PAT KEANE: With Weld’s horses in such good form, a vintage Galway looks in store

Dermot Weld has been leading trainer at the Galway festival on 27 occasions.

Three years ago, he set a new record for the number of winners trained at the meeting, ending the seven days with a whopping 17 to his credit.

Towards the end of this month we will all gather at Ballybrit one more time and, as usual, how many punters fare will be intrinsically tied to how successful Weld proves to be.

He has had good Galways when his horses have been out of form going to the meeting. He has had good Galways when his overall campaign may have left plenty to be desired.

But, on this occasion, Weld will go there with his horses literally running out of their proverbial skins. For instance, he has the best strike rate of all the leading trainers on the flat in the country, an impressive 26% or so.

And, astonishingly, you might argue, has trained more winners this season here at home than Aidan O’Brien.

But there is a downside to everything Weld has achieved as well and that is where are the winners going to come from at Galway? I mean he has been firing ammunition as if it had gone out of fashion for months now, basically since the season got underway.

Went through the form book earlier this week in an attempt to identify possible Galway winners for Weld.

I found a couple, at least I think I did, but they weren’t exactly jumping out of the book all of the same.

The logical conclusion is that this is not going to be a typical Galway for the man and he may struggle to keep his followers in the style to which they have become accustomed.

Indeed, on a couple of occasion of late, Weld has openly stated that he has a good first team, but the reserve bench may not be up to scratch.

That’s all very well, but bear in mind that this is a trainer who doesn’t do anything without thinking it through first.

To Weld, Galway is a long way removed from being any sort of an afterthought. He will have been planning for this for many months.

We know he is having a terrific season and, you’d imagine, there has to be a limit to the amount of horses available to him.

Certainly, he has won more than his fair share of maidens so far this campaign and, when they go in, immediately reduce his options for Galway.

But we underestimate him at our peril. Just what Weld has left, what his plan of action will be is going to prove utterly fascinating.

I’m not one to take a whole lot of notice of what goes at the sales, but the price a horse called Starchitect made recently really surprised.

Donald McCain gave 110,00gns for him and that was a fair day’s work, you would have thought, for those associated with the former Eddie Lynam-trained gelding.

Starchitect ran four times in Ireland and certainly didn’t set this observer’s world on fire at any stage. Mind you, he did end by finishing a length and a half second behind Table Rock in a Curragh maiden.

That appears to have been the clincher as far as McCain was concerned, because Table Rock has gone from strength to strength in the meantime.

But Table Rock is an enigmatic, quirky character and I don’t know if reading too much into what he has done in the meantime was the best policy.

Perhaps, glancing at a horse called Ceylon might have been a better way to go.

Ceylon was third in that Curragh maiden, two lengths adrift of Starchitect.

He followed by contesting another maiden at Roscommon and was beaten five and three quarter lengths into fourth behind Apache Trooper.

Horses can improve dramatically as they go along, of course, and Starchitect is by Sea The Stars.

One’s gut feeling, however, is that you would much prefer to be the seller, rather than the buyer, in this case. We shall watch the horse’s progress with more than a little interest.

Well done to Willie Mullins for spotting a lucrative opportunity for Simenon at Tipperary last Saturday.

The seven-year-old returned from touring the world, went back jumping, after a long absence from that aspect of the game, and landed a Grade 3 Hurdle.

Truth to tell, however, this was only a Grade 3 in name, but that hardly mattered to those connected with Simenon, who took home the princely sum of €40,000 for his trouble.

Anyway, the question has to be asked should such a massive prize be on offer for horses of this quality in the height of summer?

And, of course, at Kilbeggan last night, in the Midlands National Handicap Chase, modest horses were running for a bucket of money.

Then there was the €60,000 to the winner Premier Handicap at Leopardstown on Thursday night. Recession is right!

And finally, Killarney can be more than pleased with their four-day festival this week.

They got the balance just right, managing to entertain their clients, while ensuring the noise levels, often a nightmare at other tracks, were perfectly acceptable.


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