McManus army out to keep Plate
Leading owner JP McManus is going all out to win thetote.com Galway Plate for the second successive year with no less than six of the 22 runners carrying the famous green and gold silks.
Finger Onthe Pulse struck gold in the prestigious midsummer prize 12 months ago and is back for more. McManus will also be represented by Dancing Tornado - the mount of retained jockey Tony McCoy - Head Of The Posse, Wise Old Owl, Aigle D'Or and Dr Whizz.
"Tony will ride Dancing Tornado but to be fair, he didn't have a lot of choice at the weights," said McManus' racing manager Frank Berry.
"The only other one he could have done the weight on was last year's winner. Dancing Tornado met with an injury after Cheltenham last November but he came back into training with this race in mind. He ran OK on the Flat in Limerick the other day. He was a bit unlucky not to make this race last year with a foot injury, so hopefully all goes well this time.
"Tom (Taaffe) is very happy with Finger Onthe Pulse. I saw him working last week and he looks great. Head Of The Posse has own technique for jumping, but he's run well round the track before and he's in good form. We're hoping for the best with him. Wise Old Owl is similar and we just hope he can run a good race. He won't mind the ground.
"Nicky (Henderson) is happy with Aigle D'Or and he's a horse who has threatened to run well in a good race. He's coming over in good form but he's a difficult horse to catch right on the day.
"Dr Whizz won a nice race at Punchestown the last day but of the lot of them I would say he would appreciate a bit more cut in the ground. He lacks a bit of experience but we're hoping it all comes together. It's nice to have a few runners in a really good race, as it's very competitive."
The ante-post favourite for the race is Pat Flynn's Bahrain Storm and he has just crept into the contest as the second from last horse. The eight-year-old won the Galway Hurdle two years ago and was second to Overturn in the race 12 months ago. He is rated almost 20lb lower over the larger obstacles and following a chase win at Killarney last time, Flynn is as confident as he could be.
Flynn said: "I'm thrilled he's got in the race and we're obviously really looking forward to it. We know he likes the track and the ground is right. He's on the right weight and everything, so we couldn't be happier. We're up for the race and with a bit of luck in running he should go very well."
Paul Nicholls, who saddled Oslot to win the race in 2008, is represented by Rebel Du Maquis and the trainer said: "He's arrived in Ireland and he's in good shape, so I'm very happy with him. He went up 11lb for winning by 11 lengths at Stratford the other day, so that is going to make life tougher. I thought he wasn't that well handicapped before, so he has to improve, but I think he could do."