Today’s Galway Plate looks a difficult puzzle and I’ve tried to unravel it by working backwards and scratching off those I think will not win, rather than trying to find those that can.
Undoubtedly, the class horse in the race is Black Corton, but a lot of his best form is in small fields and I’m not sure this race will suit him.
Peregrine Run has been in great form all summer but, consequently, he must carry 11-9. Coney Island, Yorkhill, A Toi Phil, and Valseur Lido were four high-class horses in their day but is that day behind them or could one of them do a Clarcam?
Mengli Khan, The West’s Awake, and Poker Party are all second-season novices, but I don’t know if any of them are as good as Balko Des Flos, Blazing Tempo, or Shanahan’s Turn who won this at that stage of their careers.
Barra looked home and hosed in Kilbeggan, until falling at the last, though it took a long time for her to get up, and it looked the fall of a tired horse, not a fresh one.
Borice and Ravenhill are well fancied for Gordon Elliott but, for my money, I’m not sure if either is good enough for this test.
Pylonthepressure, Modus, and Pravalaguna all need to jump better than in the past, so all of a sudden, we’ve whittled down the possibilities to quite a small number.
For that reason, and that reason only, I’m siding with Movewiththetimes, who is having his first run for Enda Bolger. He looks the each-way play off bottom weight.
The first race is a competitive maiden hurdle in which Willie runs Diamond Hill. There are some interesting riding arrangements, with Davy Russell riding for Dermot Weld and Puppy Power riding for Charles Byrnes. I don’t know if there’s anything to be read into that, but if Charles’ horse was fancied, would Davy not be riding it?
Our runner, Diamond Hill, got up to win on the Flat at Bellewstown last time out, when we thought she might need the run. She should be better for that run and I think going out in trip five furlongs will suit as she jumps carefully and going that bit slower will help her. I think she has a great chance.
We run Castle North in the second race, the handicap hurdle over the same two-mile-five trip. He’s a bit like the weather insofar as he’s very much in and out. If he was to have an ‘in’ day as opposed to an ‘out’ day, he could run into the money.
We don’t have any runner in the mares’ handicap, but Emmet runs Dolly Dancer. She might lack experience but could be on a workable handicap mark.
Buildmeupbuttercup should take a great deal of beating in the mile-and-a-half maiden and she gets the nap today.
She might be a short price, but she ran a cracker last time out, in the Ascot Stakes at Royal Ascot, and that form stands out today.
Before that race, I thought the two-and-a-half-mile trip might be too far for her and I think that’s what beat her. After travelling strongly, the last furlong caught her out.
She has loads of speed and the drop to a mile and a half will be no problem whatsoever. I think she’ll win this.
In the last race Eight And Bob represents my good wife, Gillian, and her friends, but Willie’s other runner,
Scaglietti, could prove a tough nut to crack.
But I’ll be hoping Eight And Bob can do it and, as the old saying goes, a happy wife is an easy life, so here’s hoping.
Podcast: Ruby Walsh talks racing, retirement and the Galway Races