Crossgar trainer Colin McBratney received a blow this week when he learned that Galway Plate winner Ballyholland will not be at the festival this summer because of a setback in training.
McBratney said: “It looks as though he will not be back in action until just before Christmas. It’s all very disappointing.
However, McBratney is looking forward to the Galway Hurdle in which he runs Magnum Force who was successful on the flat at Roscommon and runs at Bellewstown tonight.
Magnum Force is owned by the connections of Selection Box and will be ridden by Mark O’Hare in the Seamus Morgan Balbriggan Retail Qualifiers Race.
McBratney added: “He will go on the firm ground and I’m expecting a big run. After that, he will go to Galway.”
Apart from Magnum Force, McBratney has his eyes on other horses for Galway such as KendleGrange who was second at Perth and Spa Well who was fourth.
In addition, Newry trainer Liam Lennon who had a success at Perth this week, will be hoping to run two at Galway including Well Sonny who won a hurdle race at Down Royal on St Patrick’s Day and Martha Elizabeth who was second at the same meeting.
However, the story of the week from Perth was the achievement of Navan-based trainer Gordon Elliott who added to his number of winners this season with a treble on successive days.
“The stable is bang in form and I’m hopeful Backstage who finished fifth in the Galway Plate Trail at Down Royal, will go on to the big one,” he said.
Backstage ran in the Grand National at Aintree and was going well for a time before being carried out at the 20th fence.
Backstage goes for a handicap hurdle at Bellewstown tomorrow and comes up against Jim Lambe’s Quivvy Bridge who was a beaten favourite last time out.
Elliot is no stranger to success at Aintree or Galway and his horses, as seen this week, are always worth following.
More immediate, he has a big chance at Bellewstown tomorrow with Russian War in the Grangeclere Paddocks Open Farm Maiden Hurdle while he could also be on the mark tonight with Bacher Boy in the Sam Dennigan & Co Hurdle over two and a half miles.
The horse was a winner a fortnight ago at Gowran Park under Paul Carberry.
Held up in the rear in mid-division, he soon moved through the field and led before the last and kept on in the run-in. Expect a similar show this evening.
Jim Lambe from Armagh opposes Bacher Boy with Auenschutze whose last outing saw him finishing second at Down Royal.
Punters can get out tomorrow in the bumper with Elliot’s Steps To Freedom who has already won his first such race.