Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 20 August 2014

Oliver targets speedy double at Galway Festival

Trainer Andy Oliver

Tyrone trainer Andy Oliver is aiming for a quick double with Target Acquired at the Galway Festival tonight.

Target Acquired won the Now Is A Good Time Handicap at Down Royal on Friday evening and goes in the Claytonhotelgalway.ie Handicap on the opening card of the week-long festival.

"Target Acquired will be carrying a lot of weight. He was hit with a five pound penalty," explained Oliver, who also runs Abou Ben in the preceding Connacht Hotel Handicap, the feature worth a tasty €42,000.

"Abou Ben has been trained specifically for the race. He has won two out of his last three and had a pipe opener at Dundalk earlier this month," said the Caledon-based handler.

"Both horses handle the ground. Galway is always tough but both are fit and well and in good form," Oliver added.

It would be a remarkable achievement if Target Acquired were to win again tonight, but it's a tall order under top weight. Chris Hayes again partners the three-year-old.

Other Ulster interest at Galway tonight sees Downpatrick trainer Brian Hamilton contest the Sean Burgess Memorial Handicap Hurdle with Wither Hills, champion jockey Davy Russell in the saddle.

Dermot Weld insists he will be "more than satisfied" if he can reach anywhere near the double-figure mark at the Galway Festival.

Weld has been the king of Ballybrit for many years and heads into this week looking to be crowned the Festival's leading trainer for a remarkable 27th time.

Curragh-based Weld saddled a staggering 17 winners at the 2011 Galway Festival, bettering his previous best of 11 a year earlier.

Twelve months ago the trainer rattled off nine victories, but with a smaller team assembled this time around, he would be pleased with a similar result.

"If we can even get close to that (nine) this year, we'll more than satisfied," said Weld, who has six runners tonight.

Meanwhile, Ulster jockey Martin Harley rides Ambiance for trainer Mick Channon in the Molecomb Stakes on the opening day of Glorious Goodwood tomorrow.

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