Stuccodor gets the nap selection to get punters off on the right foot by taking the opening maiden hurdle on Galway Plate Day in Ballybrit.
The Dermot Weld-trained six-year-old is a classy sort, with a Flat rating in excess of 100, and a mark of 129 over hurdles. While he’s unlikely to advance on his current figure on the level, with just three runs under his belt he has plenty of scope for improvement over obstacles, and is certain to have been primed for this assignment.
Today’s conditions should be to his liking, and he can make his breakthrough in the hands of Davy Russell.
The danger may come from Thomas Hobson, who was disappointing on his first start over hurdles, but clearly thought capable of better. He represents the Willie Mullins yard, and has got to be respected, while Midsommarkransen was the subject of some positive reports prior to his racecourse debut last season, and could be a lively outsider.
In the featured TheTote.com Galway Plate, Rule The World can exploit a decent handicap mark. Rated almost a stone higher over hurdles, the eight-year-old is a seven-race maiden in chases, and finished runner-up on five of those occasions, including behind Thunder And Roses in the Irish Grand National.
The drop back in trip ought to suit Mouse Morris’ gelding and there’s every reason to expect a bold show.
Favourite Alelchi Inois was a winner at this meeting in 2014, and had his final prep for this race with a winning spin over hurdles at Cork. He has been well backed in recent weeks and should run well, but now looks plenty short enough for this competitive race.
The seventh race is a tough-looking handicap, but Laganore is a potentially very progressive filly, and can land the spoils for Tony Martin.
This day last week, at Naas, she was having her third run on the Flat, and the drop back to six furlongs looked to be against her. However, she travelled powerfully and came through late to win with more in hand than the length and a quarter by which she prevailed.
The return to a mile should be a positive and her opening mark of 75 looks manageable.
Wonder Holy also looks ahead of his mark, but may be better suited to quicker ground. Nevertheless, he’s dangerous off a similarly low weight.
The qualified riders’ maiden can go the way of Time To Inspire. Placed on both starts to date, but beaten favourite on the more recent of them, the Nayef half-brother to Ascot Gold Cup third Forgotten Rules has been gelded since that last outing, and sports blinkers for the first time. While he won’t live up to the standard of his half-sibling, this looks a very good opportunity and he can give jockey Finny Maguire a second consecutive victory in the race, following Whitey O’ Gwaun in 2014.
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