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After putting up Royal Rendezvous in the Galway Plate, Danny Mullins is back with more top insight for the Thursday of the Festival.

16:35 - Guinness Novice Hurdle - 2m

This centres around the two Willie Mullins horses and it’s interesting that Paul Townend has gone for Tax For Max. While he hasn’t got a penalty and carries 11-2 for being a maiden, I think Brian Hayes could be on the winner here with Farout. He was very impressive the last day in Cork after not jumping very well first time out at Fairyhouse. That was much improved the last day and even with the penalty I think he’s good enough to win this.

17:10 - Guinness Open Gate Brewery Beginners Chase - 2m6½f

This is a fairly competitive race for a beginners chase and plenty of these were highly rated over hurdles. I think Paul Townend will be able to get a winner here with Bleu Berry. He was a past winner of the Coral Cup and a very high-class hurdler on his day. He jumped very well over hurdles the last day and I got off him that day thinking a beginners’ chase would be no problem for him. I think he’s going to take all the beating here.

I suppose the main danger is City Island who won the Ballymore a couple of seasons ago. He’s had a failed attempt at going chasing before having finished pulled up and well beaten last season. If his jumping holds up, he’s obviously the class horse with a rating of 145 over hurdles but Galway is a speed track which really puts jumping to the test. I don’t know if this is really going to work for him.

Of the others, Low Sun, Speak Easy and Streets Of Doyen all have high ratings over hurdles too, but if Bleu Berry puts in a clear round of jumping, they’ll have to go a long way to beat him.

17:45 - Rockshore Novice Chase (Grade 3) - 2m2f

There’s going to be plenty of fans for Fan De Bleus but I don’t think the track will suit him. He’s just a weak finisher sometimes and the hill at Galway would just be a negative. He’s a very good jumper and won nicely the last day at Punchestown but the last furlong and a half will be very long for him.

I think it’s worth sticking with Gin In Lime. She’s been very impressive in what she’s done so far. The only slight negative is that she jumped a little bit left around Limerick the last day but hadn’t on her couple of runs before that. I think of what we’ve seen so far she’s going to be the one to take all the beating in it.

Robinnia for Willie Mullins and Bryan Cooper only carries 10-10 and gets a nice bit of weight off the main fancies here. I think she could be the one for an each-way bet were she the right price.

18:15 - Guinness Galway Hurdle Handicap - 2m

Winner Takes It All is favourite at the moment after a good win in Bellewstown the last day. He was probably a bit disappointing before that and got a fair hike after Bellewstown, going up 13lb to get in here. This is going to be a completely different kettle of fish and I think he might be a bit skinny here.

Belfast Banter is a lot more solid. Peter Fahey’s horses have been in great shape all week with his runners on the Flat running very well. This winner of the County Hurdle backed it up with a Grade 1 win in Aintree and would have a fantastic chance here.

The one I think will win the race was actually behind Belfast Banter in the County Hurdle - Milkwood for Neil Mulholland and Sam Twiston-Davies. I would say if they could have a go at the County Hurdle again they definitely would. He confirmed that strong form line when winning the Scottish Champion Hurdle at Ayr quite easily and hasn’t gone up that far. He started off on 140 in the County, went up a couple of pounds for the place and only five for winning at Ayr. Belfast Banter is up 15lb since then and I think the Mulholland horse has the form to win this race.

18:45 - Arthur Guinness Handicap Hurdle - 2m

Punters Poet is the one I like here for Matthew Smith and Paul Townend. Matthew got on the board on Tuesday with No Thanks so the stable is in form. This one won nicely in Roscommon back in July and had an OK run on the Flat in Leopardstown last time which should leave him in perfect shape to come here and run a big race. I think he’s the most likely winner.

The other one I like is Karakhan for Denis Hogan. He takes the ride on it himself and this fella obviously has his quirks. He ran out in Clonmel two runs back but had a good run behind Highstreet Roller in a competitive maiden hurdle in Bellewstown the last day. Bellewstown is a fast track where you need to jump well, so that bit of experience should leave him OK for his first run in a handicap here.

19:15 - Guinness Novice Hurdle - 2m4½f

Patrick Mullins takes the ride on M C Muldoon in Jackie Mullins’ colours here, so I’m sure Paul Townend wouldn’t have had the choice here and I wouldn’t be too worried about the bookings. M C Muldoon was a little bit unlucky in Punchestown and just didn’t get the splits at the right time in the race turning for home. He ran a fine race in Ascot to be second a couple of weeks ago. He has the highest rating in the race, doesn’t have the highest weight and will take a lot of beating here.

Banbridge is improving with every run for Joseph O’Brien and JJ Slevin. He won nicely in Roscommon the last day in a steadily run race and a stronger gallop here will definitely suit him.

Tucson Train could be a horse to improve plenty at bigger odds. Won in Tipperary the last day on a flat track which I don’t think really suited him. A stiff finish like at Galway will definitely suit him and could be a one for each-way money.

19:45 - Guinness 0.0% Handicap Hurdle - 3m

Mike O’Connor is back on Blackstair Rocco who won on this fella at Down Royal earlier in the year when there was strong market support for him. Had a good run in Tipperary the last day where the first and second drew 30l clear of the third. This fella has got another couple of pounds for that second but the vibes from Emmet Mullins’ stable seem to be that he’s up to winning again. I think he’s the most likely winner of the race.

It Could Be You for Tom Mullins and Jack Foley is another that has been running quite well his last few races. Third in Ballinrobe in a competitive handicap, he just ran a little bit free but hopefully on a bit of better ground round Galway, they might go a little bit faster and that will allow him to settle. He could give Blackstair Rocco plenty to think about here.

20:15 - Guinness Time INH Flat Race - 2m2½f

Dads Lad is probably going to be on a lot of shortlists. He was unlucky not to win a bumper here last year and after that went to Kilbeggan and was very disappointing. I still have a question mark of this fella, he’s been beaten twice so far and I’d be happy enough to take him on here.

The one I think could be poised to beat him is Ultima Thule for Dick Donohoe and Jamie Codd. That’s a very good booking for this horse. He was third in a bumper a couple of seasons back and had a bit of leg trouble following that so missed a year. He came with a good comeback run at Killarney and I think that form would suggest he can win the race here. He was only 9l behind Easywork who went on to be a Grade 1 performer. I rode a winner for Dick Donohoe at Kilbeggan recently and for a small stable they’re a canny operation.

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