Grade 1 hero Quick Grabim, Cheltenham Festival winner Band
Of Outlaws and the locally-trained Sole Pretender are sure to be among the
leading fancies for the €300,000 Guinness Galway Hurdle on Thursday, August 1.
Last year Willie Mullins scored his third success in the
race with Sharjah, ridden by his son Patrick, and Quick Grabim, the winner of
the Royal Bond Novice Hurdle at Fairyhouse in December, is one of nine entries
for the champion trainer. Sayo, absent since finishing third in the 2018 Triumph
Hurdle, is also on the Mullins team, as are previous Flat winners at the Galway
festival Riven Light and Exchange Rate. Course winners Stratum and Shanning
could also feature for Mullins who also won the Guinness Galway Hurdle with
Clondaw Warrior in 2016 and Mystical City in 1996.
This year’s Cheltenham Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle
winner Band Of Outlaws is one of two entries made by Joseph O'Brien, who won
the Guinness Galway Hurdle with Tigris River in 2017. O’Brien has also put
Gardens Of Babylon, third in the Triumph Hurdle and another owned by JP
McManus, in the race.
Trained in Gort, County Galway by Norman Lee, the Michael
Hogan-owned Sole Pretender completed a hat-trick of wins when taking the McHale
Mayo Handicap Hurdle at the end of May. The five-year-old would be a first
winner at the racecourse for his trainer if successful in the €300,000 contest
and the first winner of the race trained in County Galway since the Pat
Kelly-trained No Tag in 1995.
Davids Charm was a winner for trainer John Joe Walsh at the
festival two years ago and was sent off second favourite for the Guinness
Galway Hurdle last year. He finished ninth behind Sharjah on that occasion and
looks set for a repeat bid.
Gordon Elliott saddled the second horse home in the Guinness
Galway Hurdle in three successive years from 2012 and has three entries as he
tries to win the race for the first time. Chosen Mate, a Grade 2 winner at Naas
at the beginning of the year, Tombstone, a Grade 3 winner over hurdles and
fences, and Star Maker make up his team.
Tony Martin has entered both Tudor City and Golden Spear,
both previous winners on the Flat at the festival, while his fellow County
Meath trainers Gavin Cromwell and John McConnell have also made two entries.
Cromwell has Ejayteekay and Ming Dynasty while course winner Pearl Of The West and
Play The Game could represent McConnell. Peregrine Run, the winner of his last
five starts, has been given an entry by Peter Fahey for this race and thetote.com
Another in the meeting’s steeplechase highlight and the
Guinness Galway Hurdle is Azzuri, trained by Dan Skelton for the Irish-based
The Blind Squirrels Syndicate. The Olly Murphy-trained Fiesole and Sophie
Leech’s Garo De Juilley are the other British-trained entries.
The weights for the Guinness Galway Hurdle will be released
on Monday, July 22 at 2pm.
Michael Moloney, General Manager of Galway Racecourse, said:
“The Guinness Galway Hurdle is always a tough race to win and this year the
150th year of the Galway Races looks like it will be no different with strong
teams entered from the top yards. It is great to see Ming Dynasty among the
entries for Gavin Cromwell as he beat his stable companion Ejayteekay to win the
Galway Hurdle Trial at Bellewstown earlier this month. The Guinness Galway
Hurdle always captures the imagination of the crowd on the day, we are very
much looking forward to it.”
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