Gordon Elliott: Exclusive views on all my Thursday runners at the Galway Festival
After winning the Galway Plate on Wednesday, Gordon has six entered on the fourth day of the Festival including a pair of runners in the Galway Hurdle. Read his thoughts on the team here...
"The Galway Hurdle is the biggest prize of the week and the second richest race in the Irish jumps season. It’s a race that I’ve gone close in before and plenty will have to go right for our pair this time around but I do believe that Cartwright is lining up with a decent chance."
Plenty in Caltex's favour
13:40 - Caltex & Its All Guesswork
I run two in the 2m 6f beginners chase and Caltex has the benefit of a previous run over fences having finished fourth at Limerick a couple of weeks ago. That was a satisfactory effort and he should improve on that. The switch to a longer trip at a stiffer track and slower ground will all work in his favour. He was a reasonable sort over hurdles and I'd expect that he will be able to make his mark in a beginners chase before too long. He has to improve on his Limerick run but he should do so and run a solid race.
Its All Guesswork has been off since last October so I'd expect him to improve for this run which will be his first over fences. He wasn't able to build on his maiden hurdle win at Bellewstown last summer but in hindsight he did perform to a fair standard on his next two runs at Galway and Killarney. This sort of trip will suit him well as a chaser and I think that he can improve on the form that he has shown to date. However, he will be all the better for this run over fences and he probably wouldn't want the ground to ease too much more as he does appreciate a decent surface.
Each-way chance for Boot Camp
16:00 - Boot Camp
In his four runs for us he has performed to a reasonable standard but I do think that there is more to come from him as he is learning all the time. He did well to win his maiden hurdle at Down Royal in June as the race didn't go all that smoothly for him and the ground was quick enough. Last time out at Roscommon he looked to show improved form for the step up to two-and-a-half miles and he was only beaten three parts of a length by a smart horse in Amschel. He made a few mistakes in the closing stages of that race so he can progress further with a cleaner round of jumping and he is better than his rating of 124. I would give him an each-way chance in a race where Exchange Rate heads a strong team for Willie Mullins.
Cartwright in with a shot at huge prize
16:35 - The Game Changer & Cartwright
The Galway Hurdle is the biggest prize of the week and the second richest race in the Irish jumps season. It's a race that I've gone close in before and plenty will have to go right for our pair this time around but I do believe that Cartwright is lining up with a decent chance.
His recent run on the flat at Fairyhouse was pleasing and last winter he developed into quite a decent novice hurdler. He won a useful Listed novice hurdle at Navan in March and on his last run over hurdles he wasn't disgraced when finishing fifth in a Grade 1 at the Punchestown Festival.
He was only two lengths behind Whiskey Sour that day and that one is among the favourites for this race so that run alone would look to give Caertwright a chance. He seems to handle all types of ground so the going is of no concern for him and the application of blinkers might just bring about a little improvement.
Possibly he will be at his best when he moves beyond two miles over hurdles but if he can get into a nice early position I'd expect him to run a big race. His jumping last season was good so I'm not too concerned about him having his first run in a handicap. It was tempting to run him in the big amateur rider's flat race here on the Monday night but there is only one Galway Hurdle so it was a reasonably straight forward decision to come straight here.
The Game Changer will be making his fourth appearance in the race. He was placed in it a few years ago but he has struggled on his last couple of runs in the race and the rain that has fallen this week will count against him. Over the last few seasons he has been a star for us and he is tough and reliable horse who has given us lots of fun but he does look to be up against it.
Conditions ideal for High Expectations
17:15 - High Expectations
After a couple of respectable runs over hurdles this horse returns to the flat for a 1m 4f handicap. He won twice on the flat last autumn and went on to post a couple of decent efforts in defeat, one of which came when he was third over this course and distance in September. He is a horse that enjoys an ease in the ground so the conditions look ideal for him and he also has a reasonable draw. High Expectations is weighted up to his best but he has shown in the past that he can be competitive off this sort of mark and I wouldn't be at all surprised to see him run well.
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