Gigginstown team travels with more hope than confidence for Galway Plate

Bookmakers reckon O’Leary’s best chance may lie with Calino Dairy

 Ruby Walsh: he can pick from Willie Mullins’s large Plate entry. Photograph: Getty Images

Ruby Walsh: he can pick from Willie Mullins’s large Plate entry. Photograph: Getty Images

 

Michael O’Leary’s Gigginstown Stud team confesses to more hope than confidence about its chances of a fourth win in five years in next week’s Tote Galway Plate.

Balko Des Flos’ victory last year added to victories in the €250,000 festival highlight for Lord Scoundrel (2016) and Road To Riches in 2014.

The latter pair are among 13 entries the Ryanair boss has left in the Plate, including the two topweights Sub Lieutenant and Valseur Lido.

Bookmakers, however, reckon O’Leary’s best chance may lie with Calino Dairy, two out of two over fences at Galway last October, and Grade One-placed at Aintree on his last start in April.

Both he and Bel Ami De Sivola are general 16-1 shots, but Gigginstown’s spokesman Eddie O’Leary has downplayed their chances.

“We won it last year with Balko Des Flos. He should have won a Ryanair and he’s won one since. Road To Riches won it off 145 and became a 165 horse. It shows the class needed. Is Calino that class? I doubt it.

“You’d like Bel Ami to run but he has no chance of getting into the race. I’d imagine all those entered who can get a run will run if nothing goes wrong.

“It’s been a very good race for us, but we’re more hopeful than confident. I’d say a lot depends on how much watering God does! If they’re on about inches that could change everything for everybody,” O’Leary said on Friday.

Ruby Walsh is set to make his return from injury at the festival, and can pick from Willie Mullins’s large Plate entry. The veteran rider has won the summer’s big steeplechase twice before, scoring on the last cross-channel raider to win, Oslot, a decade agao, and on Moscow Express in 1999.

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