Can Elliott maintain his stranglehold over the Tote Galway Plate?


Irish trainer has won the race on three of the last four occasions and has the favourite in Galvin this year

Tuesday, July 28, 2020
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Gordon Elliott has enjoyed lots of success in the showpiece race at Galway


All eyes will be transfixed on Ballybrit on Wednesday with the showpiece offering of the Galway Races Summer Festival looking an extremely enticing affair, writes Bradley West

The Tote Galway Plate, which boasts no fewer than 22 runners, looks set to be a real treat for fans of high class jump racing with any number of contenders being backed to take home the €118,000 first prize. 

Gordon Elliott heads into the contest having won three of the last four Plates with three different horse-jockey combinations. 

Sure enough, the formidable trainer is back on Wednesday with another new duo in the form of the ante-post favourite Galvin saddled by Davy Russell. 

The six-year-old may be up 6lbs after finishing a fine second in the Novice Handicap Chase at Cheltenham but he showed strong form at Killarney earlier this month with a 22-length success in preparation for this one. 

Writing in his Betfair blog, Elliott tipped his leading hope for success, saying: “Galvin came out of his recent win at Killarney in good shape.  

“He looks to have the right sort of profile for this race and for a horse with little enough experience over fences he does have the advantage of having contested a high-quality handicap chase when finishing second in the novices handicap chase at Cheltenham in March.  

“I think there is a big pot in him and if the ground dries out over the next day or so that will only help his chances. He should run well.” 

 

Elsewhere, Joseph O’Brien-trained Early Doors is a real contender having claimed victory in the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys' Handicap Hurdle at Cheltenham last year. 

It might be his handicap chase bow but should he get into a rhythm he is expected to be a real lively threat. 

Elliott’s big rival Willie Mullins has only won this famous old race once, in 2011 with Blazing Tempo, but the master of Closutton has got six hopes to choose from this time around as he looks to change his fortunes. 

Principle among them is Royal Rendezvous, with stable jockey Paul Townend onboard, on his first crack at a handicap over fences. 

He has won at Galway before and represents an intriguing prospect and won at Naas on his last outing. 

Easy Game is another Mullins runner who could feature prominently, the six-year-old looking to bounce back from his fall at Cheltenham. 

Henry de Bromhead is the only other trainer to have won this race in its past five incarnations and he forms a strong team with Rachael Blackmore here. 

Seven-year-old Spyglass Hill is their hopeful and he was last seen winning at Gowran Park all the way back in February. 

He has form amongst big fields over fences and hurdles and could well be worth a punt. 

I think there is a big pot in him and if the ground dries out over the next day or so that will only help his chances. He should run well.

- Gordon Elliott

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