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Falcon needs to soar to serve up a Plate triumph

By Ron McKnight

The Noel Meade-trained Snow Falcon is the sole Ulster runner in tonight's renewal of the Galway Plate.

Ground conditions might have dried too much for Snow Falcon - owned by Belfast-based Mrs Patricia Hunt - while Meade also has the third reserve, Road To Riches, winner of the feature in 2014 prior to claiming the Champion Chase at the Down Royal Festival later in the year.

Sub Lieutenant, winner of the supporting novice feature chase at the Maze Festival in 2016, and Valseur Lido - which won the 2016 Nicholson Chase to give Henry de Bromhead a big-race double - form part of a quintet representing De Bromhead in this year's renewal.

However, horses at the lower end of the weights have an excellent record in the £250,000 feature of summer jumping, and Slow Motion could supply JP McManus with another victory in the race and a first for handler Joseph O'Brien, allowing him to again follow in his father's footsteps, dad Aidan gaining back-to-back victories with Life Of A Lord in 1996/97.

The White Volcano, a runaway winner for Armagh trainer John Woods at Down Royal in May, is only second reserve in the Tote Handicap Hurdle, while Blackwater trainer James Lambe runs former Ulster Derby winner Sir Ector in the two-mile flat handicap.

Pretty Boy Floyd, owned by Belfast solicitor Gerry McManus and formerly trained by Sarah Dawson at Dromore, finished runner-up in the £250,000 sales race at the Curragh last September.

The local horse has joined Tony Martin's team and, if building on his second at Navan in April for the trainer, could have major claims in the Tote Handicap.

Meanwhile, Riven Light returned from a lengthy absence to win the valuable Colm Quinn BMW Mile Handicap for the second successive year at the Galway Festival last night.

The Willie Mullins-trained six-year-old was last seen competing in Group One company in Australia in October, where he picked up a serious leg injury.

Trainer Mullins said: "Danny (Mullins) gave him a great ride. We're delighted."

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