Press Release

Monday 24th July 2017

Old Foes Set for Battle in Galway Plate

The first three horses home in the race last year head the weights for the 2017 renewal of the €250,000 Galway Plate on the third day of the Galway festival on Wednesday, August 2nd.

Lord Scoundrel gave Gordon Elliott his first win in the race when beating Alelchi Inois 12 months ago and the pair will carry 11st 6lbs while Ballycasey, hot on their heels last year, has been handed top-weight of 11st 10lbs this time around. In all, Elliott has made four entries and last year’s hero could be joined in the race by A Toi Phil on 10st 13lbs, Shadow Catcher (10st 1lb) and Potters Point (9st 10lbs). Along with Alelchi Inois and Ballycasey, champion trainer Willie Mullins has made six other entries including the much-improved Townshend on 10st 10lbs and Shaneshill which has been allotted an early weight of 11st 3lbs.

Noel Meade has entered the 2014 winner Road To Riches in this year’s renewal. He has been allocated 11st 6lbs and his trainer is happy that he is back to himself after a difficult year. Meade explained, “He had a problem last year after he got a very bad fall at Punchestown. We couldn’t get him looking well or right all year. It transpired that his spleen had moved over to the other side of his stomach but we didn’t find that out until the spring of this year. Since we got that sorted out he really has turned inside out and he looks more like his old self. He’s been working very well and we have been very happy with him.

“We are hoping that he will be there or thereabouts in Galway Plate, that’s the plan. After that it’s obviously one day at a time, a week is a long time in the life of a racehorse so we don’t try to plan too far ahead. He’s ten years old now so you know everything we get from here on out is a bonus”. Meade has also entered Net D’Ecosse (9st 5lbs) and Tulsa Jack (9st 12lbs) which finished third and fourth respectively in the Midlands Grand National at Kilbeggan on Friday night.
Jessica Harrington is doubly represented at this stage. Rock The World, successful in the Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Challenge Cup Handicap Chase at the Cheltenham Festival is set to carry 11st 5lbs while Sandymount Duke added to recent wins over fences at Punchestown and Down Royal with a win on the Flat at Leopardstown earlier this month and is another on 11st 6lbs.

Henry de Bromhead entered five horses last year but he has eight early contenders for 2017, headed by Devils Bride (11st 4bs), fourth in the race 12 months ago when trained by Willie Mullins. De Bromhead has also entered Sadler’s Risk which has been handed 11st 3lbs while On Fiddlers Green, successful in Connacht National at Roscommon last month has 10st to carry at this stage.

A total of 47 horses have been entered, an increase of seven on last year and the number of British-trained entries is up one to five. Paul Nicholls was the last British trainer to win Galway Plate with the Ruby Walsh-ridden Oslot in 2008 and he has entered Alcala which completed a hat-trick of wins when taking the Listed Betfred Summer Plate Handicap Chase at Market Rasen on Saturday. The seven-year-old has been allotted 11st 3lbs and is 4lbs above the Harry Fry-trained Henryville, already twice a winner this year. Fry has also entered Art Of Payroll (9st 8lbs), formerly trained by Sandra Hughes.

Michael Moloney, General Manager of Galway Racecourse, said: “The entries for all our early closing races are very impressive. Galway Plate is shaping up as we had hoped and it is great to see such strong interest in the race.”