Last year was a unique experience for me at the Galway Festival. I was able to enjoy a few drinks, a few nights out, and I even grabbed a sneaky SuperMacs. But saying that, I’m much more excited this time around. I can’t wait for this year’s racing and to be back where I’m most comfortable – hopefully riding winners around Galway.
I’ll definitely be waiting on the weather before deciding who I ride in the Galway Plate or Galway Hurdle next week. The forecast is pretty miserable for the West so that’ll have a significant impact on who I hop up on.
Willie Mullins’ entries for the Plate all worked well this week. Picking a ride certainly isn’t going to be easy. Boston Bob (below) is really genuine, and a dual Grade 1 winner. Alelchi Inois has good course form and has done nothing wrong really, although he likes good ground. Indevan probably has a bit to find on Alelchi Inois on hurdle form, while Perfect Gentleman would have to bounce back to his very best. But Willie Mullins will have a good few in the mix, and picking the strongest one is going to be a challenge.
In the Galway Hurdle Willie looks strong again with Max Dynamite, Aminabad, Diakali, Thousand Stars and Wicklow Brave, although Clondaw Warrior might struggle to get in. The all seem in great nick heading to the Festival. Diakali came out of his win in Tipperary in great form and he should be able to hold that form with Thousand Stars.
Wicklow Brave hasn’t run over hurdles since he bolted in in the County Hurdle at Cheltenham and he seems in good form. Max Dynamite was disappointing at Punchestown but finished a decent fourth in the County Hurdle, while Aminabad had a good confidence booster in Ballinrobe last week. So it’s a massively competitive hand from Willie alone.
In the opening race of the Festival, Bachasson has to have a great chance. He comfortably won a Maiden at Sligo earlier this month and should be in the mix at Galway. Long Dog in the Novice Hurdle on Tuesday is another one I’m looking forward to seeing in the Novice Hurdle. It’s hard to say any further with the long range forecast being so wet, but I’m looking forward to being there and getting stuck in.