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Galway officials expecting 'very nice ground' for festival despite 40mm of rain

Racegoers sheltering from the rain at Galway
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Officials at Galway say the ground for the seven-day feast of racing that starts on Monday has taken the significant rainfall in recent days extremely well.

The course had inevitably been watered during the heatwave, but racecourse manager Michael Moloney is content that his team had anticipated rainfall – although not as much as arrived – and judged the watering well.

"We knew the forecast was going to be bad for this weekend so we'd held off on watering to give the ground a chance," he said on Saturday.

"We had a lot more rain than had expected, roughly 40mm, but the ground was dry underneath and it's taken it very well. From the forecast, it looks like the bulk of it is out of the way." 

Moloney continued: "Ideally we'd aim for good National Hunt ground and to have it a little slower for the Flat, because the hurdle line is the same as the Flat line. That's why we let it go to good, good to firm in places before the rain."

Michael Moloney: "I still think it'll be very nice ground come Monday afternoon"

He added: "From what I'm reading, after Monday lunchtime there's very little rain around. We're not in a bad situation at all. The ground is in great condition and there's a super covering of grass.

"I still think it'll be very nice ground come Monday afternoon. It always dries during the day and the next few days should see strong winds, which should help it to dry too."

One trainer aiming to make it another memorable week in the west of Ireland is North Yorkshire-based Brian Ellison, who landed a remarkable 1-2-3 in the €100,000 Ahonoora Handicap last year.

The runner-up from Ellison's trio, Baraweez, returns to Ballybrit in search of further riches, having visited the Galway winner's enclosure twice before.

Baraweez (orange, navy cap) is denied by Dream Walker in last year's Ahonoora Handicap

"Baraweez is heading to Galway for the fifth year running – he's unreal," said Ellison of his Colm Quinn BMW Mile and Ahonoora Handicap entrant.

"He'll be competing off the same sort of handicap mark again and just loves the place. As long as everything is all right with him he'll run twice in the week."

Ellison added: "They've big entries next week and it'll be tough to get in. Initially we had seven hoping to take their chance but it'll be a case of running whatever can get a run.

"Archive, in particular, worked very well this morning. He's in a few races and we're hopeful he can get in one. Our Kylie runs on Wednesday, and we'll have a couple more coming over towards the end of the week."


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Baraweez is heading to Galway for the fifth year running in 2018 – he's just unreal
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