A versatile performer, he has won on the level, over hurdles and also over fences. Paddy Power have installed him as their 9-2 favourite.
Having won his last three starts, Deutschland arrives at the peak of his powers, although he is rated much higher over fences than over hurdles.
“Deutschland is in better form than Germany during the 1990 World Cup and represents Willie Mullins, who was successful with Mystical City in 1996 and whose father Paddy won the Galway Hurdle four times,” said Paddy Power.
“He’s been very popular with punters and I wouldn’t be surprised if he went off shorter than 4-1.”
Ruby Walsh is in the plate and is thankful the weights rose 5lb following the withdrawal of Sporazene.
“He’s nicely handicapped because he would have had top weight in the Galway Plate, although you could say he’s a better chaser than he is a hurdler, certainly his form would suggest that,” Walsh told At The Races.
Indian Pace won last year’s race when beating the reopposing Eagle’s Pass by a length.
He warmed up to defend his title by finishing 10th on the Flat on Monday, in the same race he used as a prep 12 months ago.
The last back-to-back winner was Pinch Hitter in 1982-83.
“It was slightly disappointing the gallop wasn’t better on Monday and I am hoping it will be stronger in the Hurdle,” said Keily.
“His best surface is just good ground, but he is fine after Monday’s race.”
With Northern Alliance withdrawn from today’s Galway Plate, Tony Martin is doubly represented with Stage Manager, who won at the meeting last season but would prefer much better ground than he is likely to encounter.
“Stage Manager won well last year, but that was on good ground,” said Martin.
“He has won over course and distance so two miles is fine and he is in good heart.
“But as he is not an over-big horse, he is far better on better ground.
“It was soft ground when he ran at Fairyhouse and it was far too soft for him.”
Paul Nolan is excited about the prospects of Cuan Na Grai, the 2006 hero, and See U Bob.
“It’s hard to split him (Cuan Na Grai) and See U Bob, the weights going up hasn’t helped Cuan Na Grai, though,” said the County Wexford handler, three times a winner of the race since 2002.
“In saying that the ground is more of an issue.
“It hasn’t cut up, though, and as long as there is not too much more rain we won’t be using it as an excuse.
“Ideally, See U Bob’s best runs have been on better ground too. Both horses have a chance but Cuan Na Grai’s experience might just give him the edge.
“Cuan Na Grai is finally back in the same sort of form as when he won the race and he has never really had his ground since that day.
“But as he’s had a leg, he probably wouldn’t want it too quick now”.
Guinness Galway Hurdle – Paddy Power bet: 9-2 Deutschland, 9-1 Time Electric, Vital Plot, 10-1 Northern Alliance, Indian Pace, 14-1 Truckers Delight, See U Bob, Eagle’s Pass, Raise Your Heart, 16-1 Cuan Na Grai, Fosters Cross, 18-1 Fingers, 20-1 Gay Sloane, Stage Manager, Decoy Daddy, Lucky Wish, Silverhand, 25-1 bar.
Cashmans bet: 7-2 Deutschland, 9 Vital Plot, 12 Indian Pace, 14 Northern Alliance, Truckers Delight, Raise Your Heart, See You Bob, 16 Cuan Na Grai, Time Electric, Eagles Pass, Fingers, Stage Manager, 20 Silverhand, 22 Decoy Daddy, Lucky Wish, 25 Bar