The renewal of the Galway Hurdle is all about one horse – Edward O’Grady’s The Real Article. Having been given a questionable ride on his previous outing where he was beaten into second place by Captain Cee Bee (a former Cheltenham Festival winner), The Real Article was immediately cut from 8/1 to 4/1 for the valuable race on the Ballybrit track this Thursday.
The six year old’s sudden improvement may have not been expected, but his mark will lend itself well to a decent run. While there seems to be an air of inevitability about the Hurdle given similar coups have gone according to plan recently, it’d be foolish to ignore the rest of the field.
Given his successful Cheltenham, his judgement of a horse and his rising profile in the game, Gordon Elliot’s two charges are worth a second look. Dirar, who finished third when favourite a year ago, and Plan A are intended runners. They have been campaigned lightly and with their shrewd handler claiming “the Galway race has been the plan for them for some time” staking some each-way bets at decent prices.
Long time Galway Plate favourite Baharain Storm is in jeopardy of missing the cut for Wednesday’s feature so the prudent thing is to wait for the final declaration stage. That’s not to say you shouldn’t be doing your homework. UK trainer David Pipe is eyeing a tilt at the 2 mile 5 furlong with Qulinton, winner of the Summer Plate at Market Rasen. Low weighted horses also have a very good record in the event. That success has pushed him into the field and Bahrain Storm has suffered. The Pipe’s have been known for well placing their horses and it seems the seven year old will be a viable option at a decent price.
Given Dermot Weld (top trainer at Galway 27 times) knows a thing or two about producing winners at the course, Majestic Concorde looks ominous in the betting as second favourite (with Bahrain Storm). The Master of Roswell, and Ballybrit for that matter, has also saddled the winner of the Galway Plate on four occasions. That kind of record alone commands the utmost respect. Unseated when travelling well in the Grand National, Weld’s horse will be suited by the stamina-sapping, testing track.