I’ll be sitting the festival out this year as I’m on the side lines until the end of September through injury. I’d sooner be riding than partying in Ballybrit though.
Here’s who I think has a live chance of getting into the places at least in the feature race on Thursday, the Galway Hurdle.
I was all over Pique Sous before injury ruled him out late last week.
Gordon Elliott-trained Flaxen Flare to be second last year to Missunited. His Bayan is close to the top of the market this year and has been consistent. But the handicapper may have his measure now off a rating of 141.
But there’s two I still like the look of in what is always a fiercely-contested contest. John Quinn’s Pearl Castle is one I’ve taken note of – even though he’s a four-year-old.
He won a couple of nice races at Doncaster earlier this year, ran in all the top four-year-old races and has plenty of experience for the hustle and bustle of a Galway Hurdle.
And Matthew Smith’s Rawnaq has a live chance.
He hasn’t run over hurdles since the Greatwood Hurdle at Cheltenham last November when less than a two-length third to Dell’ Arca.
The stable looked to have been protecting his handicap mark over hurdles to run here – and his comeback runs on the Flat have been impressive. With normal luck in running he has to have a big chance in a race where Paddy Power is paying the first five each-way.