The Guinness Galway Hurdle at Ballybrit this afternoon is a total puzzle and only a supreme optimist would be in any way confident of finding the winner.
It is, of course, always a difficult race to solve anyway, but is even more complicated than normal this time around with no less than nine challengers from across the water.
And it is one of them, the four-year-old and bottom weight, Pearl Castle, who is burdened with the vote.
He is trained by the shrewd John Quinn and was last seen over flights at the Punchestown festival in early May.
The selection ran reasonably well then to finish fifth behind easy winner, Abbyssial, but it is what he has done on the flat in the meantime that sways one towards him.
He has been going well at that game and his latest effort, fourth at York off a mark of 92, gives hope that there may be much better too come over flights.
The nap vote falls on Willie Mullins’ Alelchi Inois in the Guinness Harp Novice Chase.
He is two from two over fences, winning at Killarney last time and, prior to that, at Tramore.
The Tramore race was a two-miler and it was two miles and six at Killarney. This two miles and one, with a stiff climb to the home turn, should prove ideal.
Dermot Weld’s Tested is the fancy in the Listed Arthur Guinness EBF Corrib Fillies Stakes,
She won another Listed event at Naas on her latest appearance, beating Slipper Orchid, Ansgar, One Spirit and Giovanni Boldini, who have all scored in the meantime.
Henry de Bromhead’s Elegant Statesman gets the vote in the GuinnessPlus Beginners Chase.
He was well beaten into second by 20-1 shot Croghill Tuppence at Kilbeggan, but that was his first run for a long time and is entitled to come on plenty.
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