Patrick Mullins tips Lambro for Galway Plate success
Last year's hero Bob Lingo and the The Disengager share top weight in the www.thetote.com Galway Plate tomorrow, for which a maximum field of 22 has been declared.
The Tom Mullins-trained Bob Lingo is 8lb higher this year and was last seen tuning up for his assault on the level at Killarney, while The Disengager, trained by Philip Hobbs, won a decent race at Stratford on his last outing.
Dermot Weld has not won the Plate since Ansar did the double in 2004-05 and again runs Majestic Concorde.
Willie Mullins, successful two years ago with Blazing Tempo, is represented by Terminal, Lambro and Laganbank.
Dr Richard Newland sends over Bobowen from his Worcestershire base after his impressive win in the Summer Plate at Market Rasen.
Bob Lingo's stablemates Klepht and the veteran Fosters Cross take their chance, while Edward O'Grady's former top-class chaser Tranquil Sea is another popular runner.
Buckers Bridge, Quantitativeeasing, now with Enda Bolger, Lastoftheleaders and Muirhead are also among the field.
Carlingford Lough, well backed in the ante-post markets, is the first of three reserves along with Churchfield Champ and Deal Done.
Of the Willie Mullins trio, his son, Patrick, believes Lambro may be the best suited to the demands of the race.
"Terminal obviously has the best form. I would wonder whether he's quite sharp enough for a Galway Plate. I have no doubt he has the class, but he's just a real stayer," Mullins told a Horseracing Ireland podcast.
"Lambro lost his form last year. I thought if he came back to his best this would be his ideal trip. He jumps fantastic. I actually schooled him the other day and he jumped really well.
"Laganbank, I think he's better on flat tracks and I question his jumping.
"Terminal is probably the best horse, but I think Lambro suits the race best."
The 10-year-old Majestic Concorde finished third in the race back in 2010 and has also won a valuable race on the Flat at the meeting.
"He (Majestic Concorde) is a favourite of mine, he's a lovely horse. He's been a very good Flat handicapper and a good horse over hurdles. He goes for the Galway Plate and I've a sneaking feeling he'll give a very good account of himself," Weld told Irishhorse.TV.
"He's a lovely character and a very genuine horse. He's had leg problems, but we have him back and I'm quietly confident of a very good run.
"He's getting on, but for me he still retains his enthusiasm. The will to win is still there."
Tom Mullins feels the versatile Fosters Cross may hold an advantage over his other two runners, having won twice over fences at the course already.
"All three have got some sort of a chance and they are all in good form," he said.
"Bob Lingo won it last year so he has earned top weight but there's only a stone between top and bottom so it's not as bad as it used to be.
"Klepht won his last race over fences and Fosters Cross showed in the Grimes Hurdle that he's still got it. The ground was just a bit dead turning in, otherwise he might have won.
"Klepht and Fosters Cross would like it to keep drying, while Bob Lingo wouldn't want it too firm..
"I think the fact Fosters Cross has won twice over fences there is a big plus, some horses just don't take to it, but he has done.
"I wouldn't like to split them, though."
Bobowen was hugely impressive last time out but Newland is perplexed as to how he is on a higher handicap mark in Ireland than in England.
"I hope he'll run well and I think he'll run well as he came out of the race in great order," he told At The Races.
"He won very nicely at Market Rasen, that was his target.
"The race might be run to suit, he's quite lightly raced and I'm not too worried about the ground softening so he's got quite a few things in his favour. The one thing he hasn't is the way the handicap works.
"He must be the only horse with a higher handicap mark in Ireland than England, it's usually the other way around.
"The Irish handicapper took an even dimmer view of his win in Market Rasen than the English handicapper.
"On paper it looks like a very big ask but he goes there in top form and the race might just work for him.
"I don't think it's that much different from the Summer Plate but whether he can actually win it off this mark is another thing."