Well, it’s been some time since I’ve updated you, so I thought I’d put a little blog together for Galway despite the fact that I won’t be riding there. In fact, I genuinely cannot remember the last time I didn’t ride at the meeting. It will be strange not being there as it’s such a great craic, but I’ll be watching on from home.
Having a ball with the family
I have spent the last few weeks travelling around Ireland with the family and we have had a ball. The weather has been great and it’s just been lovely spending some time with the kids. I haven’t been in riding work for some time now but that is about to change. In fact, I think I’ve had my last ice cream of the summer too as I prepare for a return.
Excitement building and eyeing a September return
All the horses are back in and the excitement is really beginning to build for the season ahead. I was in the other day and you can really feel the buzz around the place. I’ve been doing loads of work in the gym and plan to start being back in and riding out from the 1st August. The plan would be to aim for a return around the first week of September. That gives me a month or so to get back to my riding weight and continue to work on my fitness.
The two feature races of the Galway Festival are the Plate and the Hurdle, and there is plenty of rain about which could make things interesting. Here are my thoughts on both races…
Galway Plate (6.15pm, Wednesday)
Obviously, the eyes are drawn to both Samcro and Battleoverdoyen at the top of the weights. They are both class acts on their day and the fact that they line-up in a race like this shows the quality of the contest. Samcro wears pieces for the first time, but this would be some effort to win this off a mark of 158. I’m always keen on something that carries 11 stone or less in a race like this so look out for both Off You Go and Somptueux. Off You Go has exactly 11 stone which is a lovely racing weight for one of his class. Don’t forget he beat no less than Minella Times two starts back in Leopardstown. As for Somptueux, he prepped for this with a nice spin around Wexford and sneaks in at the foot of the weights.
Galway Hurdle (6.15pm, Thursday)
The declarations for this aren’t out yet with Grade One winner Belfast Banter catching the eye. It looks like some renewal if the leading contenders stand their ground with Champion Hurdle class Saldier at the top of the weights. Magic Tricks tops my shortlist although this will be a real test for one so inexperienced. He ran a cracker when an unlucky second to Hearts Are Trumps in Fairyhouse and his recent spin on the flat in Killarney will have blown the cobwebs away. As for other likely contenders, I expect Skyace to go well now that the rain has come, while Cape Gentleman (pictured below) has plenty of class and will stay this trip really well. He ran a cracker in Royal Ascot and is dangerous to discount.