In the second of his exclusive daily blogs from Ireland, the Betway ambassador previews the races at the Summer Festival.
It was great to get the Galway Festival underway on Monday. The ground was lovely actually and not as bad as I thought it would be.
Wednesday sees the big race of the week for us jump jockeys with the Galway Plate.
It’s a race I’ve never won and is obviously one I’d love to win. Here are my thoughts.
3.15pm: No ride for me in the opening maiden hurdle. I was supposed to have a ride but the horse I was going to be on wasn’t declared.
I’ve ridden Silver Concorde plenty of times in the past and he’s a high-class horse. He was beaten in this race 12 months ago but he’ll have his turn at some stage.
Minella Beau is probably his biggest danger.
3.50pm: My first ride of the day is Rosie Alice for Charles Byrnes in the mares handicap hurdle.
She’s been a bit disappointing in all honesty and this is a very competitive race. Just Janice could do well and Our Kylie, who won this last year, also has a chance.
4.25pm: We’ve had a great time with William B over the past couple of months, winning a couple of races at Downpatrick and Bellewstown.
He wants a nice sound surface so we definitely don’t want any more rain. Hopefully there’s still a bit more improvement in him, although we could do with the ground drying out slightly.
5.00pm: The maiden for three-year-olds and older could go to Dermot Weld’s Turnabout .
He didn’t run too badly on his debut at the Curragh in May, and he should be hard to beat in a first-time visor which will help him concentrate.
5.35pm: As I’ve said, the Galway Plate is a race I’d love to add to my CV but it’s one of the most difficult handicaps to win.
It’s such a unique track and you always need plenty of luck. You also really need a horse that’s a bit better than a handicapper.
In recent years we’ve seen graded, or at least borderline-graded, horses win it and there will be some well-handicapped horses in this.
I’m hoping Balko Des Flos is one of them. He’s a nice ride to pick up. I haven’t sat on him before but he had some good form last season.
He was running a decent race in the JLT at Cheltenham before falling four out, and then ran well to finish third in a decent handicap at Punchestown.
Henry De Bromhead’s horses are in great form so fingers crossed.
I can see Dermot Weld’s Three Kingdoms running well. He has a lovely racing weight and ran well in last summer’s Kerry National.
6.15pm: It’s Gavin Cromwell’s Pandagreen for me in the 1m½f handicap.
She’s a consistent filly and seems to have a nice weight. She ran well the last day at Killarney and the ground shouldn’t be a problem for her.
6.50pm: This is a maiden where Dermot Weld has done very well in the past.
He saddles Sansibar Jewel who has had a couple of starts already and is getting weight from her rivals.
7.20pm: The closing 2m½f handicap is wide open, but I can see St Stephens Green running well.
He’s got his act together over hurdles and off a mark of 77 he should go very close back on the Flat.
He was second to Heartbreak City here over hurdles 12 months ago and that is very strong form.