Dermot Weld has rivals for leading trainer title in Galway

Increasing competition headed by Willie Mullins puts ‘King of Ballybrit’ under pressure

Dermot Weld has had 28 uninterrupted years as leading trainer at the Galway Festival. Photograph: PA.

Dermot Weld has had 28 uninterrupted years as leading trainer at the Galway Festival. Photograph: PA.

 

The finish of the 2015 Galway festival is set to contain a novel twist this weekend with Dermot Weld actually having competition on his hands for the leading trainer award, competition the “King of Ballybrit” will hope to quickly put to the sword.

After 28 uninterrupted years as leading trainer, Weld’s pre-festival warnings that his 2015 Galway team might not be as formidable as other years appear to have coincided with a rise in competition headed by the champion handler Willie Mullins.

As the award is decided on a points system – with five for a winner, three for a second and one for a third – the outcome could come down to numbers and significantly Weld has four Saturday runners compared to Mullins’s sole declaration, Wood Breizh, in the €80,000 Ladbrokes Handicap Hurdle.

Wood Breizh ran fourth to Modem in Monday’s big amateur prize and looks a threat to all.

Proven stamina

Tony MartinElishpour

Weld’s two National Hunt runners should prove hard to beat. Zafayan ran into a hot Mullins runner on Monday in Bachasson but gets another maiden hurdle shot here while First Figaro can make it third time lucky in the bumper.

Kitten Loves Roses ran fifth on his Curragh debut over Derby weekend and can step up for the juvenile maiden but it is Ger Lyons’s Waipu Cove who looks the one to keep onside in the Nursery.

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