Excitement of Galway Races continues
It’s been a good week at Ballybrit for Willie Mullins, and while Galway Plate favourite Alelchi Inois proved a disappointment, the yard also supplied the runner-up on the week’s feature chase, and he holds strong claims in terms of class in Thursday’s big race, the Guinness Galway Hurdle.
Mullins saddles the three at the head of the weights, and a trio of Diakali, Thousand Stars and Wicklow Brave add a great amount of gravitas to what is already a quality event.
That threesome have amassed over €2m in prizemoney between them, which is a testament not only to their class, but the skills of their handler.
The problem for punters backing them today, however, is that they must concede lumps of weight to some unexposed rivals, while all three stay further than two miles, so this trip on quickish ground may see them vulnerable for win purposes.
Another for whom stamina is no issue is long-term favourite Quick Jack, who has been placed in both the Cesarewitch and Chester Cup on recent forays to England.
He was also a fine third to Wicklow Brave in the County Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival in March, and his shrewd handler has been keen to cherry pick his races. He remains on a very fair mark, but may find the line coming too soon for him given the relative emphasis on speed.
One who is hard to assess is Hidden Cyclone, an absolute top notcher over fences who is potentially thrown in if able to run to anything like that form on a belated return to hurdling.
He warmed up for this with an impressive win in a Flat maiden at Leopardstown, and needs taking very seriously indeed.
J P McManus always has his eye on the main event, and he has a couple of intriguing contenders; Thomas Edison is the mount of Barry Geraghty, and bids to follow up his win in this event last year, when beating Bayan and The Game Changer, who reoppose again.
Tony Martin’s 8-y-o can be keen, and wore a hood when scoring twelve months ago, but it’s interesting that connections opt to forsake the headgear this time around.
That could work two ways, but losing the hood was the making of the same owner’s Jezki in the spring, and might help add a bit of steel to Thomas Edison, who shaped as if needing the run at Killarney in May, but remains on the same mark.
Snake Eyes is ostensibly the McManus second string, and is far from straightforward, but Nicky Henderson’s son of Oscar is finally beginning to realise his potential, winning two of his three starts in the last year. Both those wins have come right handed, and he looks ideally suited by conditions.
He’s likely to be passed over by many on account of Geraghty’s presence on Thomas Edison, but McManus’s retained rider can’t do the weight on Snake Eyes, and it would be foolish to discount him on that basis. At around 14/1, he looks the value call in a wide-open affair.
Selection: Snake Eyes
Danger: Hidden Cyclone