Patrick Mullins is hoping to finally emulate his father Willie by riding the winner of the big race for amateurs on the opening day of the week-long Galway Festival on Monday.

While Mullins junior has won a host of races and been champion amateur many times, the Connacht Hotel (QR) Handicap is one of the rare prizes that has eluded him so far.

However, he is seeking to put the record straight on Lagostovegas, trained by his father, in the valuable and ultra-competitive heat over an extended two miles.

"My father won it many years ago when carrying 12st 7lb so I need to even the score at some stage with him," said Mullins.

"She's only had two runs for us. She pulled up on her first run over hurdles and was very disappointing, but then we ran her on the Flat in Killarney and she won very impressively.

"She got put up 17lb for that which does seem harsh but hopefully the handicapper is right. She carries 11st 8lb.

"My mare has done well on the track, she's in good form at home, so we're expecting a good show."

"She ran in this race last year and finished seventh, so hopefully being a year older she can improve on last year's performance. I'm expecting a good run out of her.

"The draw (15) isn't ideal. However, I think last year the first four home were drawn out quite wide, so it doesn't make it impossible. There'll be plenty of runners around so you need a bit of of luck in running.

"It's a competitive race, it is every year. It's one of the highlights of the year in the amateur calendar.

"My mare has done well on the track, she's in good form at home, so we're expecting a good show."

A maximum field of 20 includes last year's winner Swamp Fox, the popular veteran Hidden Cyclone and the Gordon Elliott-trained Automated, the mount of Mullins' arch rival in the saddle, Jamie Codd.

Elliott told "I think he'll enjoy the hustle and bustle of the race. He's also in the Galway Hurdle, but we'll worry about Monday first before considering that."

Barry Geraghty will have his first ride since Easter Monday when he partners Le Richebourg in the opening race, the & Novice Hurdle.

Geraghty has been out of action having broken his arm when his mount Minella Foru fell in the Irish Grand National on April 17.

He returns now aboard Le Richebourg who is one of three hat-trick-seekers in the line-up and represents the in-form Joseph O'Brien.