whether The Very Man turns out again remains to be seen and his absence would change the picture.
Willie Mullins has landed four of the last eight runnings and saddles Jon Snow this time around with the five-year-old grey a frustrating sort having failed three times at short odds in maiden hurdles before scoring at Leopardstown in March.
He also disappointed when favourite for a recent Curragh handicap so the value may lie in recent Limerick winner Rebel Gold - in the care of Danoli's legendary trainer Tom Foley - as he arrives in splendid form.
Verdict: Foley can roll back the years with Rebel Gold.
7.45 Open Gate Pure Brew Handicap Hurdle 3m
Age is proving no barrier to The Trigger with Ronan McNally's charge bidding for a remarkable four-timer since racing resumed.
A 12lb hike for his Limerick stroll may leave Walsh's mount vulnerable with Henry de Bromhead's Tune The Chello open to all kinds of improvement on just her fifth career start.
The five-year-old mare enjoyed the step up in trip when getting off the mark at Killarney three weeks ago and she could prove to be much better than her current rating of 109.
Verdict: Tune The Chello can be pitch perfect for punters.
8.15 Guinness Time Flat Race 5-7yo 2m2½f
Power of Pause may be better than his two bumper starts suggest but Willie Mullins' charge is hardly a reliable option at short odds while Joseph O'Brien's Slige Dala is also unlikely to represent great value.
A chance is taken on Peter Fahey's Visionarian - winner of his sole career run when landing a point-to-point at Knockmullen House last November for Colin Bowe - with the very capable Declan Lavery in the plate on the £60,000 purchase.
Verdict: Visionarian to land the last.
GALWAY RACES, DAY FOUR: OUR EXPERTS TIPSTERS MARK YOUR CARD
Michael Verney: 4.45 Saint D'oroux, 5.15 Doctor Duffy, 5.45 Russian Diamond. 6.15 Alabaster (e/w), 6.45 Aramax, 7.15 Rebel Gold, 7.45 Tune The Chello, 8.15 Visionarian
Patrick Mullins: 5.45 Russian Diamond, 7.15 Jon Snow, 8.15 Power of Pause
Katie Walsh: 4.45 Very Excellent, 5.15 Braid Blue, 5.45 Dime A Dozen, 6.15 The Rubinator, 6.45 Wonder Laish, 7.15 Jon Snow, 7.45 Cherif De L'isle, 8.15 Definite Katie
Wayne Bailey: 4.45 Anna Bunnia, 5.15 Doctor Duffy and Braid Blue 5.45 Polished Steel, 6.45 Hearts are Trumps (e/w), 7.15 Jon Snow, 8.15 Power of Pause
Ian Gaughran: 4.45 Anna Bunnia, 5.15 Doctor Duffy, 5.45 Dime a Dozen, 6.15 Acclamatio, 6.45 Mt Leinster, 7.15 The Very Man, 7.45 The Trigger, 8.15 Smokey the Bandit
These days, trainer Des McDonogh has less than 100 runners each year, and he might get two or three winners from those - but there are a couple of his horses worth keeping an eye on each-way including Hearts Are Trumps, which has been chalked up at 33/1 in places for this evening's Galway Hurdle (6.45).
Colin Keane, the Meath jockey who will have to sit out the next two weeks while he quarantines after travelling over to England to ride Siskin, third in yesterday's Qatar Sussex Stakes, did not, at least, return home empty-handed, after he rode Steel Bull to victory in the Markel Insurance Molecomb Stakes. It was his first Goodwood winner.