Security Breach heads Willie Mullins attempt on Galway Hurdle
Champion trainer is not the only Mullins with Galway glory on his mind
Mark Walsh on Bob Lingo who will defend his Galway Plater crown at the festival at Ballybrit next week in Galway. Photo: Lorraine O’Sullivan/Inpho
Just over three months after scooping a monster €550,000 first prize in Japan, Willie Mullins appears to be pursuing Ireland’s richest National Hunt prize with a vengeance and the champion trainer has over a quarter of the entries left in next week’s €260,000 Guinness Galway Hurdle.
The centrepiece contest of the world-famous seven-day festival has a total of 51 possibles after yesterday’s entry stage, with 13 of them from Mullins’ all-conquering stables, including the topweight So Young and last year’s favourite Drive Time who crashed out at the fourth flight leaving jockey Ruby Walsh with a broken ankle.
However it is Pique Sous who has been installed a 6-1 joint-favourite with the Cheltenham festival winner Ted Veale by Paddy Power. Both horses ran in a flat race at Bellewstown over a fortnight ago when Ted Veale emerged best with the Mullins runner only third.
However it is the bottom rated of the Mullins team, Security Breach, a winner at Gowran Park last month that the trainer mentioned yesterday in relation to a race he last won in 1996 with Mystical City.
“He has progressed well this season and he seemed to appreciate the fast ground when he won the last day at Gowran,” Mullins said. “We’ll have to see whether he will get in but he seems to be in very good form and being a four year old he gets all the allowances.”
Mullins trained his Nakayama Grand Jump hero Blackstairmountain to finish third to his brother Tom’s Bob Lingo in last year’s Tote Galway Plate and has eight possible among the 61 left in next week’s €200,000 steeplechase, among them Sunday’s Tipperary winner Laganbank.
Last year’s big hurdle winner Rebel Fitz has run just three times over fences but has been installed as topweight.
Bob Lingo will be back to defend his title and is likely to be joined by a strong team of stable companions.
“Klepht will run after running well on the flat at Killarney recently” said Tom Mullins. “We know Bob Lingo likes Galway and he’s another that likes good ground. Fosters Cross looked in great form with himself when he on the flat at Leopardstown and he has won three times around Galway. He has won the big amateur handicap and he nearly won the Galway Hurdle but this year I have the Plate in mind and I’m inclined to let him take his chance.”
In other news, the Group One rider of the moment, Johnny Murtagh could end up with another big chance in Saturday’s King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot depending, on the outcome of a game of musical jockey chairs.
The German hope Novellist was to have been ridden by Ryan Moore but he has been claimed by Michael Stoute for the supplementary entry Hillstar while his replacement William Buick could also be claimed.
“The plan is for Buick to ride but there is a chance he may have to go to York to ride for John Gosden, ” said German trainer Andreas Wohler yesterday. “William is the first choice as he has ridden Novellist before. If he is unable to ride, Johnny Murtagh will ride.”
Just 11 horses remain in the King George including the Aidan O’Brien-trained favourite St Nicholas Abbey, third in the race for the last two years, and Jim Bolger’s Irish Derby hero Trading Leather.
Just a couple of months ago Macbeth was running behind Camelot at the Curragh and while he cut no ice in that company, a flat rating of close to 100 makes him a very interesting contender in the first maiden hurdle at Ballinrobe this evening.
Bob Le Beau has been rated even higher on the level but he is now on a fourth go over jumps and this free-running sort did get noticeably warm before fading away tamely on his previous start at Limerick. Jessica Harrington’s runner could be worth another shot around this tight track.
Jockey Danny Mullins will be able to return to action on the Friday of next week’s Galway festival after his appeal against a fourteen day ban for driving an ambulance at Bellewstown races earlier this month saw the suspension reduced to ten days.