Paul Nicholls is doubly represented intoday’s feature, the thetote.com Galway Plate, and the leading British trainer, who won this race in 2008 with the Ruby Walsh-ridden Oslot, can take the €177,000 winner’s prize with the JP McManus-owned Modus.
He was below his best when last seen, finishing 16th of 22 in the Brown Advisory Plate at the Cheltenham Festival, but a line is best put through that form as he is capable of much better.
He contests today’s race off a mark of 144, whereas he is rated 156 over hurdles and has been on a similar mark over fences.
He hasn’t run since March but tends to run his best races when fresh, so the near five-month absence is of no concern. He is four from 11 over fences, has a very nice racing weight, 10-10, and is sure to have been primed for today’s race. He looks very well treated and if his jumping holds up, he will go very close.
An ex-Paul Nicholls-trained runner, Movewiththetimes, should also give a good account of himself. In recent outings, there are more letters than numbers in his form, but he remains lightly raced and has now joined Enda Bolger, who is the right man to iron out any jumping issues which the eight-year-old may have had.
He was a very promising sort in younger days, when his form included a runner-up finish in the Betfair Hurdle, and fine efforts in novice chases behind Finian’s Oscar and Kalondra.
He gets in right at the bottom of the weights, with 10-1, and Darragh O’Keeffe takes off another 5lbs. Off such a light weight and with his raw talent, he should go very close if jumping with some fluency.
Dancing On My Own sets a high standard in the opening race, the Tote Supporting Irish Racing Since 1930 Maiden Hurdle, and can gain a deserved breakthrough.
Trained by Henry De Bromhead, the five-year-old earned a mark of 140 for his exploits over the winter, which included finishing runner-up to Buildmeupbuttercup, and then third to Klassical Dream in a Leopardstown maidenbefore being beaten less than eight lengths behind the same horse in a Grade One.
He was well beaten in the Coral Cup on his next start, but that was a tough task for one so inexperienced and he can resume his progress with a win today.
Diamond Hill, who won a Flat maiden at this meeting last year, can give him most to think about. She was a winner on the Flat on her most recent start and that should have set her up perfectly for today’s race.
Cosmic Horizon can take the Bet With The Tote At The Galway Races Handicap for Joseph O’Brien. Runner-up on his last two outings, he ran at this meeting last year and was a shade unlucky not to collect. His late gains came up half a length shy that day, but he won a maiden next time and ran some fine races in defeatafterwards.
He has dropped from a mark of 94 to 88, the stiff finish should help bring out the best in him, and he can come late and fast to land the spoils.
The Last Indian gets the vote in the Sign Up For A Tote Account Irish EBF Mares’ Handicap Hurdle. She was just 6-1 for this race last year but was hampered and unseated at the first hurdle.
She hasn’t had much luck since but her two runs last month — both on the Flat — had real promise and her trainer, Aidan Howard, has his team in superb form. She can make amends for last year’s mishap.
Bercasa and Buttons And Bows make each-way appeal.
Podcast: Ruby Walsh talks racing, retirement and the Galway Races