Ante-post favourite Thomas Edison heads owner JP McManus’ assault on the Guinness Galway Hurdle at the Ballybrit track on Thursday.
The powerful owner could have his colours carried by four horses in the valuable handicap, though the Charlie Longsdon-trained Vulcanite cannot be regarded as a certain runner as he was set to take his chance in the Galway Plate on Wednesday afternoon.
“He won nicely the last day and hopefully he’ll go well in the Plate and we’ll see how he comes out of the race,” said McManus’ racing manager Frank Berry.
Thomas Edison, on the other hand, looks to have been laid out for the race by trainer Tony Martin and was last in action winning a handicap at the Curragh almost 10 weeks ago.
“He’s being doing well and has won two nice handicaps on the Curragh this year,” said Berry.
“Tony is very happy with him. A little ease in the ground would be a help to him.
“He’s in good form and in a wide-open race we hope he runs well.”
Plinth, trained by Aidan O’Brien, and Coffee, from Jonjo O’Neill’s stable, complete the McManus team.
“Plinth ran a cracker in the four-year-old Grade One Hurdle at Punchestown and ran OK on the Flat at Ascot. He won’t mind the ground,” said Berry.
“He’s only four and probably lacks a little bit of experience, but you never know in the Galway Hurdle and you’d be hoping for the best.
“Coffee has been a little disappointing this year so far, but Jonjo (O’Neill) is hoping he’s back in good form and we’re hoping that he finds it.”
John Ferguson saddles four runners in a bid to bring the big prize back to England.
Purple Bay and Parlour Games were both winners at Market Rasen recently, while Bordoni and Dubai Prince have had this race as a long-term objective.
“Purple Bay impressed everybody at Market Rasen. He’s gone up 14lb, which obviously makes it a challenge,” said the Suffolk trainer.
“We’ve secured the services of Shane Shortall, who is a leading 7lb claimer in Ireland and has ridden a winner at the Festival before and he rode in the Galway Hurdle last year.
“The horse has come out of Market Rasen exceptionally well and so I thought it was only appropriate he took his chance.
“Parlour Games has now had three runs over hurdles, winning two of them, and won a Melrose on the Flat, so we know he’s got the speed and the talent to be competitive at this level.
“He’s rated 140 but he’s a horse where there may be further improvement and he deserves to take his chance because there aren’t too many alternatives for a horse of his class at this time of year.
“Bordoni and Dubai Prince have always been targeted at this. Bordoni won at Hexham and he’s always shown us plenty of speed and I’m looking forward to him running well.
“We all know Dubai Prince has plenty of ability, but when he was beaten at Aintree last time he was carrying top weight and for a horse that was basically bred for the Flat, the idea of carrying 10st 5lb against better opponents was more favourable than carrying 11st 12lb in a race like that.
“I just think the prize, 250,000 euro, that each horse on merit deserves to take his chance.
“Win or lose they can all have a nice holiday afterwards in preparation for the season ahead.”