As I pointed out, in the feature on Monday night, only one winner in the past 20 years had carried more than 11st 1lb.
Tonight’s Galway Plate has the exact same statistic, and the outlier was the Galway great Ansar in 2005.
Too much lead under a saddle is like an anchor on a ship, although the phrase is usually about stopping trains, even though brakes stop them the last time I checked.
You need to have room for improvement to bring the Plate home with you and that’s hard to do when you’re near the top of the weights.
My mount, Easy Game, has formidable form having been second to the mighty Faugheen in a Grade One at Leopardstown, but the handicapper saw that as well as anyone else and it’s hard to think his mark of 154 underestimates him by much.
I think he was possibly flattered that day also by coming wide on less watered ground than Faugheen was on; in the next race they all came wide, so I fear life will be difficult for him. All of our other runners are under the 11st barrier, thankfully.
Paul Townend has chosen Royal Rendezvous, whose profile fits the bill nicely. He is a second-season novice, a lightly-raced young horse which has won around the track.
The majority of his form has been around two miles, which is a positive in two respects.
He knows how to jump at speed, which is essential to take and hold a good position in this race, and also it means he has room for improvement stepping up in trip.
Don’t forget he won a point-to-point before joining us, so stamina shouldn’t be a problem. Getting him settled will be Paul’s main aim.
Livelovelaugh, down at the bottom of the weights, should outrun his odds.
Myself and Ruby have consistently said he doesn’t stay three miles and while Willie made a fair stab of proving us wrong, I think he may have to concede, for once.
His three-mile handicap chase form is P0000, while his intermediate trip form is F228.
His seconds were in the Leopardstown Chase and at the Punchestown Festival, while his eighth in Cheltenham this year was after being brought to a standstill, and I’d expect him to be competitive for the places again off a 4lb lower mark.
My cousin Emmet, fresh from having no new fines imposed last week, turns out Pilbara quickly after he got 14lb for winning in Cork last Friday. He only has to carry a 5lb penalty today as the entries were done before his win.
He is a rapidly improving and likeable horse which will be well suited by the faster pace and drop in trip here.
I’ll be tacking up the horse as Emmet is currently paying for some frontline work and I think he can provide our cousin David with another Galway winner.
I ride two very nice fillies in the bumpers. Shewearsitwell is for our newly revived Closutton Racing Club and I believe she can provide them with their first winner since their reincarnation.
We’ve been happy with her work at home and she will know her job.
I’m always wary of bumper horses of Mags Mullins and Declan Queally but I’m hoping my Shirocco mare can cause some Closutton celebration.
I also ride Zuma Rock in the last race. Another Shirocco, and a half-sister to Lagostovegas, she too has impressed us at home.
Being a four-year-old and a filly she gets all the allowances so I will be hungry and sweaty by the time I swing my leg over her, so apologies to anyone I’m grumpy with in the meantime!
However, I’m hoping she can put a smile on my face come the end of the day.
Livelovelaugh (6.45, e/w)
Zuma Rock (8.15)