Galway Festival: Tony McCoy seeks first Plate
A compelling renewal of the Galway Plate under the Tote's banner for the first time promises to draw the crowds to Ballybrit yet again when Willie Mullins and Tony McCoy seek their initial success in this historic event.
The dominant Irish trainer and Britain's perennial title-holder have sporting prospects of making the Plate breakthrough, with versatile Deutschland and The Moonandsixpence batting for the Mullins yard and McCoy pinning his hopes on Dancing Tornado on behalf of JP McManus.
McCoy won't have fond memories, though, of Plate day in 2006 when he suffered a nasty fall from the ill-fated Sporting Limerick two out in a hurdles event and was undergoing treatment when Roger Loughran deputised aboard Far From Trouble.
The field of 22 also includes Five Dream for Paul Nicholls and Grand Slam Hero, fresh from a Summer Plate success at Market Rasen for Nigel Twiston-Davies.
From the multiple Eoin Doyle-trained scorer The Fonze topping the weights down to Valerius, one of three runners for the equally in-form Gordon Elliott stable, this race is brimful of horses with definite claims on their best form as ante-post gamble Majestic Concorde tries for a fifth Dermot Weld victory in this coveted affair.
Backed up this time by locally-owned Bobs Pride, Majestic Concorde is relatively inexperienced over larger obstacles, with two wins from five but has the services of Davy Russell to help counter that potential drawback.
The pick of those in the 11 stone and above category may be Tony Martin's Northern Alliance with record-breaking ‘points' pilot Derek O'Connor aboard, although Ansar (12 stone in 2005) is the only horse to have defied that kind of burden in the past this decade.
Compressed into a 7lb spread below 11 stone are Cuan Na Grai, Nicanor and Eoin Griffin's pair Lucky Wish and The Last Derby.