RUBY WALSH: Clondaw Warrior should be in shake-up for Galway Hurdle

The first six home in yesterday’s Galway Plate were trained by Gordon Elliott and Willie Mullins, and you have to think it’s going to be some winter.

As usual, the handicapper was right. You have to give him credit, he couldn’t have made a better race of it. Three lengths covered the first five home.

It was a good race, and I don’t think there was much excuse for anybody. Favourite Road To Riches ran stink. He never jumped a fence. I got a great position on Ballycasey. I didn’t want to make the running but when Road To Riches missed one, I ended up in front. It wasn’t the plan, but making the running doesn’t bother me. I can’t offer excuses for my horse – he ran a blinder.

Alelchi Inois also ran a cracker, as did Devil’s Bride. Paul (Townend) got checked up on the bend, aboard Alelchi, and thinks he was a bit unlucky, but maybe if he had the horse he’d have been in the gap before it closed. But when you finish second you always think ‘what if?’. Sure, I finished third, and I was thinking ‘what if?’

Looking forward to today’s action, I have only two rides, starting with Daisy’s Gift in the beginners’ chase. The only worry with her is that her only run at this track was quite disappointing – she ran badly in a hurdle race here last September.

She then improved to beat Whiteout in Gowran, and Paul (Townend) said she was travelling well when sprawling on landing on her chasing debut at Kilbeggan, so jumping shouldn’t be an issue.

But this looks a competitive race, and the two standout hurdlers are Marinero and Taglietelle, and my preference would be for Taglietelle. But I’m hoping Daisy’s Gift will run a good race.

I have no ride in the novice chase, but, looking at the runners, I was slightly disappointed with Tiger Roll in Killarney. I didn’t think he jumped with any fluency, but he should be able to power home up this long hill. I think Neverushacon, getting three pounds off him, will give him a race, and Xsquared has been in incredible form on the flat and over fences this year. He won well despite a slipped saddle last time.

I think Willie will win the novice hurdle with Bel Sas. The danger is probably Delegate, but he’s rated 127 and Willie’s horse could be better than that. And he’s in receipt of six pounds from Delegate.

The Guinness Galway Hurdle has a top weight off a mark of 148 and a bottom weight off 133, so there’s just a 15lb spread. It’s a competitive renewal, maybe not as classy as last year’s race.

I have chosen Clondaw Warrior over Bamako Moriviere because, having gone back through the race, top weights have a terrible record in the race. That swayed my decision.

He wouldn’t want any more rain, and he’s up 11lb for a win and a place over hurdles in the last couple of months, at Fairyhouse and in the Scottish Champion Hurdle. Although, at Ayr he did have Ivan Grozny behind him.

Superb Story has been all the rage, but I think he got a stiff enough penalty for winning the County Hurdle. He’s probably the one we have to beat, but I know David Casey is happy with Clondaw Warrior, and if he’s happy then that’s good enough for me. I hope he has a good chance.

I guess Pyromaniac will be the centre of a lot of attention, and I think Hidden Cyclone, off a mark of 137, could run even better than he did last year, when fourth behind Quick Jack. Bentelimar has a chance, but he’s not an easy ride, while there was money for Tigris River early in the week, and you’d have to take notice of that.

Rock The World looks well-in on his chase form, while his stable companion, Modem, who won the GPT here last year, didn’t make the cut for this race in 2015 but has to be respected now that he’s in the line-up. It’s also worth noting that there has been a lot of market interest in Moon Over Germany, who I felt was unlucky in a few hurdle races last year in Punchestown and Fairyhouse.

I’m not disappointed to see Desoto County as second reserve, and I hope that’s where he stays because if he got in he would be another leading player. The more I go through the form, the more I think Clondaw Warrior will be in the shake-up.


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