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McManus set to triumph in a real Blazer of glory

 

By Ron McKnight

Ireland's richest hurdle race, the €300,000 Guinness Galway Hurdle, features on day four of the festival, with JP McManus owning nine of the 20 runners.

Tigris River won the festival feature last year and, along with Blazer, makes most appeal of the McManus army with the latter just preferred.

Monarch, a Down Royal winner in June at 25/1, has solid place claims.

Lisnagreggan represents County Antrim handler Michael Millar in the opening beginners chase but takes a major step up in company having twice finished runner-up in local point to points before finishing fourth over hurdles at Downpatrick last month.

Rashaan - a three-time Down Royal winner including the big WKD Hurdle at the course's festival event two years ago - reverts to fences, but the change in ground conditions could hinder his chances.

Draperstown trainer Noel Kelly has solid claims in the flat handicap with Mash Potato, which ran well on a similar track when close at Chester in June, if overcoming a very wide draw.

Kelly, who had to settle for third last night in the amateur riders contest with Rising, has booked local champion points rider Noel McParlan for James Boru in the finale - the local horse already a dual points winner - while Beltrame makes a belated debut for Downpatrick trainer Brian Hamilton with Declan Lavery in the saddle.

The Belfast-owned Snow Falcon made a bad mistake at the first fence and was in the rear for most of the race in the featured €250,000 Galway Plate last night before staying on very well to finish fourth having been supported from 20s to 12/1 behind victor Clarcam, ridden by Mark Enright and trained by Gordon Elliott.

Elliott said of the 33/1 shot: "Mark gave him a great ride and he jumped from fence to fence.

"I thought he was going to get swallowed up coming up the hill, but it was brilliant.

"I told Mark to go out and enjoy himself, let him bowl along as it's the only way he likes to be ridden."

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