Friday 15 December 2017

Logistics in place for Hughes to claim Galway Plate

Enright's mount can defy stamina concerns to seal glory in showpiece

Shield (left) with Robbie Power up, jumps the last ahead of Here For The Craic (centre) and Davy Condon, and Queen Alphabet (Davy Russell, right), on their way to winning the Topaz Novice Hurdle at Galway. Photo: Barry Cregg / SPORTSFILE
Shield (left) with Robbie Power up, jumps the last ahead of Here For The Craic (centre) and Davy Condon, and Queen Alphabet (Davy Russell, right), on their way to winning the Topaz Novice Hurdle at Galway. Photo: Barry Cregg / SPORTSFILE
Richard Forristal

Richard Forristal

A year after JP McManus' strength-in-depth allowed him dictate the shape of the final field for the Galway Plate en route to Carlingford Lough's epic triumph, the champion owner is again mob-handed in the €200,000 feature.

In 2013, AP McCoy's chosen mount needed the 11th hour withdrawal of McManus' Like Your Style to finally be granted the chance to justify strong favouritism, which the partnership duly did in thrilling fashion. There is likely to be no such drama this time, as McCoy has opted for the dual Cheltenham Festival victor Alderwood, whose trainer Tom Mullins saddled Bob Lingo to win the Plate for McManus in 2012.

With McManus' Kid Cassidy – now in the care of Christy Roche – lining out under Jody McGarvey, Alderwood is spared the burden of top-weight. In that sense, McManus is again exerting a certain amount of influence on the race's make-up.

Alderwood was a 16/1 shot prior to his being confirmed the one of McManus' seven runners that McCoy would ride yesterday. Once the final declarations emerged, he was slashed to as low as 6/1 clear market leader. Suffice to say that he is fancied.

Others that the relentless 19-time champion jockey has eschewed include Charlie Longsdon's Vulcanite and Jonjo O'Neill's It's A Gimme and Rum And Butter, an in-form trio that are part of five-strong raiding party that is by far the most potent cross-channel delegation to grace the prestigious 145-year-old handicap of late.

Enda Bolger's Quantitativeeasing and John Kiely's Wise Old Owl both have another stab at the race after finishing second for McManus in the past, while Cheltenham heroes Jim Culloty, Davy Russell and Spring Heeled form a live threat.

Art Of Logistics and the Irish Grand National runner-up Golden Wonder will strive to give Dessie Hughes a first win, with another Irish National second Away We Go one of three on duty for Willie Mullins.

Jonathan Burke, a rising star whose father Liam sent out Sir Frederick to plunder a famous Plate win in 2007, rides Mullins' Balnaslow in a 22-runner edition of the race that holds up well in terms of quality.

In the amateur riders' maiden, Dermot Weld has booked another tyro in Finny Maguire for Whitey O'Gwaun. It is 21 years since Adrian Maguire, who has Golden Kite in the big race, drove Weld's General Idea to a famous Plate win.

3.00 €100,000 Tote Pick6 Guarantee Maiden Hurdle 2m

A wide-open maiden, with Draco and Gusty Rock first-timers that warrant respect, while Most Peculiar has looked a bit one-paced in recent starts.

Poetic Lord, Tandem and Castle Guest are also of interest. Weld's Tandem was the best of these on the Flat, but hasn't run since October. Castle Guest is of a similar level. He is race-fit and wasn't disgraced on his hurdle bow in the autumn.

Verdict – Castle Guest appeals as a bit of a dark horse.

3.35 Tote App EBF Mares' Handicap Hurdle 2m

Ballycorus is on a hat-trick and her Roscommon form is rock solid. Queen Alphabet was due to run yesterday, while Rodger Roo and Supreme Vic also won recently. Cacheofgold has had her wind done and since ran well to be second at Wexford, with Beach Of Falesa a handicap debutant that beat the re-opposing Ellaway Rose there. Second at Limerick last week, she could be better over this shorter trip.

Verdict – Aidan O'Brien's Beach Of Falesa is fancied to show her class.

4.10 €40,000 Tote Jackpot Guarantee Handicap Hurdle 2m4f

In A Nutshell sports a first-time visor after grinding out a win at Limerick. That may help but history suggests that he will struggle off a seven-pound higher mark.

Other winners The Black Russian and Golden Ticket have slightly less to find under smaller penalties, with Tony Martin's Greatness a massively unexposed Kilbeggan scorer that could prove far superior to his seven-pound hike.

Ancient Sands, in great form last autumn, will be sharper for a couple of recent spins.

Verdict – The Andrew McNamara-ridden Ancient Sands might not be done with yet.

4.45 Tote Qualified Riders' Maiden 1m4f

Little King Robin and Break My Mind have shown promise, but this revolves around Whitey O'Gwaun. Second to Carlo Bugatti here in September, he is now race-fit.

Verdict – Whitey O'Gwaun is impossible to oppose for a fascinating partnership.

5.30 Galway Plate Handicap Chase 2m6f

Caid Du Berlais has a touch of class, but his lack of experience over fences is a concern. Rum And Butter steps up in grade after winning his first three chasing starts, while Vulcanite has also finally begun to fulfil some of his early potential.

It's A Gimme is another in form, though he finished tired at Market Rasen. Alderwood is a good ground specialist that might still improve for this step up in trip. Golden Wonder and Spring Heeled were first and second in a novices' event here in 2013.

Both have live prospects now, with Golden Wonder the more interesting at the weights following his gallant second in the Irish Grand National. Quantitativeeasing and Wise Old Owl are former runners-up in this that might have a big run in them yet.

Road To Riches, Lord Ben and Burn And Turn are others with live chances, while Art Of Logistics is a progressive individual that will relish the ground. The fear with him is the trip, as his two efforts over similar distances to date have been inconclusive.

Verdict – Art Of Logistics can defy stamina fears under Mark Enright.

6.05 Tote Trifecta Rollover Handicap 1m

Beau Satchel must defy a cumulative 16lb hike to complete his hat-trick from a bad draw. Badger Daly is up 15lb for his Gowran rout, but he and Truly Delightful face a similar challenge from poor draws, while British raider Prime Exhibit has fared better. He has been running well, likewise Weld's Moonbi Creek.

Cairdiuil has a fine record here and has dropped to a mark that he can be competitive off again.

Verdict – Cairdiuil is worth a venture at a decent price.

6.40 Bet Online At Handicap 1m

Sarafiyla progressed to win tidily at Leopardstown and is a smart filly. The rest of these are more exposed. Ruler Of France will be happier back on this drier surface, and Royal Memory was unfortunate to run into the in-form Muscle Beach last time.

Verdict – Sarafiyla (nap) can exploit the weight she receives from Royal Memory.

7.10 Tote Return All Profits To Irish Racing Maiden 1m

Ballymac Rosey and Duchess Andorra have chances after respective placed efforts, but Weld has won 10 of these in 12 years. His debutante Brooch will be hard to beat.

Verdict – History would suggest that any market move for Brooch would be telling.

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