Gordon Elliott is back for a busy third day at the Galway Festival. Read about his 10 runners from the man himself...
"Jury Duty is possibly our best chance following a good first season over fences when he won at Grade 2 level and was placed several times in Grade 1 company."
Above average hurdle
Galway 17:10 - The Big Lense
He is a horse that we have liked since he won his point-to-point back in February 2017. On his racecourse debut at Thurles in October he didn't give his true running but his next run at Limerick in April was more encouraging. He still looked a bit green at Limerick but he did stay on reasonably well in the closing stages of that race which would suggest that this 2m 5f trip should be suitable for him over hurdles.
I'd expect him to run a nice race but he should come on for his first run for 111 days and he lacks previous experience over hurdles. Hopefully he will run a nice race but there are some useful types in here and this looks an above average maiden hurdle for this time of year.
Quest an each-way chance
Galway 17:40 - Mill Quest
She has already had a good summer having won handicap hurdles at Limerick and Cork within five days of each other during July. On her last run at Limerick she had to settle for fourth. She will need to do better here but I think she will, as Limerick came just a day after she had won at Cork and she just found the run coming too soon.
In terms of the ground she is very versatile so any rain that falls won't be a problem. Her two wins have earned her a 19lbs rise in the weights but there are more races to be won with her. She has an each-way chance.
Jury Duty the chance here
Galway 19:20 - Jury Duty, Clarcam, Lord Scoundrel & De Plotting Shed
We run four in this year's Galway Plate and I'd like to think that a couple of them could get closely involved. Jury Duty is possibly our best chance following a good first season over fences when he won at Grade 2 level and was placed several times in Grade 1 company.
The form he showed when beating Shattered Love at Punchestown and then finishing second to her at Leopardstown over Christmas makes for good reading and I feel that he could win a big handicap for us at some stage this season. The Plate trip will be very suitable and the ground is fine for him while I've been pleased with his home work over the last few weeks.
Clarcam mightn't be quite as good as he used to be but he is a few pounds lower than when he finished fifth in this race two years ago. He has run well fresh in the past and he did show up well for a long way in the Topham at Aintree in April so I'm hoping he can outrun his odds but he doesn't have the same room for improvement as a number of other horses in the field.
Lord Scoundrel won this race back in 2016. He hasn't won since but he is back to his lowest mark (144) since he won here and a run over hurdles at Down Royal a few weeks ago should have done his confidence plenty of good. He was running well in this race last year only to be hampered at the final fence so hopefully a return to Galway will bring out the best in him again. Also he would have run very well behind Bellshill in a Grade 2 at Fairyhouse in February only to unseat at the final fence. Like Clarcam he is a big price but I wouldn't be shocked to see him go well.
De Plotting Shed has been a little disappointing over fences so far. He was quite a smart hurdler but he just hasn't reached the same level over fences. He has been in excellent form at home for the last month and I think that he will be all the better for a three month break since he last ran.
Some of his early form over fences was quite encouraging and he looked as though he was going to run a nice race on his last outing at Punchestown only to be badly hampered at the fourth last fence after which he was pulled up. I do believe that he has more to offer over fences and I wouldn't be at all surprised to see him run well.
Handicap in Monkeylou's favour
Galway 20:00 - Monkeylou
He hasn't been able to build on his first time out victory at Listowel last season but the handicapper has given him a chance by dropping him 6lbs since the start of the season and I thought that he ran a bit better than his finishing position would suggest in a useful conditions race at Killarney a couple of weeks ago.
Any further softening of the ground will be fine for him and he is drawn low which is a big help at Galway. The stiff mile will test his stamina but otherwise conditions will suit him. This does look a very competitive race and I'd be very fearful of the likes of El Greco, Wentwood and Espere but I'm hopeful that there will be more to come from him after just four career starts.
Water Sprite the strongest of this one
Galway 20:30 - Water Sprite, Falak & Hollow Tree
Water Sprite won this race two years ago and finished second last year so she has had this race as her aim for the last few months. A recent run in a charity race at the Curragh should leave her in good shape for this and she has a better chance than her last few runs might suggest but she has it all to do from a stall 19 draw.
Unfortunately Falak has fared even worse with the draw than Water Sprite as he is drawn widest of all in 20. It's a pity as he seems to be in very good form and I have been looking forward to bringing him back on the flat. During the winter he was heading the right way over hurdles but he got a nasty fall at Limerick in April and it just took him a while to get over that.
A recent run in a charity race at the Curragh will have helped his confidence and I still believe he is a horse that can do well for us under both codes. If he hadn't been drawn so wide I would have put him forward as one with a very solid each way chance.
Hollow Tree started out with a couple of encouraging handicap hurdle runs last autumn but he was a long way below his best in a couple of runs in April. It's been seven years since he last contested a flat handicap and I would only be hopeful about his prospects in a race as competitive as this but hopefully Jack Wildman's 10lbs claim will aid his cause.
Best Chance Of The Day
Jury Duty in the 19:20 at Galway
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