Clondaw Warrior joint topweight for double bid in Galway Hurdle

Sandymount Duke on course to give Harrington another ‘first’ in Galway Plate

Ruby Walsh celebrates Clondaw Warrior’s victory in the Galway Hurdle last year at Ballybrit. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Ruby Walsh celebrates Clondaw Warrior’s victory in the Galway Hurdle last year at Ballybrit. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

 

Clondaw Warrior will have to overcome both history and topweight if he’s to land back-to-back victories in next week’s €300,000 Guinness Galway Hurdle.

The Willie Mullins-trained star secured a memorable success in Ireland’s richest hurdle race a year ago under a vintage Ruby Walsh ride.

The winning ‘Act D Wagg’ syndicate includes the champion jockey’s wife, Gillian, and Clondaw Warrior is in line tackle next week’s festival feature once again, topping a list of 40 after Monday’s entry stage along with the cross-channel-trained John Constable.

However, just one horse during over 100 years of Galway Hurdle history has ever successfully defended the title – Pinch Hitter in 1982-83.

Clondaw Warrior’s trainer Willie Mullins has a total of seven entries in the Galway Hurdle with Renneti and Ivan Grozny also towards the top of the handicap.

Mullins has kept open the option of running his Grade One-winning mare Airlie Beach who currently has 10.10 in the handicap, the same as his 2015 runner-up Max Dynamite.

That horse went on to become a leading stayer on the flat and finished runner -up in the 2015 Melbourne Cup. However he hasn’t run since last year’s Ascot Gold Cup.

Another former winner back in the Galway Hurdle mix is the 2014 hero Thomas Edison who is one of seven options for Tony Martin.

“Thomas Edison and Pyromaniac will be the two, I’d say. I was happy with Thomas Edison the other day at Tipperary. He [Pyromaniac] is a better horse on the flat but we might let him have a go at the Hurdle,” said the Co Meath trainer.

Pyromaniac dominated the run-up to last year’s big race when only a judicial review granted by the High Court three days beforehand allowed him line up.

A stay was put on a 42-day ban confirmed by a Turf Club Referrals Committee hearing the previous week. Pyromaniac ultimately finished out of the money. The matter was finally resolved in January with no penalties applied to the horse or to Martin.

On target

Half a dozen cross-channel hopefuls remain in this year’s race including the joint-topweight John Constable and the JP McManus owned Project Bluebook, a Grade Two winner at Fairyhouse’s Easter festival.

Jessica Harrington won the Galway Hurdle in 1994 with Oh So Grumpy and her sole entry this time is Light That. However the in-form trainer anticipates being well represented across both codes next week.

“Rock The World will run in a handicap. Mr Fiftyone will run in a handicap while Don’t Touch It will run in a novice two-mile graded race which he qualifies for. I’ll have some for the hurdle races and a good few for the flat in the good handicaps,” she reported.

Harrington also confirmed Sandymount Duke as on target to try and give her a first success in next Wednesday’s €250,000 Tote Galway Plate.

Harrington completed a set of notable ‘firsts’ over fences last season, particularly with Sizing John in the Cheltenham Gold Cup and Our Duke in the Irish Grand National.

Sandymount Duke is a previous Galway festival winner and has been in prolific form this summer winning his last three starts including a flat contest at Leopardstown earlier this month.

After that the trainer indicated the horse’s owner, Rolling Stones guitarist, Ronnie Wood, could make the trip to Ballybrit to watch Sandymount Duke in action.

Last year’s third, Ballycasey, tops the Plate weights on 11.10 with the 2016 winner Lord Scoundrel on 11.6, the same weight as the 2014 hero Road To Riches.

“He had a problem last year after a bad fall. It transpired his spleen has moved over to the others side of his stomach but we didn’t find that out until the spring of this year. Since we got that sorted out he has turned inside out,” said Road To Riches’ trainer, Noel Meade. 

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.