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Galway Plate preview GALWAY PLATE
2m6f Handicap Chase

by Sam Preen, @sampreen, originally published here

So for today’s post, I’ve decided to jump ship, away from the fashion-infested week of Glorious Goodwood, to Glorious Galway. By the time you’re reading this, Kingman will have probably beaten Toronado by about four lengths, and all eyes will be on the Galway Plate, which has attracted a hefty field, as usual. Here’s the line-up…

Kid Cassidy
Form; 7/177-. Jockey; Jody McGarvey (5). Trainer; Christy Roche.

Aside from his exploits over fences, including claiming the notable scalp of Sire De Grugy last November, Kid Cassidy will forever be known as one of the horses to be electrocuted at Newbury, way back in 2011. He’s only been seen once on the course this year, in the Champion Chase, when a detached seventh behind old foe Sire De Grugy, in what was to be his final start for Nicky Henderson. It’s interesting to see if Christy’s got him primed for this, having being off since March, but looks up against it stepping up to this trip.

Form; 1213P/4-. Jockey; AP McCoy. Trainer; Thomas Mullins.

This would be some training performance to get Alderwood back in the winners enclosure. Last year’s Grand Annual winner, he hardly lost anything in defeat the following month at Aintree, but was no match for Arvika Ligeonniere at Punchestown, in ground which would have suited him perfectly. He’s been off since a disappointing fourth at Naas last October, and missed previous engagements, including Cheltenham, and with all the market support, he’s an interesting runner despite being off such a long time.

Road to Riches
Form; 13P41-2. Jockey; Shane Shortall (7). Trainer; Noel Meade.

Still fairly lightly raced, Road to Riches hasn’t lived up to his early expectations of his hurdling days, but has found his form in novice chases, especially when he gets the right ground. Second at Punchestown on his last start under the promising pilot Ger Fox, he finished ahead of The Romford Pele, who has since boosted the form with a smashing Listed win. He should have no problem tackling this extra furlong, and remains of interest.

Spring Heeled
Form; 28015. Jockey; Davy Russell. Trainer; Jim Culloty.

Cheltenham Festival winner Spring Heeled didn’t live up to his name in the Bet365 Gold Cup, when he could only manage a detached fifth (staying on past beaten rivals). He takes a significant drop in trip to tackle this, and although beaten favorite over course and distance last August in a beginners chase (won by Golden Wonder), he won his racecourse debut here way back in 2011. Has conditions to suit, but must prove his Cheltenham win wasn’t a fluke.

Form; 001-11. Jockey; Noel Fehily. Trainer; Charlie Longsdon.

Continues to run over both hurdles and fences these days, which saw him fire off a hat trick of wins this year, starting at Stratford. Caught the eye when staying on strongly under Ger Fox when upped to 2m4f, though the form hasn’t worked out as good as one would hope. Warrants respect for the connections he represents, but probably remains best watched as he heads back over fences.

Form; 0F/F1-4. Jockey; Andrew Lynch. Trainer; Henry De Bromhead.

Done most of his running for Willie Mullins, but was moved to Henry De Bromhead’s yard last July, and didn’t make an appearance until February the following year. Showed promise at the end of 2012 in Novice Chases, twice finishing second in Graded events, but went on a downward spiral since then, twice falling, before landing a minor event at Clonmel in horrific ground. Stayed on well enough in a valuable handicap at Punchestown at the end of April, and looks dangerous on potentially better ground.

Art Of Logistics
Form; 40-211. Jockey; Mark Enright. Trainer; Dessie Hughes.

Bidding for the hat-trick is Art Of Logistics. Won a handicap chase well enough in the middle of May, reversing the form with Mallowney, and followed that up with a comfortable victory in a four runner event in June. Struggled in a Novices’ Chase at the Festival back in March over 21 furlongs, but was earmarked for this after his last run. Will have being trained for this, and could run a big race now upped in trip once more.

Caid Du Berlais
Form; 21532-. Jockey; Sam Twiston-Davies. Trainer; Paul Nicholls.

Another British raider, this time coming from Ditcheat. Had useful form in France, but never won over hurdles on these shorts, although he did finish a length and quarter second to Ruacana in last year’s Future Champion Juvenile Hurdle at Chepstow, and finished runner up to Jezki at Down Royal, before making a winning debut in a novice chase. Flopped when dropped in trip to Valdez at Doncaster earlier in the year, but bounced back when upped to 21 furlongs when staying on to close in on Thomas Crapper in the Martin Pipe at Cheltenham, and capped off his season to finish runner up in a Grade 3 hurdle, sacrificing his lead by idling close home. Remains of interest considering the connections, especially as he’s still only had two races over fences.

