Mulholland sets sights on Galway Plate with Shantou

Tue 2nd Jan 2018, 15:04

photoShantou Flyer
©Healy Racing Photos
Neil Mulholland has set his sights on the Galway Plate as a long-term target for Shantou Village.

The eight-year-old has won four of his six starts over fences, but disappointed on his seasonal reappearance in the Old Roan Chase at Aintree in October.

Mulholland has kept his charge away from the deep winter ground and is targeting a spring return before a possible Irish mission in the summer.

"We just half put him away for the second half of the season. We will probably keep him in a bit more for the summer, maybe for the Galway Plate," said the trainer.

"Last year we were never happy with him and we only just got him right for Sandown for the novice handicap chase on the last day.

"This ground is atrocious at the moment, so it is a waste of time bringing him back yet. We will be getting him ready from March onwards and the Galway Plate will definitely be something of interest."

The Mulholland-trained Pilgrims Bay could defend his crown in next month's BetBright Chase at Kempton after finishing second at the Sunbury venue over the festive period.

However, he could first take in the Sky Bet Chase at Doncaster on January 27th.

Mulholland added: " The little bit of overnight rain probably didn't help him at Kempton the other day, but there are plenty of chances coming up on better ground.

"There is the BetBright Chase he won last year and you can also go up to Doncaster for the Sky Bet Chase at the end of this month. I think we are looking at doing that with him.

"A nice flat, galloping track is what he wants. He is a horse that is very quirky, but around Kempton the other day he didn't have enough horses around him as well.

"He is a horse that should be competitive in those big handicaps."

Speak Easy given Tolworth option

Joseph O'Brien's Speak Easy is a potential challenger for the 32Red Tolworth Novices' Hurdle at Sandown on Saturday.

THE IRISH TIMES