Noel Glynn is hoping to use the Guinness Galway Hurdle as a springboard to Cheltenham Festival glory for the lightly-raced Serve Time.
The five-year-old has only had seven races in his life but has shown enough ability to be shouldered with 11st in tomorrow’s competitive heat.
A son of Derby winner Benny The Dip, he refused to go in the stalls for his former trainer in Newmarket, hence the switch to National Hunt racing, and he wasted no time in getting off the mark at the first time of asking in a bumper.
He then won his first start over hurdles and has since registered two further impressive victories in handicaps.
And despite being beaten last time by Tony Martin’s Hegrid, he is better off with that rival.
“He’ll have a big chance. I was hoping Essex would stay in because that would have left him with a nice racing weight,” said Glynn.
“He is only five and 11 stone is quite a lot for a novice, but we are hoping for a big run. He should have a bit of improvement in him, he has only had seven runs.
“He came from Newmarket and his old trainer couldn’t get him in the stalls, otherwise he would still be running on the Flat.
“He’s always been smart, he won his first bumper and he is very genuine. His last run was a great run, even though he got beaten, and he came out of it really well.
“He was coming back again at the line after being in front a long way out. He was giving lumps of weight away and he is a bit better off with the winner (Hegrid) tomorrow.
“He’ll be going over fences after this. He’s a very good jumper and we are already looking to Cheltenham with him.”
Connections of ante-post favourite Farmer Brown are hoping their long-term plan can come to fruition.
Trainer Pat Hughes has had the race in mind for some time now and the six-year-old heads for the valuable contest in the form of his life.
“He’s in very good form,” said Hughes.
“Once he ran well in those two good races at Fairyhouse and Punchestown in April, we said that we would go for the Galway Hurdle with him.
“The conditions should be right for him anyway, he wouldn’t have gone on firm ground.
“The little bit of rain should have helped. He goes on most ground, but as long as he can get his toe in he is happy.
“Davy Russell will ride him and they seem to get on very well together.”
Joanna Morgan is hoping the rain stays away ahead of Portant Fella’s bid for glory.
The eight-year-old needs quick ground to be seen at his best and connections may even switch their attentions to America in search of faster conditions.
“He’s in great form, but they had rain yesterday and I wouldn’t want any more for him,” said Morgan.
“I could campaign him in England if the ground dries up, or even Saratoga, as I’ve a race in mind for him there – a handicap worth 150,000.
“Maybe I’ll leave him over there as he’s never going to get the weather to his liking here.”
Guinness Galway Hurdle, William Hill Bet: 11-2 Farmer Brown, 13-2 Hegrid, Loyal Focus, 10-1 Serve Time, 12-1 Balakan, Dolphin Bay, Piltown, 16-1 Definate Spectacle, Emmpat, Freeloader, Mutakarrim, Tipperary All Star, 20-1 bar