Recently sacked Cooper counting on Cinema for change of luck
For the first time since learning he was no longer the number-one rider for Gigginstown last Friday, Bryan Cooper will pull on the maroon and white jersey for the powerful owners as he takes the mount aboard the Henry de Bromhead-trained Cinema De Quartier in the opening novice hurdle (5.20).
A wide-margin winner of a Kilbeggan maiden hurdle in June, the five-year-old will be only the sixth ride at the Galway festival in four years for Cooper, who has endured a rotten run of luck with injuries.
Successful with Penhill 12 months ago and Long Dog the year before, Willie Mullins and Ruby Walsh will be bidding to extend their winning run in the opener with Law Girl, an impressive winner at Roscommon last time.
Mullins said: “She improved quite a lot from her first run to her second start for us and I am hopeful there will still be more to come from her.”
JP McManus is doubly represented by Niall Madden's Boherbuoy and Housesofparliament, whose trainer Joseph O'Brien said: "It’s his first run back from a long break but he is in good form at home. The ground might be a bit slower than ideal for him but we are expecting him to run well.”
O’Brien not sure about the ground for Minding’s sister
There was a time when Dermot Weld had a stranglehold on the maidens run this week, but the bigger stables have been happy to take on the master of Rosewell House in his backyard in recent seasons, none more so than Aidan O’Brien.
In the 7f fillies' maiden (6.25), Ballydoyle run both Sizzling and Conquest, a sister to multiple Group 1 winner Minding, and their handler said: “Sizzling has run well on both her starts and has been in good form since Newmarket.
“We've also been happy with Conquest since her first run at Leopardstown but we're not sure about soft ground for either of them and, hopefully, they won't get more rain.”
Weld relies on Raynama, and said of the Aga Khan-owned filly: “She ran reasonably well first time out at the Curragh. We think that she has progressed since then and that she should handle the ground.”
At danger of billing this as a shootout between O’Brien and Weld, it is worth mentioning the Kevin Prendergast-trained Moghamarah, who ran a cracker when narrowly touched off in a six furlong Curragh maiden in June.
Prendergast said: “She is in good shape. I think she is a smart filly and she will like the ground. I am expecting a big run from her.”
Inaugural Zorbing Derby to get the day off to a flying start
The inaugural running of the Paddy Power Zorbing Derby will take place before racing with all proceeds going to the Injured Jockeys Fund.
Zorbing, for those who are unaware, is the sport of rolling downhill inside a giant inflatable ball. It should at least make interesting viewing, and with Paddy Power himself, former Ireland international footballer Stephen Hunt and retired Galway hurler Ollie Canning taking part, racecourse manager Michael Moloney is expecting a fun-filled event to spark day two into life.
Moloney said: “The Injured Jockeys Fund offers fantastic support to the horse racing community. As a racecourse we wanted to get behind them this year and offer our support and we hope to make it an annual event.”