Galway Plate

The one thing the now-retired Des Cahill will no longer have to deal with is the different coloured caps associated with the usual big representation from the Gigginstown Stud and J.P McManus silks, but as ever in this valuable and much sought-after prize, runners from either of those two powerful owners are always worth a second look.

Having plundered the 2m 6f contest three times in the last four years, the famous maroon colours attached to Michael O’Leary are now part of the race fabric and following in the hoofprints of Balko Des Flos twelve months ago, Calino D’Airy looks to be Ryanair supremo’s chief contender in this season’s renewal. Trained by Henry De Bromhead, the six-year-old brings similar credentials to the table as his stable companion in the sense he’s a second-season novice who ran in a Graded contest when last seen. Although several may have not run their race at the Liverpool-based track, the son of Anzillero still ran with great credit to only get beaten five-lengths by Colin Tizzard’s ill-fated star Finian’s Oscar and based on the evidence available that day, good ground and a step up in trip should prove ideal.

Victories by Far From Trouble, Finger Onthe Pulse, Bob Longo and Carlingford Lough in recent times have ensured the famous green and white hoops have joylessly walked into the winners’ enclosure at Ballybrit and SLOWMOTION (best price 12-1) looks one of the most likely to keep the tradition going for one of Ireland’s most enduring and treasured racing figures. An inexperienced novice when an excellent third in this race last year, Joseph O’Brien’s mare has failed to build on that career-high performance in four subsequent starts over fences, but it was good see her show a bit more promise on her latest outing back over hurdles in the Grade 3 Grimes Hurdle at Tipperary. Off the back of a 69-day break, the daughter of Soldier Of Fortune ran a blinder to finish a close-up fourth behind the likes of smart hurdlers Joey Sasa and Wicklow Brave and given that race at the Limerick Junction track was over an inadequate two-mile trip, her performance deserves even more praise. Likely to be a good deal sharper for that outing, the six-year-old heads back to the scene of her finest hour with the wind in her sails and based on the evidence of her four best career displays, the predicted decent ground should provide her with the perfect platform to better last year’s heroics.

Away from those powerful connections, PEREGRINE RUN (best price 14-1) appeals as one most likely to gate crash the party and following an eye-catching effort that served the chief objective of blowing away the cobwebs at Killarney last time out, Peter Fahey’s classy gelding is a must for any shortlist.

A talented Grade 2-winning hurdler, the lightly-raced eight-year-old has made a seamless transition to fences based on his six starts over the larger obstacles and three victories in the early part of Autumn when the ground was still in his favour meant he was on the shortlist for several races at the Cheltenham Festival. Unfortunately, the son of King’s Theatre had to miss the gig due to a setback and his season ended up on a slightly sore note when he tipped up at the fourth last when still in contention in a Grade 2 Chase at Ayr.

Racing on the Flat for the first time after an 88-day break, he looked just short of match sharpness when outpaced over 1m 6f against the likes of Wicklow Brave and several other useful and speedier types at the Co Kerry venue, but at the same time, he did finish his race off with a degree of purpose from two out to offer plenty of encouragement for the future. Hopefully that all-important outing will have done him the world of good and having run well over this unique course when third to Rathvinden at last year’s seven-day extravaganza, he fits the profile of so many previous winners of this race.

Slowmotion - 1pt e/w @ 12/1
Peregrine Run - 1pt e/w @ 12/1