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Mullins holds a strong hand

Trip and ground look ideal for Canardier to deliver for Willie


Canardier is one of seven that Willie Mullins saddles in the feature race today

Canardier is one of seven that Willie Mullins saddles in the feature race today


Canardier is one of seven that Willie Mullins saddles in the feature race today

Day five of Galway marks the end of jump racing for the week and while the last two days saw the feature races down for decision, there are still some nice prizes and plenty of quality on show this evening.

The Guinness Handicap Hurdle is becoming a much sought after race for horses that find the two miles a bit sharp in the Galway Hurdle and I think Willie Mullins holds a strong hand here with CANARDIER (6.15).

The top three in the weights are all trained by Willie, who is actually responsible for six of the eight highest rated and runs seven in total in the race.

Canardier had his first start for Willie at Cheltenham last year in the Coral Cup when falling and while this is competitive, it won't quite be as tough as the Coral Cup and I think he'll run a big race.

The trip and the ground should be ideal.

Joseph O'Brien has been mopping up big races at Galway this week and while his likely winners might be more low key today, he can continue his momentum with RISK FACTOR (4.45) and STAR MAX (6.45).

Risk Factor looks to be one of the better bets on the card as he begins his hurdling career.

We are more used to seeing the colours of Michael Tabor at Goodwood rather than a jump meeting at Galway, but he'd still get a good kick out of a winner here and this horse followed up Appreciate It in a Grade Two bumper last season.

Joseph's horses couldn't be in better form and it doesn't matter what type of race it is.

In the beginners' chase I just think that Star Max can put his experience to good use to fend off his rivals. He is a handicapper taking on novices and that should stand to him.

We spoke about local winners at Galway already this week and there could be a nice family success in the Adare Manor Opportunity Hurdle with BORN BY THE SEA (5.15).

This horse turns out again quickly for Paul Gilligan and will be ridden by his son Jack. On Monday night this horse caught my eye when running a blinder on the Flat at a big price, on that occasion ridden by Jack's brother, Liam.

You could make cases for plenty of these but I thought that run the other night was good enough to set this horse up for this evening.

Another family affair could be GUNFIRE REEF (7.45) in the Galway Blazers.

This is a consolation race for horses who don't get into the Galway Plate itself and Gunfire Reef jumps off the page. He's a horse who wouldn't have the rating to get into a Galway Plate and he gets into this race with a lovely racing weight of 10st8lbs for Mags and Danny Mullins.

He's a 10-year-old now but Gunfire Reef is in the form of his life after bolting up at Tipperary and then again over hurdle at Limerick.

I don't think his chase mark has gone up too much to stop him here today and I'd be expecting him to complete the hat-trick.

I'm going to take a leap of faith on THE STORYTELLER (7.15) in the Arthur Guinness Chase.

Out of the nine runners in the field, The Storyteller is one of five to have run in the Galway Plate but he'll be the freshest after only going as far as the third fence.

He's going to have to jump sharper but without the helter skelter of a packed field of handicappers like the Galway Plate, Keith Donoghue might just be able to get this horse into a rhythm early and have a big say at the finish.

Conor McNamara takes 5lbs off BENTHAM (5.45) in the Tribesman Hurdle and if this horse turns up in the same form as he was at Bellewstown, he'll take some beating here.

Johnny Moore misses out through suspension but Gavin Cromwell has a good deputy and this horse has proven to like varying ground which is a big plus at Galway.

Patrick Mullins has enjoyed a decent week so far and can continue that in the finale on day five with HALLOWED STAR (8.15) for Shark Hanlon.

The Mee family love to have a winner at Galway and they rarely leave the week without bagging a few. They have a few chances today but it could be a case of saving the best until last with this Tipperary bumper winner which they bought after he won by nine lengths last time.

Katie's choice - Galway today

4.45 Risk Factor

5.15 Born By The Sea

5.45 Bentham

6.15 Canardier

6.45 Star Max

7.15 The Storyteller

7.45 Gunfire Reef

8.15 Hallowed Star