The legendary Tiger Roll is unlikely to carry top-weight if he returns to action in The Tote Galway Plate on Wednesday week.
The Aintree Grand National and Cheltenham Festival legend is one of nine entries made by trainer Denise Foster for the annual summer highlight at the Galway festival. The weights revealed this afternoon have him on 11st 7lbs and there are three horses above the Gigginstown House Stud-owned star in the early handicap.
In the same ownership, Tiger Roll's stable companion Samcro tops the weights on 11st 10lbs with the Willie Mullins-trained Easy Game next in on 11st 9lbs while another of the Cullentra team, Battleoverdoyen, also owned by Gigginstown House Stud, is on 11st 8lbs.
Denise Foster has also entered her recent Kilbeggan Midlands National winner The Big Lense for owner JP McManus and The Very Man, a winner over hurdles at last year’s festival.
Champion trainer Willie Mullins has made 12 entries as he bids to win the race for the first time in 10 years and along with Easy Game, last year’s narrow Plate runner-up Royal Rendezvous is in his team as is the lightly-raced Sapphire Lady, the novice Fan Des Blues, and Livelovelaugh, sixth in the race last year.
Joseph O'Brien won the 2020 Tote Galway Plate with the McManus-owned Early Doors and his seven entries this time include Darasso, Top Moon and Embittered. The winner of his last three starts, Cavalry Master features in a Henry de Bromhead-entry of seven that also contains Somptueux and Visioman.
Other notable entries include Edward O'Grady’s The West’s Awake which narrowly got the better of Visioman to land the Galway Races Galway Plate Trial Handicap Chase at Kilbeggan last month, Emmet Mullins’ The Shunter, the Cathal Byrnes-trained Off You Go, the Noel Meade-trained Snow Falcon, Gearoid O'Loughlin’s Ben Dundee and Shady Operator, one of a trio in the race for Enda Bolger.
Last year’s Guinness Galway Hurdle-winning trainer Willie Mullins has made 11 entries for the latest renewal and a strong-looking team is headed by the dual Grade 1 scorer Saldier. His 2020 Triumph Hurdle winner Burning Victory and Ciel De Neige are also to be found towards the head of the weights with Foveros, twice a winner at Galway, and Jazzaway other eye-catching entries for the champion trainer.
Petit Mouchoir, another two-time Grade 1 winner and third in the race a year ago, is the early joint top-weight on 11st 10lbs with Saldier and is one of five entries for Denise Foster. The Cullentra trainer can also call upon the unbeaten juvenile Duffle Coat, Call Me Lyreen, Eclair De Beaufeu and Magic Tricks.
An exciting local entry is certainly the Michael Hogan-owned Sole Pretender (11st 5lbs) which finished fifth in the race behind Tudor City two years ago. Norman Lee’s charge is clearly in the best of form having won the Grade 3 Grimes Hurdle at Tipperary on his most recent outing.
He beat the Joseph O'Brien-trained Darasso to win that afternoon and the latter is one of five the Piltown trainer has in the Guinness Galway Hurdle. Peter Fahey has his Cheltenham Festival winner and Aintree Grade 1 hero Belfast Banter (10st 13lbs) in the early line up, while Hearts Are Trumps, sixth in the race in 2019 and second last year is there again for Des McDonogh.
The 2019 winner Tudor City would be running at the Galway festival for the seventh consecutive year if taking his chance for trainer Tony Martin. Emmet Mullins has both Zero Ten and Cape Gentleman in the race while Henry de Bromhead has made a single entry, Annexation.
There are three British-trained entries in the Guinness Galway Hurdle. Copperless, the runaway winner of the Swinton Handicap Hurdle at Haydock in May, could take his chance for Olly Murphy while Neil Mulholland has put in his Scottish Champion Hurdle winner Milkwood. Brian Ellison has five Galway festival winners to his name and has entered Mrs Hyde, a four-time winner over hurdles.
Michael Moloney, Chief Executive of Galway Racecourse, said: “Owners missed out last year and while it means so much to have them back, it’s such a pity that the number of racegoers must remain capped. What we can guarantee is seven days of competitive National Hunt and Flat racing and The Tote Galway Plate and the Guinness Galway Hurdle are the most eagerly anticipated races of the week. The entries for both are as strong as ever and we can all look forward to terrific renewals of both races.”
Click HERE for the entries and weights for The Tote Galway Plate
Click HERE for the entries and weights for the Guinness Galway Hurdle