Kings Of Ballybrit

Thu 14th Jun 2018, 08:08

photoGalway Parade Ring
©Healy Racing Photos
As the Galway Races approaches trainers and their staff across the country will be preparing their horses for the unique test of Ballybrit.

The tight undulating track doesn’t suit all horses but the prizes and prestige of a ‘Galway Winner’ ensure some of the most competitive action of the year as the racing circus descends on the west coast of Ireland for seven days and nights at the end of July.

Curragh trainer Dermot Weld bossed Galway for over a quarter of a century as year-after-year he claimed the leading trainer award at the Festival. That all changed in 2016 when Champion National Hunt trainer Willie Mullins upped his challenge and dethroned Weld.

Mullins repeated the dose in 2017 when his 12-winner tally was comfortably enough to secure a second title.

The Leading trainer award at Galway is calculated on placed horses as well as winners with points awarded for winners, seconds and thirds across the entire week’s racing.

  • Winner 5 points
  • Second 3 points
  • Third 1 point

Galway 2017
(c) Healy Racing Photos
Dermot Weld’s Flat string is performing much better this season than in either of the last two so his supporters will have high hopes that he can wrestle his crown back from Mullins but National Hunt races form a large part of the Galway week and Weld isn’t strong in that department.

Former Champion Jockey turned trainer Joseph O’Brien emerged as the chief threat to Mullins last year and his dual-purpose yard will again be a force throughout the Festival.

Mullins’ chief rival on the National Hunt circuit Gordon Elliott hasn’t tended to target Galway with the same force as he does other Festivals but his runners can never be discounted.

The races at Galway are traditionally some of the strongest betting contests of the year with punters and bookmakers locking horns throughout the week in everything from two-year-old maidens to handicap chases as tips are flying around from all quarters.

If you are lucky enough to be on the right side of one or more of the gambles during the week you can work out your winnings with this neat odds-calculator from aceodds

Lee has high hopes for Sole Pretender

Trainer Norman Lee is looking forward to seeing Sole Pretender make his hurdling debut following his Ballinrobe bumper success last month.

THE IRISH TIMES