With the Tote Galway Plate just two weeks away, I’ve been keeping an eye on some of the horses being discussed as potential runners.
Henry de Bromhead has said that he is targeting Walk Away for the race. He’s a horse with a good profile for the it, coming 2nd to Asterion Forlonge at the Punchestown Festival. We haven’t seen him since, but that’s good form and Novices do well in this race. With the season de Bromhead just had, and his targeting of the horse so far out, this one catches my eye.
Ornua who won at Tramore earlier this month, also trained by Henry de Bromhead, is another potential entrant. He went up in trip and stayed well. He’s a solid horse but quiet high in the handicapping, so the Plate might just be coming a little too late for this ten-year-old. I think he might be at his mark without really having anything in hand.
There’s a lot of talk about Cheltenham-winning Samcro going to the race. He wouldn’t be my first pick. I was very disappointed with him at Listowel. There is a suggestion about him getting headgear for the race, which might make a difference. He’s a high-rated horse and if he runs he is going to keep a lot of horses low in the weights. Those down around 10 stone may struggle to enter.
He certainly has the ability but I’m not sure that he has the heart to go through the middle in a Plate, he needs to be on the speed and win from the front. His performance at Listowel might have put them off running him.
The hill to the line in Galway makes everything change and you can’t call the winner until they pass that line. Some horses just don’t have it to climb that final hill. I always say course from is gold in Galway, and when I say course form what I am really talking about is the ability to get up that hill. I’ve ridden horses that handled the bunch and the tightness of the track really well but when they came to that hill they just weren’t able to get up it. It doesn’t really matter about the horses age or status.
Another interesting horse I’ve seen mentioned is an English one called Captain Tomcat, trained by Dr. Richard Newland. After winning his last three, they said they were putting him away for a break and aiming him for the Plate. So, it will be very interesting to see how he is in the betting. He looks like a progressive horse and he has a lot of experience, so, he could be a good candidate.
This race gets better and better every year and I think English connections are realising what a good, valuable race it is in the middle of summer. In terms of presence and prestige, it is one of the biggest and best-known races in Ireland. So, it is great to see horses coming over like this.