Monday 23rd July 2018

Last year’s winner, the Joseph O’Brien-trained Tigris River, is among 44 horses entered for the €300,000 Guinness Galway Hurdle on Thursday, August 2. The victory kick-started an incredible run of big race wins for the young trainer, who added a Emirates Melbourne Cup in November with Rekindling, a Unibet Irish Gold in February with Edwulf and a Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby in June with Latrobe.

Tigris River, fifth in the race in 2016 before winning last year, is one of five entries in the race for O’Brien and has been allotted 10st 9lbs. Like stable companions Le Richebourg (10st 5lbs), Ivanovich Gorbatov (10st 4lbs), the hat-trick seeking Monarch (10st 3lbs) and Plinth (10st), he is owned by JP McManus.

Champion trainer Willie Mullins, a winner with Mystical City in 1996 and Clondaw Warrior two years ago, includes the top three in the weights among his 14 entries. Wicklow Brave is 12lbs clear at the head of the handicap on 11st 10lbs, with Meri Devie next best with 10st 12lbs and Sharjah on 10st 11lbs. Royal Ascot winner Lagostovegas has 10st 10lbs while Whiskey Sour, twice a winner at the 2017 Galway festival, is on 10st 8lbs with the 2015 runner-up Max Dynamite on 10st 3lbs.

The Noel Meade-trained Joey Sasa had Wicklow Brave and Sharjah back in second and third places respectively when impressing in the Grade 3 Kevin McManus Bookmaker Grimes Hurdle at Tipperary earlier this month and has been allotted 10st 10lbs. Gavin Cromwell has entered his dual Grade 1 winner Jer’s Girl (10st 9lbs) while David’s Charm, a winner for John Joe Walsh at the Galway festival last year, is on the same weight. Trainer Mick Mulvany has entered his great money-spinner On The Go Again, which has been given an early weight of 9st 13lbs.

Cause Of Causes, Flaxen Flare and Bayan have all finished runner-up in the Guinness Galway Hurdle for Gordon Elliott but luck has deserted him in the race over the last three years. Elliott has five entries this time including The Game Changer, a place behind Bayan when third to Thomas Edison in 2014, on 10st 4lbs and Cartwright on 10st 1lb.

Sixth in the race last year, the John Quinn-trained Project Bluebook heads a British entry of four. Bedrock, third in the Grade 1 Betway Top Novices´ Hurdle at Aintree in April, has been entered by Iain Jardine while the raiding party is made up of Hassle and Leoncavallo, both trained by Dr Richard Newland.

Michael Moloney, General Manager of Galway Racecourse, said: “There are few races that capture the imagination more than the Guinness Galway Hurdle and we are thrilled with the number and the quality of the entries. The race has delivered the perfect mix; with last year’s back for more, some strong challengers from Britain, and plenty of up and coming stars biting at their heels.”