Super Diakali looks a stout winner in Galway Hurdle
Owner Nick Peacock is eyeing a dream result to the Guinness Galway Hurdle today, with Diakali and Wicklow Brave both expected to go well in the Ballybrit feature.
Diakali returned from over a year on the sidelines when running out an impressive winner of the Grimes Hurdle at Tipperary almost three weeks ago and is the chosen mount of Ruby Walsh.
Wicklow Brave, who will be ridden by Paul Townend in the second colours of Peacock's Wicklow Bloodstock banner, reverts to jumps after having let down favourite-backers in the Queen Alexandra Stakes at Royal Ascot.
It could be a huge afternoon for the owner, with his star Flat performer Simenon considered a major contender for the Goodwood Cup.
Peacock said: "I won't be going to Galway, unfortunately, as I'm heading to Goodwood, but it's brilliant to have the two of them there. It's a huge prize.
"Diakali was very impressive the other day, so my money would probably be on him, but the thing about Wicklow Brave is we don't really know how good he could be.
"The last time he ran over hurdles was when he cruised home in the County Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival. He's gone up a fair bit in the weights for that, so we'll see.
"It probably won't happen, but it is not beyond the realms of possibility they could be first and second.
"I wouldn't be that surprised if that was the case and it would obviously be an amazing result if it did."
Diakali and Wicklow Brave are part of a formidable hand for Willie Mullins, with the champion trainer also saddling Thousand Stars (Katie Walsh), Aminabad (Luke Dempsey) and Max Dynamite (David Mullins).
The trainer said of Diakali: "He's rated 153. It's tough to win off that weight, but remember he's run well in Grade Ones and was very unlucky in Aintree with Tony McCoy one day, beaten a head and a nose.
"That gives him a good chance anyway."
Tony Martin is also well represented, with last year's winner Thomas Edison, ante-post favourite Quick Jack and Ted Veale all in the final field, while Pyromaniac is third reserve.
Bayan and The Game Changer were placed in last year's renewal and are in the mix again for Gordon Elliott.
"They are in very good form. They would like a bit of nice ground," said the trainer.
"They were second and third in the race last year so we know they like the track and that is a big plus".
With the top 20 horses in the entries all declared, Jessica Harrington's Modem, who won the valuable Connacht Hotel Handicap on Monday, is not guaranteed a run, but is first on the reserve list.
Shark Hanlon is expecting a bold show from his stable stalwart Hidden Cyclone in the 4.45. The top-class chaser is rated 20lb lower over smaller obstacles and showed himself in good heart when winning on the Flat at Leopardstown recently.
"He's well in himself and everything looks to be going right for him," said Hanlon.