herald

Sunday 10 December 2017

It's great to be back in Galway

The highlight of the summer in Irish racing gets underway today in Galway and there is hardly a person in the business that doesn't look forward to what the next week has to offer.

It's a credit to Galway and the management here that they get such strong crowds throughout the week and with over 150,000 people set to make the pilgrimage to the races you know it must be good!

While Galway is so much about the social scene, the racing seems to be getting better every year and I don't think this year will be much different.

Dermot Weld is never afraid to bring a good horse here and there is a lot of prize money on offer. I think this year we have seen a much bigger entry from British trainers which is a compliment to Galway and how it's getting bigger and better year in, year out.

ACCESSIBLE

I head to Galway this evening looking forward to two nice rides and another great thing about Galway now is the motorway there which makes it so accessible and easier to get to.

I won't be staying down tonight as we are busy in the yard at home in Kill and I'm not in Galway tomorrow but I do plan on staying down later in the week as it's a great city and great time to go out and soak up some of the atmosphere.

The big amateur race on the opening day of the Galway Festival is now known as the Connacht Hotel Amateur Handicap and while it may have changed names over the last number of years, the level of prestige attached to the race certainly hasn't.

Ever since I was very young, this is a race that every amateur wanted to win. In Ireland, you have the Grade One bumper at Punchestown and the big handicap at Galway and they are the two races we all want to win more than any.

I think I have rode in eight of the last 10 renewals of the race and so far third is as close as I have come but this evening I ride a horse called Massini's Trap who certainly comes here in good form and looks like being my best chance in the race for a few years.

James Nash trains this fella and I have rode a good bit for James over the years and he would have been the amateur in Willie Mullins' when I started going down there first so we go back a while.

Massini's Trap is only a five-year-old but he is a classy little horse who has won four so far for James and two of his last three on the flat.

As a result though he has shot up through the handicap and will run off a mark of 74 tonight having been 54 when he won his first flat race back in May.

Hopefully, he can keep improving and we can be there or thereabouts as it would mean a lot to me to win this race.

This year's looks even more competitive and if I was looking at one to run well at a decent price could be Sabrina Harty's Dalasiri.

I also ride in the bumper for Jessica Harrington this evening on a filly called Zarafina. She is a four-year-old filly who gets all the allowances and has had a run under her belt so that will stand to her and Jessica's horses are in good form at the minute so hopefully she'll run a nice race.

Everyone wants to have winners at Galway and I'll be cheering on my husband Ross O'Sullivan's horse King Blue in the Easyfix Rubber Products Handicap Hurdle.

He ran well at Sligo last time when finishing third but it looks a good race and we'll be delighted for the horse and the owners if he could finish in the first four or five.

There's no amateur race tomorrow so I'll be tuning in to Robert Hall, Dad and Ruby on RTÉ and the Latin Quarter is the big jump race on the card in which it looks hard to go beyond Royal Ascot winner Domination.

Dermot Weld is set to have another good week as his horses have been flying since the season started and Call Vinnie in today's bumper and Antique Platinum in tomorrows fillies maiden seem to be his best chances early in the week and I wouldn't be surprised if he won tomorrow's Topaz Mile with Defining Year who has a nice weight.

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