RUBY WALSH: Slowmotion the one to beat in the Galway Plate

Slowmotion, under Barry Geraghty, is the one to beat in the Galway Plate.

The Galway Plate looks a really good and competitive renewal, but I fancy my own horse, Saturnas. I thought he was a decent hurdler and off a mark of 142 and with just 10-8 on his back he’s got a great chance.

He was a bit disappointing in a Grade 1 at the Punchestown festival on his last run, but he has been freshened up for today. He has to improve on what he has shown over fences but I’m sure he can do so. He’s a second-season novice and has a touch of class, so I’m hoping he will go well.

But the one we all have to beat is Slowmotion. She was third here last year, as a five-year-old. Not many five-year-olds win the Galway Plate but she’s a year older now and comes here off a cracking run over hurdles at Tipperary.

I find it hard to fancy the three at the top of the weights, and I think Jury Duty is the only horse with more than 11 stone that you could fancy. Snow Falcon would have a chance. Ballycasey and Clarcam have been involved in Galway Plate finishes before but they’re not getting any younger. Koshari is lightly raced but was travelling really well under Rachael Blackmore when falling at Punchestown, and a rating of 147 is fair for him.

Rock The World would need the ground to dry, while Tully East won the novice handicap chase at Cheltenham and is a fair horse. Some will fancy Calino D’Airy, who is a promising sort, while Kitten Rock was a fair hurdler in his day and if back to his best would have a fair chance. I think Neverushacon is a bit exposed, and Peregrine Run would have a chance if he got dry ground. Haymount ran no race in this last year, when he made a very bad mistake early, but he has been trained for this.

Lord Scoundrel is a former winner but, like Devils Bride, is not getting any younger. For my money, De Plotting Shed has been disappointing over fences, while Drumcliff is a consistent sort and could go well.

Conrad Hastings creeps in at the bottom but may need to step up to win this. I’m a bit disappointed Patricks Park didn’t get in as I thought he could have been a live runner.

Ruby Walsh at the winners enclosure at Galway on Monday
Ruby Walsh at the winners enclosure at Galway on Monday

I start off the day on Getareason, in the maiden hurdle. Ultimately, he was a bit disappointing in his bumper as he looked like being a fair horse when he won at Downpatrick. He got beaten at Punchestown and then at Listowel but I think you can put a line through the Listowel run as I don’t think that’s a true reflection of his ability.

He should go well but Debuchet will be hard to beat. He sets a good standard for a maiden hurdle at any time of year but sets a fair one for summer time. He was runner-up in the Cheltenham Bumper, is already rated 140 over hurdles, and was travelling really well in a Grade 1 novice hurdle at Punchestown until he fell. It’s going to take a massive run from any horse to beat him.

I ride Hey Little Boy in the second race, a handicap hurdle. He’s a consistent sort who ran well enough at Bellewstown the last day but is no star. A lot of the runners have chances, and I’d be more hopeful than confident of coming out on top.

We run Diamond Hill in the mile-and-a-half maiden and Patrick rides her. She is a half-sister to Blackstairsmountain, who won this race in 2009. She travelled really well in a bumper in Killarney last time but got caught in a bit of a pocket. She ran well and would have needed the run but must give weight to plenty of three-year-olds with high-enough ratings today. National Wealth is rated 83, and Crecerelle is 78. You’d be hoping Diamond Hill could be an 80-ish filly, but at the weights that leaves her with a little to improve.

Willie runs Bronagh’s Belle in the two-mile handicap and I think she can defy the 16lb penalty she picked up for winning last time. She dotted up in Leopardstown and I think she has improved for the run. Two miles will suit her, and I think she has a massive chance.


Lifestyle

Jazz in Europe these days exists in a highly networked environment of cultural and political bodies, festivals, promoters, musicians and educators.Jazz Connective Festival: Intriguing, exciting and uncompromising

It will be bittersweet for Stormzy that his second album arrives the day the British Labour party was confirmed as suffering a historic general election trouncing.Album review: Stormzy remains a work in progress

Unique drawings by Quentin Blake, one of Britain’s best-loved illustrators, are available at a Christie’s online auction which runs until December 17.Your chance to buy drawings by Roald Dahl illustrator Quentin Blake

Ciara McDonnell talks to four high-profile people about their festive traditions and favourite tracksHere's what has these famous faces rockin’ around the Christmas tree

More From The Irish Examiner