Video: Here's your simple guide to today's big one, the Tote.com Galway Plate
Thanks to our friends in the Tote, here's who to watch out for in one of the most prestigious contests of Galway Race week.
First run at Ballybrit in 1869, the Tote.com Galway Plate is one of the blue riband events of Galway Race week. The 2m6f chase has been won by some classy animals in the past, such as Finger Onthe Pulse in 2010, Blazing Tempo in 2011 and Carlingford Lough last year, a win AP McCoy enjoyed very much (see main pic).
This year's renewal looks even hotter, with Cheltenham winner Alderwood heading the market. Here's Noel Hayes and David Jennings to mark your card for the big one, which goes to post at 5.30 and all the rest of the races on what promises to be a cracking day of racing out west again today.
As elaborated upon by Noel and David in the video above, there is no shortage of guarantees and carryovers on the eight race programme which begins at 3pm.
Today’s Pick 6 is sure to be a big talking point as the pool is guaranteed for a record €200,000. The Jackpot is boosted with a carryover of €30,109 from Tuesday evening’s meeting and for good measure, the Placepot is guaranteed for €30,000.
One Tote customer is in line for a pay out of a massive €40,000 as the Live The Dream sweepstake will be decided on the main race of the day, thetote.com Galway Plate at 5.30.
Naturally, it’s a wide open and any number of horses could get involved. Champion owner JP McManus is taking no chances as he bids to improve on his remarkable record in the race and he runs seven! All eyes will be on the Tony McCoy-ridden Alderwood, a Cheltenham Festival winner last year and the subject of significant support in recent days.
McManus also goes to war with three English-trained runners and of them, Charlie Longsdon’s hat-trick seeking Vulcanite might be best of the travellers.
Trainer Dessie Hughes runs two and perhaps his Irish Grand National runner-up Golden Wonder will be good enough to win under Roger Loughran. A course and distance winner of a novice chase here last year, the eight-year-old is remarkably consistent and should run another big race off a nice weight.
Tandem has not been seen for some time but he is one of the most interesting runners of the day. He makes his jumping debut for Dermot Weld in the opening Tote Pick6 Guarantee Maiden Hurdle (3.00) and will be a very short priced favourite to win.
A smart performer on the flat, he won three times and was placed in a Group 3 event at Leopardstown last September. The fact that he hasn’t run since October is of obvious concern but if retaining any of his old ability, he is certainly the one to beat.
Draco is Tony McCoy’s first ride at this year’s festival and he too is making his first appearance over hurdles. He has shown promise, albeit without winning, for Aidan O’Brien and rates as a danger to the Weld runner. Most Peculiar, who represents Willie Mullins, has one run over hurdles to his name and he too could put it up to the favourite.
The download The Tote Mobile App EBF Mares Handicap Hurdle (3.35)looks tricky but perhaps the Liz Doyle-trained Cacheofgold can upset dome better fancied runners. She was second to the well fancied Bashful Beauty at Wexford only last Friday and is of some interest on her handicap debut.
Obviously, there is no shortage of opposition headed by the McCoy-ridden Beach Of Falesa and Ballychorus. Last night’s opening race runner-up Queen Alphabet would be interesting if turning out again.
The €40,000 Tote Jackpot Guarantee Handicap Hurdle (4.10) is another difficult race for punters with so many of the runners in with a chance. Greatness wears a tongue strap for the first time and gets in on the lowest weight. With his rider claiming a further seven lbs., Tony Martin’s four-year-old has plenty going for him and is put forward as the possible winner.
Others will be fancied to go well including Ancient Sands who ran a cracker on the flat at the Curragh on Derby weekend. Golden Ticket and Hospital give owner JP McManus a chance of success while In A Nutshell is another to consider.
The Grab A Grand With Tote Maiden (4.45) gives punters some respite as it is sure to feature a short-priced favourite. Dermot Weld’s Whitey O’ Gwaun comes into the race with a rating of 89 and he clearly has the form to win. Whether he can be considered ‘banker’ material for the big Tote bets is another thing as there appears to be some market opposition.
Little King Robin has emerged as a clear second favourite. Colin Bowe’s six-year-old has some good form to her name with good runs over hurdles at Down Royal and Tipperary recently.
Thomas Wedgwood was a disappointment on heavy ground at Gowran Park in April and may be a different proposition on this quicker surface.
The Tote Trifecta Rollover Handicap (6.05) is well named as it features a Trifecta rollover of €1,370 from yesterday. It’s wide open and interestingly a number of the market leaders are poorly drawn.
The Weld-trained Moonbi Creek runs from stall 15 and next door to him (in the wrong direction!) is Beau Satchel. Badger Daly is widest of all install 18 and that makes it difficult. Faring slightly better in 12 is Sister Slew and she gets the nod to score for Gordon Elliott and Davy Condon. An eye catcher at Bellewstown where she was having her first run in nine months, Sister Slew can only improve.
The Bet Online At thetote.com Handicap (6.40) has a stand out favourite in the shape of Dermot Weld’s Sarafiyla. She ran well in a good maiden at Naas in June and made no mistake when winning on her second start at Leopardstown earlier this month. She could well be the day’s ‘banker’ and can win from both Ruler Of France and Spring Focus.
Weld supplies yet another favourite in the Tote Return All Profits To Irish Racing Maiden (7.10) where Brooch looks set to be odds-on to make a winning start to her career. Duchess Andorra has finished second on her last three outings and she looks booked for that spot again here.