Brilliantly versatile Wicklow Brave bids for career win number 12 at Galway
On the fifth day of the Galway festival, Brian Sheerin picks out three to keep an eye out for . . .
Wicklow Brave (7.25)
As horses go you’ll be hard pressed to find a more likeable, versatile type than Wicklow Brave, a Classic winner on the Flat when landing the 2016 Irish St Leger before recording a top-flight success in the 2017 Punchestown Champion Hurdle.
Horses like him don’t come around often, nor do they go on forever, but the Willie Mullins-trained nine-year-old showed he still has plenty of enthusiasm for the game when beating a decent field at Killarney last month, and he looks to have been found a good opportunity to notch his 12th career success in the Rockshore Race over over 1m6f.
Connections decided to swerve Thursday’s Galway Hurdle in favour of this softer touch and they will be hoping Wicklow Brave can deliver under champion jockey Colin Keane.
Mullins said: “We decided against running him with top weight in the Galway Hurdle. This looks a nice opportunity after his win at Killarney and he's well treated by the race conditions. He won a bumper over the course in his younger days.”
Road To Riches (7.55)
Road To Riches, a dual Grade 1-winning chaser who won the Galway Plate in 2014 and finished third in the 2015 Cheltenham Gold Cup, will be bidding to record his first success in more than two and a half years when he tackles the Galway Blazers Handicap Chase.
Last seen finishing a respectable sixth in the Grand National, the 11-year-old is reported to be in good spirits by Gigginstown boss Eddie O’Leary, who said: “Noel [Meade] says he's in good form and that he’s been working well.
"I’d love to see some of his old spark here as there’s a horse in there somewhere. Maybe he needs a change of scenery at this stage in his career."
Meade also runs 2015 Irish Grand National winner Thunder And Roses and Attribution, and added: “Road To Riches will be going to the sales after this along with Thunder And Roses, who’ll probably find this trip too sharp.
"Attribution has done well in small-field races but we’re trying something new with the trip.”
Dixie Lee (8.25)
Galway has been the plan for Dixie Lee ever since she won at Down Royal in June, but trainer Dermot McLoughlin is hoping the rain won’t scupper the mare’s chances of landing the concluding 2m handicap hurdle, with a prize of just under €20,000 to the winner.
McLoughlin said: “Hopefully the ground won't get too soft. She came out of her most recent run at Bellewstown in good form.”
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