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Wood Breizh bids for Galway glory
31 Jul 2015 12:12
Wood Breizh makes his second appearance at this year's Galway Festival in the feature Ladbrokes Handicap Hurdle on Saturday.
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A winner on the Flat at Tipperary at the start of the month, the Willie Mullins-trained grey lined up for the valuable Connacht Hotel Handicap on Monday evening and ran a fine race in defeat under Katie Walsh, passing the post in fourth place having led into the straight.
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The five-year-old reverts to the jumping game on the penultimate day at Ballybrit and connections are hoping for another bold show, with Katie's brother Ruby booked for the mount.
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Steve Massey, racing manager for owners the Supreme Horse Racing Club, said: "We were absolutely delighted with the way he ran on Monday and Katie gave him a cracking ride to get a good position from a wide draw.
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"We thought he might win when he hit the front before the home turn, but he was just beaten by better horses on the day.
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"The winner (Modem) is rated 134 over hurdles and Ted Veale, who finished third, came out and ran a cracking race to finish third in the Galway Hurdle on Thursday off a mark of 144.
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"We've crept in at the bottom of the race on Saturday on 123, which is where I think you need to be this week. As long as the race on Monday hasn't taken too much out of him, we're expecting him to run a big race.
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"It's great to have Ruby on board, we haven't had a winner at Galway before so it would be great if 'Woody' can break that duck this weekend."
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Wood Breizh could be the champion trainer's only representative in the 20-strong field, with Valyssa Monterg and Argentino joining Edward Cawley's Forever Gold on the reserve list.
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Leading owner JP McManus has four runners, with his newly appointed retained rider Barry Geraghty getting the leg up on Paul Webber's British challenger Cantlow.
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The 10-year-old, last seen finishing sixth in the Irish Grand National, missed the cut for Wednesday's Galway Plate and instead runs over hurdles for the first time since April of last year.
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Webber said: "We had hoped to get him into the Galway Plate, but unfortunately he missed out by three or four.
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"Having missed that, this looks a nice spot for him as he might just be on a nice mark. We'll just have to see if the old engine is still there.
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"Barry rides him, which is great. He's been at the Curragh for a couple of days and the reports are that he's in very good form.
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"I think the trip will suit him and we're looking forward to running."
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The Tom Mullins-trained Some Article carried the famous McManus silks to victory at the Punchestown Festival in the spring and is another major contender in the hands of Niall Madden.
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"He seems in great form. He had a couple of weeks out in the field after Punchestown and then we brought him back in and he's fully fit and ready to go," said Mullins.
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"He's going for a hat-trick and the ground is right for him. I just hope the track suits him. The last time he went there he was pulled up, but he wasn't right in himself.
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"It's an open race. There are a lot of good horses running at this time of year now because the prize-money is so good, which can only be a good thing, I suppose."
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Galway Hurdle-winning trainer Tony Martin runs Pyromaniac, who just missed out on a run in Thursday's feature, as well as Elishpour.
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Bishops Road, Erlkonig and Gusty Rocky all have a chance in a wide-open contest.
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