Posted: 20th Jul 2016
Elliott: "We've been knocking on the door in the race for some time."PICTURE: Alain Barr (racingpost.com/photos)
GORDON ELLIOTT, who has gone close in the €300,000 Guinness Galway Hurdle on several occasions but has yet to land Ireland's most valuable hurdle race, will bid to put that right at Ballybrit next week with ten entries.
The trainer said on Tuesday : "We've been knocking on the door in the Galway Hurdle for some time. It's a huge pot and it would be great to win the race after some near-misses. Some of our entries aren't certain to get a run, so it's going to have to be a wait and see policy."
The maximum field allowed is 20 and six of Elliott's entries are listed between 21 and 30 at this stage, with five-time hurdles winner Tempo Mac, who is number 21, the highest-weighted of his team on 10st 10lb.
Tempo Mac won at the Punchestown festival this year and will be reverting to hurdles following a couple of runs on the Flat.
Elliott said: "Tempo Mac should get in and a few others, including Desoto County, The Plan Man and Desertmore Stream, should have a good chance of making the cut. They all have plenty of experience and hopefully they'll get in, plus a few others as well. We're keen to run as many as possible."
Elliott has had horses reach the first three in five of the last six runnings of the race and came closest to landing the prize in 2012 when Cause Of Causes failed by a head to peg back Rebel Fitz. His Flaxen Flare finished second in 2013 and Bayan was runner-up in 2014, while Dirar finished third in 2010 and again in 2011.
Hidden Cyclone likely to oppose
Hidden Cyclone, fourth in the race a year ago, is more likely to have another shot at the Galway Hurdle than contest the Tote.com Galway Plate the previous day.
Trainer Shark Hanlon said: "He ran very well in the Hurdle last year and while I have to discuss things with the owners it's looking as if we'll give him another crack at the race. He's on the same mark as last year and, while I might be wrong, it mightn't be quite as strong a race this year."
The winner of 14 races, Hidden Cyclone is 11 and while statistics are against him Hanlon believes there is plenty of life left in his stable star.
"There are not many 11-year-olds who have run only 34 times in their career," he pointed out. "We were delighted with his recent Flat win at Killarney and he came out of the race very well."
The ground at Galway, where the seven-day festival begins on Monday, was on Tuesday good on the jumps course and good, good to yielding in places, on the Flat track. The forecast for the rest of the week is for unsettled weather.
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