The entries for the early closing races were made public last week, which includes Thursday’s Topaz Mile Handicap and the week’s feature race the Guinness Galway Handicap Hurdle.
The handicap hurdle falls mid-week, on the Wednesday, and has attracted 51 entries, with Co. Meath trainer Gordon Elliott entering five of these horses on his own.
The 36-year-old’s best chance looks to be Bayan, but he still has Cape Gory, Quarton, Midnight Game and Takeyourcapoff to give him a good chance a landing the lucrative €250,000 prize fund.
Willie Mullins has never won the feature race at Galway, and has only entered one runner, but has a great chance with Royal Ascot winner Pique Sous.
Aidan O’Brien enters four-year-old Plinth who came second in a Grade 1 hurdle in May at Punchestown and won his next at Ballinrobe before a disappointing performance at Royal Ascot last month to keep owner J.P McManus’ eyes on the prize.
There are 16 English-trained horses entered in the Guinness Galway Handicap Hurdle with Mountbazon, Gassin Golf and Pearl Castle being of major interest.
Tony Martin, who enjoyed a fantastic Galway Festival last season has given entries to Quick Jack and Thomas Edison, and Dermot Weld could be doubly represented with Diplomat and Hisaabaat.
As expected, Gordon Elliott’s Cause Of Causes, Bless The Wings, Raajih and Plan A all received entries in the €200,000 tote.com Galway Plate.
J.P Mc Manus is responsible for 14 of the 59 entries in the race, with Kid Cassidy, now trained by Christy Roche, Shot From The Hip, Jacksonslady, Quantitativeeasing and Competitive Edge standing out at this early stage.
Gigginstown House Stud have entered six horses with Noel Meade’s Road To Riches, and Gordon Elliott’s Shrapnel, who has already won a Grade 3 novice chase around Ballybrit, being of interest.
Meanwhile, the tote.com Galway Plate raiding party is made up by Caid Du Berlais, Creevytennant, Grandad’s Horse, It’s A Gimme, Kie, Minella For Value and Pantxoa.
Dermot Weld has entered Defining Year, Calibrate, and recent Killarney festival winner Stay De Night in the €115,000 Topaz Mile while Jim Bolger could roll the dice with Alpinist, Chance To Dance, Fiscal Focus, Intensical, Paene Magnus, Tobann and Wexford Opera.
Dermot Weld is solely represented by Show Court, owned by his son Kris, in the Guinness Handicap on Friday evening while Jim Bolger’s News At Six may attempt to land his fourth consecutive victory in the race.
Irish Stallion Farms EBF ‘Ahonoora’ Handicap
Sunday’s race has attracted 39 entries with many horses holding multiple entries throughout the week. Great White Eagle, who was a high class two-year-old for Aidan O’Brien, is a fascinating entrant for the Ballydoyle stable, while any one of Dermot Weld’s Sparkle Factor, Sailors Swan, Alkasser, Northern Rocked and Stay De Night would command respect if lining out in the race.
“We couldn’t be happier with the entries for all of the early closing races,” the Galway racecourse manager John Moloney said on Friday.
“Throughout the past few years we have seen a spike in the quality of racing on offer, and judging by this year’s entries, that looks set to continue. We are really looking forward to another great week of top-class racing action,” he concluded.
Throughout the week-long Galway festival, there will be over €1.6m in race sponsorship spread across 52 races.