Form; 2030-4. Jockey; Barry Geraghty. Trainer; Enda Bolger.

Hasn’t won since the end of 2011, when in training with Nicky Henderson, but showed a spark of old form when runner up in this last year. Failed to follow that up in the Kerry National, and after finishing third in a point to point, he was a disappointing runner in Cheltenham’s Cross Country at the Festival, having seen out the race in the rear, but showed some promise over Punchestown’s cross country race last time out. Warrants respect after finishing runner up last year, but remains to be seen if he can repeat that feat again this year.

Rum And Butter
Form; 20-111. Jockey; Richie McLernon. Trainer; Jonjo O’Neill.

Much better since the application of cheekpieces, finishing out of the money only once in 9 starts, and has “won all” three starts over fences (awarded race at Stratford). Stays this trip well enough, and probably would’ve finished closer at Newton Abbot last September on his sole start over this trip, had he not blundered the last. Faces his first real test over fences, but not one to rule out entirely.

Form; 5U/0P9. Jockey; David Casey. Trainer; Willie Mullins.

Fairly promising when landing a Grade 2 in the mud on his chasing debut, but failed to follow up in the RSA behind future Gold Cup winner Lord Windermere, and tipped up at Punchestown, before finishing tenth in last year’s plate, wearing cheekpieces. Pulled up when upped back in trip at Listowel, and hardly disappointed when ninth in last year’s Hennessy. Has been off since then, but he’s been known to go well fresh, and now dropping in trip, with good ground looking likely (3-4 on good), he looks capable of springing a surprise, especially coming from Mullins’ stable.

Golden Wonder
Form; 12542. Jockey; Roger Loughran. Trainer; Dessie Hughes.

Foul crisps, but a nice horse to keep on side. Won a beginners chase over course and distance last year, beating Spring Heeled by three and a half lengths, and proved himself a useful handicapper, which he showed when he was desperately unlucky not to win the Irish National, going down three quarters of a length to Shutthefrontdoor. Takes a fair drop in trip for this, but ideally would prefer slightly softer ground, having previously missed an engagement due to good ground.

Away We Go
Form; 3/9-61. Jockey; Paul Townend. Trainer; Willie Mullins.

Became a useful stayer last year, finishing runner up in the Irish National, and third to Quentin Collonges in the Bet365 Gold Cup. Hardly disgraced himself in this year’s Irish National, considering he’d been off for nearly a year, and did well when dropped to this trip at Punchestown, showing real guts for an 11 year old. Warrants respect on the back of that, and not ruled out if capable of repeating his Irish National run.

Grandads Horse
Form; 08-528. Jockey; Kielan Woods. Trainer; Charlie Longsdon.

A fair hurdler, and useful chaser in his day, he’s often struggled in Listed company, showed a hint of old promise when fitted with blinkers at Market Rasen in June, but failed to follow that when upped back into Listed company over this trip. Certainly wouldn’t fancy him as my main hope, and looks difficult to recommend for each way punters.

It’s A Gimme
Form; 2-211. Jockey; Alan Crowe. Trainer; Jonjo O’Neill.

Landed a listed event over this trip, and will have a special place in AP’s heart, after the gelding was the horse to topple Martin Pipe’s record of wins. Fairly versatile when it comes to the ground, but has done most of his winning on good to soft. Deserves his place in this, but this is far tougher than a Market Rasen Listed event.

Lord Ben
Form; 32-811. Jockey; Brian Hayes (3). Trainer; Henry De Bromhead.

Been a hit and miss horse, but came to his own over shorter distances, winning both at Listowel and Wexford. Much improved now he’s allowed to bowl along in front, and knuckled down to win well on his latest start. Should get to dictate things from the front, but unlikely he’ll run them into the ground.

Burn And Turn
Form; 2553-1. Jockey; Robbie Power. Trainer; Jessica Harrington.

Beat the ironically named She’s Got Grit last time out at Punchestown, and showed that the wind operation she had last year is paying off well enough, finishing third in a Grade 3, and she was earmarked for this after her win in May. Will certainly appreciate the step up in trip, and has the ground to suit. Likely player.

