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Abbot has ability to Top the class

By Ron McKnight

Published 29/07/2016

Warrior spirit: Ruby Walsh after riding Clondaw Warrior to victory in the big Guinness Galway Hurdle yesterday
Warrior spirit: Ruby Walsh after riding Clondaw Warrior to victory in the big Guinness Galway Hurdle yesterday

Colin McBratney, who landed the Galway Plate in 2009 with Ballyholland, returns to the Ballybrit track in search of further success with Topper Thornton in the Galway Blazers Chase.

Topper Thornton is a dual winner at Down Royal and finished fourth in the Ulster National at Downpatrick in March.

While the Crossgar-based runner has place prospects, Sir Abbot could supply the leading Irish jumps owner JP McManus with another winner at the Galway Festival.

McManus has a trio engaged including Waaheb, trained by Dermot Weld, with Give Me A Break also capable of reaching the frame.

The Guinness Handicap features on day five of the festival and Travertine shoulders top weight for McManus, having finished third to Ringside Humour at the Curragh last time.

Ringside Humour, having finished a close sixth in the premier mile handicap, turns out again for the in-form duo of trainer Jim Bolger and jockey Kevin Manning. Alveena, trained by Weld, rates the principal danger.

Marbeth runs in the penultimate event for Tyrone trainer Andy Oliver however Most Radiant and Three Majors are the preferred pair.

Zulu Alpha gets the vote in the finale with Jensen a notable debutant.

Petuna beat Swamp Fox at Ballinrobe last month and the runner-up highlighted the form when winning on the opening festival session. But Ivan Grozny looks the one to beat.

Robbie Power is due to undergo surgery early next week for a complex fracture of his eye socket after a fall in the mares hurdle on Wednesday, while Conor Maxwell has a fractured nose.

Bryan Cooper was taken to hospital yesterday for further examination after suffering severe abdominal pain following a fall between the final two fences of the beginners chase when in front having made the running to that point aboard Cheltenham Festival winner Tiger Roll.

Ruby Walsh deputised for Cooper when winning on Bel Sas in the novice hurdle before Clondaw Warrior gave the star jockey a first Guinness Galway Hurdle as he just repelled Hidden Cyclone in a thrilling finish to the £150,000 feature.

The victory was made extra special for Walsh as his wife Gillian is one of the winning owners via the Act D Wagg Syndicate.

Walsh said: "It's nice Gillian will be taking me out for dinner tonight! To be involved with friends, it's magic."

Trainer Willie Mullins added: "I'd imagine he'd have to improve another 7lb to think about the Melbourne Cup, that might be a bit too far. If he did I'd imagine that would be a real dream." TONIGHT'S GALWAY TIPS: 5.10 Automated 5.45 Lost In Silence 6.15 Sir Abbot 6.50 Ringside Humour 7.25 Ivan Grozny 8.00 Three Majors 8.30 Zulu Alpha

Belfast Telegraph

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