Horse Racing: Lot on Plate a tasty option; FESTIVAL DAY 3 PREVIEW OS CAN DISH UP WINNER FOR RUBY.
RELY on Paul Nicholls and Ruby Walsh to land today's William Hill Galway Plate with favourite OSLOT, beaten only once in four starts over fences.
Only two British-trained horses have won this famous race, STRATEGY way back in 1904 and AMLAH 10 years ago.
But Oslot, carrying the familiar black, white and red Stewart colours, will be sent off a strong favourite to give Nicholls his first Plate success, following the unlucky exit of the Walshridden HOO LA BALOO last year.
Nicholls also runs Betfred Gold Cup third Hoo La Baloo today, under top-weight, which leaves Oslot on a favourable racing weight of 10-13.
And both his trainer and rider have been positive in recent days concerning the prospects of Oslot becoming the first six-year-old to win the Plate since Amlah in 1998the six-year-old.
Oslot has won three times over fences, scoring at Exeter, Southwell and Newton Abbot (over a distance just short of today's two miles and six furlongs), meeting his only defeat over fences when beaten a neck by MAHOGANY BLAZE in a two-mile contest, run at break-neck speed, at Ascot.
Walsh's mount appears to be a sound jumper and will need to do everything right today in his first handicap chase.
And, assuming a trouble-free round, I expect Oslot to give Nicholls another notable big-race success and provide Walsh with second win in the Plate.
No modern day Galway Plate is complete without Ballybrit legend ANSAR, now a 12 year old and running in the race for the sixth time.
Dermot Weld's charge, successful seven times from 11 starts at the Festival, has won a Galway Hurdle and two Galway Plates (2004 and 2005) and, significantly, has never finished out of the first five in his Plate runs.
A gallant fourth to Sir Frederick last year and carrying just 11-0 today, Ansar is racing off a 7lb. lower mark and, following two satisfactory outings on the flat and a schooling session which pleased big-race partner Denis O'Regan at Ballinrobe last week, expect another bid for Galway glory.
BREAKING SILENCE, returning after a break but prepared for the day, should give Tommy Ryan a good spin off just 10-2 while IRISH INVADER, runner-up to stable companion DAVENPORT DEMOCRAT at Killarney two weeks ago, looks the better of Willie Mullins' two runners.
Tony Martin runs GREEN MILE, the mount of Robbie Colgan, with joint bottom-weight of 9-10. A good winner over hurdles at Killarney, Green Mile is not very big and, sometimes, is a little deliberate at his fences. But he has a definite each-way chance.
In a fascinating renewal of the great race, I expect the inimitable Nicholls/Walsh to land another big 'pot' with the progressive and potentially well - handicapper Oslot.
On the supporting card, DESIGNATED DECOY is napped to provide Dermot Weld and Pat Smullen with further success, in the williamhillarcade.com Maiden, a race Weld has won nine times in the last 12 years.
This fellow ran a race full of promise when narrowly beaten by INVINCIBLE JOE at Fairyhouse recently and, expected to improve significantly and wearing blinkers for the first time, he should prove tough to beat.
THE Group 1 Moyglare Stud Stakes and the Goffs Millions races will be run at Naas next year.
With the Curragh set to close for redevelopment at the end of next year, its meetings for the autumn of 2009 and all of 2010 have been relocated.
Naas is set to benefit significantly, along with Leopardstown, which will host all of the Irish classic while the Curragh is closed.
That includes a fixture on September 13 next year, when both the Irish St. Leger and National Stakes will be run.
The 2009 fixture list, released by H.R.I. yesterday, reveals a new August fixture for Killarney involving two existing days moved from early September and two days from the traditional Tralee Festival, which will be staged for the last time next month, with the Ballybeggan track set to close permanently.
WINNING COMBO Paul Nicholls and Ruby Walsh are on course for more success; HE'S GOT THE LOT Oslot and Ruby Walsh should clinch it
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|Publication:||The Mirror (London, England)|
|Date:||Jul 30, 2008|
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