Form; 3441-P. Jockey; Johnny Burke (5). Trainer; Willie Mullins.

Notched his first win in a year and a half over this trip at Thurles last October, before a few creditable efforts in defeat. Won a shade cosily in April over this trip, but pulled up in a novice handicap chase at Punchestown in May (Road To Riches second, The Romford Pele third). Warrants respect on the back of his Gowran run, back in January, but could find a few too good.

Golden Kite
Form; 21P-41. Jockey; Kevin Sexton (5). Trainer; Adrian Maguire.

It would be some feat to get the 12 year old into the winners enclosure, but having only raced twice this season, he looks up against it. Has raced over a variety of trips in his time, but held on by three quarters of a length at Roscommon over 24 furlongs. Trainer Adrian Maguire said it’d be an ideal race, but the ground would be too well watered, so fairly surprising to see him in the line up.

Form; 31568-. Jockey; Paul Moloney. Trainer; Charlies Byrnes.

Has his ideal good ground, which he is unbeaten on, but leaves a lot to be desired having being winless in nearly a year. Off since January, where he jumped without any spark and finished 50 lengths behind the winner, and although likely to have being aimed for this, he’s very difficult to recommend.

Count Salazar
Form; 33-942. Jockey; Brian O’Connell. Trainer; Eoin Doyle.

Won over course and distance in the mud last October, and ran some creditable efforts back over hurdles, since. Unlucky not to land the spoils at Limerick after running out of steam close home, and should have no trouble stepping back up in trip. Only won once on good-ish ground, though.

Wise Old Owl
Form; 2229/8. Jockey; Mark Walsh. Trainer; John E Kiely.

Sneaking in near the bottom is useful chaser Wise Old Owl, who didn’t make his racecourse debut until he was 6. Desperately unlucky not to fire off a hat trick in 2010, and only ran twice in 2011, which saw him finish as a runner up twice, including in this race. Finished ninth after over a year off in the 2012 running, and was off until April of this year when running a moderate eighth at Punchestown. Claims on his old form, but hard to recommend against more race-fit rivals.

Orpheus Valley Form; 0B20-1. Jockey; Reserve 1. Trainer; Thomas Gibney.

Notched his first win in a year and a half at Punchestown on soft-ish ground, when running in a fair handicap chase, claiming the scalp of many of these. Has a potential prep run for this at Killarney when running way down the field on the flat, but will need to run things his way from the front if he’s able to win this. RESERVE.

Form; 0P08-1. Jockey; Reserve 2. Trainer; J P Dempsey.

Notched a win over course and distance yesterday (or today, if you’re reading on Monday) when getting the better of Cailin Annamh, her first win since Boxing Day 2012. Almost certainly won’t run, and will definitely need a break after her win. RESERVE.

Usuel Smurfer
Form; 3441-3. Jockey; Reserve 3. Trainer; John Joseph Hanlon.

A surprising winner over this trip at Fairyhouse, but failed to follow that up when seeing out most of the Killarney race at the back, and was already set for third, despite a dodgy jump at the last. A fairly infrequent winner, but has his ideal ground, should be make the cut. RESERVE.

Plenty of runners with lively chances, and last year went to the favorite, and JP McManus, who has SEVEN runners in this year's race. Rum And Butter makes a bit of appeal on his handicap chase debut, as does Vulcanite, who runs back over fences. I’m siding with the “home team”, and Henry De Bromhead’s AUPCHARLIE gets the nod. Followed up a minor event with a creditable effort in a fair race at Punchestown, staying on for fourth, and despite connections reaching for cheekpieces, he should run a huge race.

Lightly raced over fences, the British raider Caid Du Berlais remains of interest for Paul Nicholls, and it would be foolish to ignore any Willie Mullins sends in, too. Away We Go makes the most appeal, but for those who are tempted for an each way price, Terminal could run better than he did last year, when he finished tenth. He’s been off since finishing ninth in the Hennessy, but has gone well fresh in the past, and no doubt Willie will have him primed for a big run. Road To Riches heads here having run well in a similar event, beating main hope Aupcharlie, who finished fourth, back in May. He beat home The Romford Pele, who boosted the form with a Listed win, and providing Road to Riches can handle the extra furlong, he could live up to his name.

Aupcharlie @ 25/1 E/W
Terminal @ 25/1 E/W
Road To Riches @ 16/1 E/W


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