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Ulster's Catcher can leave rivals in shadow with historic triumphis

By Ron McKnight

Leading Ulster owners Joe and Pat Sloan seek further high profile success today at the Galway Festival with Shadow Catcher engaged in the historic Galway Plate.

Trained by Gordon Elliott, Shadow Catcher — Danny Mullins rides — ran in the Galway Hurdle in 2013 having finished fourth in the County Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival to Ted Veale, runner-up in Monday night’s feature and returned to action at Cork earlier this month following multiple efforts over fences in top company.

The Templepatrick family also have Realt Mor engaged but is currently first reserve while Elliott has a total of seven entered including two reserves in his all-out assault on the £220,000 Plate prize.

Yes Tom, trained near Larne by Stuart Crawford and owned by local hotelier Tom Topping, is another local contender, with Robbie Colgan in the saddle, but Road To Riches — winner the of race in 2014 prior to landing the big Champion Chase, the Down Royal Festival feature, in the same season — is the current favourite.

Noel Meade’s charge finished third in the Ryanair Chase at the Cheltenham Festival last season and runner-up to Carlingford Lough at Leopardstown in the Irish Gold Cup with the winner that day having won the Plate in 2013.

Shanahan’s Turn, the winner last year, attempts a repeat victory having warmed up in the Down Royal Plate Trial last month.

Trainer Henry De Bromhead has another trio of entries with Sizing Platinum, King Of Brega and Home Farm, the latter having started his career in Ulster point to points and finished third in 2013 Irish Grand National when trained by Arthur Moore. 

Three Kingdoms represents Galway king, Dermot Weld, and the high class novice has had only a run at the Curragh for the trainer being formerly trained by John Ferguson.

Shantou Flyer, denied by a nose at the Maze in the Galway Plate Trial, also enters the calculations.

Rain continues to fall at Ballybrit and those at the bottom of the handicap could have an added advantage on the softened going conditions.

Floral Fantasy, a winner at Downpatrick on his penultimate start, could supply a winner for top owner JP McManus while Palmones, winner of his last two races, attempts to complete a treble for Tyrone trainer Andy Oliver.

Today's Galway selections: 3.00 Silver Concorde 3.35 Floral Fantasy 4.10 Plain Talking 4.45 A Shin Kildare 5.30 GALWAY PLATE 1st Shantou Flyer 2nd King Of Brega 3rd Three Kingdoms 6.05 Fairy Foxglove 6.40 Palmones

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