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Galway Festival preview - Day 1

Updated: Monday, 29 Jul 2013 09:20 | Comments

Trainer Dermot Weld sent out a remarkable 17 winners at the 2011 Galway Festival
Trainer Dermot Weld sent out a remarkable 17 winners at the 2011 Galway Festival

Dermot Weld is due to saddle six runners on the opening day of the Galway Festival at Ballybrit.

Diplomat represents the perennial leading trainer in the opening Galwaybayhotel.com & Radissonhotelgalway.com Novice Hurdle at 5.10.

The four-year-old beat no less an opponent than Our Conor at this meeting 12 months ago and returned to the winner's enclosure at Sligo most recently.

Ruby Walsh keeps the partnership intact, while Jane Mangan is on Notable Graduate in the evening's richest race, the Connacht Hotel (QR) Handicap, a race she won for Weld last year.

This is as competitive a handicap as there will be here all week, though, with Willie Mullins and Tony Martin both double-handed.

Domination aims to confirm his Curragh superiority over Takeyourcapoff and Call Me Bubbles, while Marchese Marconi represents Aidan O'Brien, who has booked daughter Sarah for the mount.

Weld and O'Brien have dominated the claregalwayhotel.ie (C & G) EBF Maiden in recent years and are set to fight it out once more, with Weld's Curragh fourth Mustajeeb taking on Friendship, who put a moderate Royal Ascot display behind him when chasing home subsequent Tyros Stakes winner Exogenesis at Leopardstown.

The two trainers lock horns again in the Galway Oyster Hotel Handicap, with O'Brien's pair Great Explorer and Waver taken on by top-weight Pay Day Kitten, but Jim Bolger could have the answer to this tricky affair, saddling Saturday's Wexford victor Irish Bulletin under a penalty.

Target Acquired scored at Down Royal on Friday and the 5lb extra earned by that success takes his weight for the claytonhotelgalway.ie Handicap to a daunting 10st 5lb.

The Sean "The Budgie" Burgess Memorial Handicap Hurdle gives punters plenty to ponder, with recent Roscommon winner Raydari taken on by the likes of Jessie Harrington's handicap newcomer Hurricane Ridge and the Colm Murphy-trained Aladdins Cave, who remains really well treated in this sphere.

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