Galway Festival Day 1 Preview

Trainer Dermot Weld has been leading trainer at the Galway Festival on a remarkable 26 occasions including an incredible 17 winners in 2011. Rosewell House stables are well represented again this week.

Diplomat is strongly fancied to win the opening Novice Hurdle under Ruby Walsh at 5.10. Twelve months ago he beat subsequent Triumph Hurdle winner Our Conor at this meeting and arrives here on the back of a victory at Sligo.

The feature race on day 1 is the Connacht Hotel Handicap at 6.45 with Jane Mangan partnering Notable Graduate for Weld. Opposition includes Call Me Bubbles who looked unlucky last time behind recent Curragh winner Domination and can turn the tables here.

Comfortable Roscommon scorer Raydari has every chance of a follow up victory in the Handicap Hurdle at 5.40. He was not hard pressed to beat A World Apart and may have most to fear from Hurricane Ridge.

Aidan O’Brien will also be sending a strong team this week and his best chance of a winner on the opening day rests with Friendship in the EBF Maiden Stakes at 6.10. The colt made no show at Royal Ascot but ran much better when chasing home the smart Exogenisis at Leopardstown.

Weld’s Mustajeeb could give him most to do after finishing a promising fourth on his debut. Peace Accord carries the Weld hopes at 7.15 where first time blinkers are expected to bring about an improvement.

Top weight Pay Day Kitten is strongly fancied to complete a hat-trick in the 7.45 but Jim Bolger’s Irish Bulletin looks dangerous off a low weight. O’Brien is doubly represented with Great Explorer and Waver.

Marty’s Magic is Weld’s final runner of the day in the closing bumper at 8.15. The unraced son of Tale Of The Cat may have to play second fiddle to the Willie Mullins-trained Wicklow Brave.

Selections: 5.10 Diplomat (NAP), 5.40 Raydari, 6.10 Friendship, 6.45 Call Me Bubbles (nb), 7.15 Peace Accord, 7.45 Irish Bulletin, 8.15 Wicklow Brave