The title here may raise a few eyebrows as the Galway Plate may not be renowned as a race that throws up Grand National runners but Irish Invader, Baily Breeze and Bothar Na are three horses that have run in both the Galway Plate and the Grand National recently and a couple of other well known horses have had strong associations with the Grand National: 2006 Plate winner Far From Trouble and 2003 Grand National winner Monty’s Pass.
Far From Trouble began to realise his potential when taking the 2006 Galway race and was made favourite for the Grand National on the strength of his win in the Plate and also a couple of eye-catching defeats at the Cheltenham Festival and in the Irish National. Sadly injury intervened and Far From Trouble didn’t make it to Aintree but it does highlight that the Galway Plate can throw up horses that can shake up the betting at Aintree.
Monty Regularly Ran In Plate
2003 Grand National winner Monty’s Pass ran in the Galway Plate from 2000 to 2002 finishing 2nd, 6th and 6th. He is indicative of the type of Irish chaser who tends to run at Galway season after season. The Plate provides a quality field for horses that may prefer good ground, something not seen that often in Ireland! Consequently horses tend to run in the race year after year even if (as with Monty’s Pass) the race itself may not provide the type of stamina test they would require to be ultra competitive. Horses such as the ones highlighted in the list below are the type we are looking for to see if any of the Irish trainers are advertising early intentions with their charges and lining them up for a campaign aimed at Aintree.
What Should Be looking For In A Galway Plate Winner?
Winners of the Galway Plate can be at the other end of the spectrum to horses such as Monty’s Pass with a couple of speedsters such as Ansar and Grimes successful in the last ten years but the majority tend to be proven at 20-22 furlongs over fences and, crucially, their ability to act on the ground shouldn’t be left to trust as all the winners in the last ten years had won on the prevailing ground conditions or on a variety of grounds from good to firm to soft. Previous winning form at Galway should also be not seen as a negative with three of the last ten victors coming into the race as previous course and distance winners. No horse older than nine had won in the last ten years so that would appear to put a question mark against quite a few fancied horses.
Fifty-two horses are still entered in the Galway Plate at time of writing and the ones that immediately stand out as potential Aintree candidates in my eyes are:
Hoo La Baloo
Royal County Star
The last two named would probably have to improve somewhat to enter Aintree calculations given their relatively low ratings but a win here could catapult them into the reckoning but Oscar India could be more of a proposition for Fairyhouse given he has already run well at the track. Church Island has interested a number of our posters since finishing runner-up to Niche Market in the Irish National and then having a decent run in the Whitbread (or whatever it’s called these days! Sorry B365!) Church Island is definitely interesting but the one that I will be watching closely this year is Oodachee. I was very impressed with his effort in the Topham behind Irish Raptor but I’m not sure what to make of his follow-up fifth at Sandown? Only beaten just over six lengths in the 2007 Irish National but then Pulled Up a year later in the same race, I am undecided if this horse stays marathon trips or not? A Marju pedigree does not inspire confidence on that score but I would like to hear people’s long term opinions on Oodachee.
Two To Avoid This Year?
Oslot was the youngest horse to win the Galway Plate in the last decade at six years old and the same team have the current favourite in Roby De Cimbre but he looks to lack the obvious quality of his stablemate from last year and I would be keen to take him on.
A faller in the race won by Oslot was Tony Martin’s Green Mile and he appears to have been targeted at this race for some time so it would be no surprise to see his current price evaporate. However, he is still to record a win over fences and whilst he may turn out to be well handicapped he will have to jump better than his previous efforts over fences.
Who Do You Fancy And Will They End Up At Aintree?
I’ll personally be looking at the horses in the handicap rated 119-135 (eight of the last ten winners fitted into that group) this week and seeing if I can find something with proven stamina at least 20 furlongs and the capacity to perform on good or good to firm ground. I’ll add a couple of ideas on to this post for people to discuss but why not let us know your ideas on the Galway Plate on this page and don’t forget to give us all your views on runners in the race that might end up at Aintree.