The 2014 Galway Festival is upon us and king of Ballybrit Dermot Weld has runners in all but one of the seven races as he starts off his bid to be crowned top trainer at the meeting for an astonishing 28th time.
The master of Rosewell House begins with Manhattan Swing in the opening Radissonhotelgalway.com & Galwaybayhotel.com Novice Hurdle and while the four-year-old has to concede jumping experience to his rivals, he is rated 95 on the level and that quality will carry him a long way.
No less than four last-start winners stand in his way, while Henry Higgins has only kept Grade One and Grade Two company over timber to date and struck on the Flat at Leopardstown when last seen.
The feature event of the evening is the Connacht Hotel (QR) Handicap and Weld's pair of Grecian Tiger and Pay Day Kitten will do well to get to grips with the Tony Martin-trained Quick Jack, who has been supported for the Galway Hurdle later in the week and seems appealingly treated in this sphere.
Martin enjoyed an excellent Festival himself last year and his Artful Artist is on a lowly mark back over obstacles for the Easyfix Rubber Products Handicap Hurdle, given the fine form he has been in on the level this summer.
Two wins for Aidan O'Brien have stopped a Weld domination of the Claregalwayhotel.ie (C & G) EBF Maiden since 2006 and the latter's Postulation has ground to make up on Ballydoyle youngster Jamaica from their clash in a Curragh maiden won by O'Brien's exciting Gleneagles.
The two powerhouse trainers lock horns again with Annus Mirabilis and Timiyan in the Pillo Hotel Handicap and, as he does with Timiyan, Weld fits a visor on to another handicap debutant in Bobby's Heart, who goes for the Claytonhotelgalway.ie Handicap.
Call Vinnie changed hands for €90,000 after an impressive point-to-point success and Weld starts him off in the Colm Quinn BMW Flat Race.