Shaneshill can show his class by taking Galway Plate

The Willie Mullins-trained Shaneshill is the class act in the Galway Plate on Wednesday and will take the beating
Gary Carson

SOME top grade performers have won the Galway Plate in recent years and Shaneshill can prove the class act in this year's renewal of the €250,000 contest.

Willie Mullins saddles five in the big race today but Ruby Walsh sides with Shaneshill, who is still relatively unexposed over fences.

The King's Theatre gelding hasn't been seen in chasing action since a narrow defeat in the 2016 running of the RSA Chase at Cheltenham.

His fencing let him down slightly that day but he's by no means a bad jumper and still ran a cracker when just losing out to Blaklion in the championship event for staying novice chasers.

Mullins decided to revert back to hurdles after that run and he went on to chase home the brilliant Thistlecrack at Aintree.

He has proven a top-class staying hurdler since and was last seen in action when finishing a fine third in Grade One company over in France in June, having taken a Grade Two event over there the previous month.

The 2016 RSA may not have been a vintage renewal but it was still a decent race and he had some good chasers in behind him that day.

He's potentially well handicapped returning to the larger obstacles now and is sure to have been well schooled to get his eye in for the task.

Stablemate Ballycasey heads the weights and comes here in winning form after scoring at Killarney in May.

He looks to have a tough task under his weight now, however, having gone up to a mark of 160 and doesn't look well treated giving half-a-stone to the selection.

Sandymount Duke arrives in terrific form having completed a hat-trick recently. He won't want any more rain and it was worrying that Walsh didn't think he was a Galway Plate type after winning on him in Punchestown.

Balko Des Flos had some good novice form last season and looks a potential improver in the field but Shaneshill is a classy animal and can give Mullins his second win in the prestigious event.

The Closutton handler will also be hoping to land the opening maiden hurdle with Castello Sforza.

JP McManus' gelding was a smart bumper horse, finishing fourth at Cheltenham, but was turned over at short prices on three hurdle outings last winter.

He looks to face an easier task now, however, and it will be disappointing if he can't open his jumping account today.

Silver Concorde won the Cheltenham bumper back in 2014, beating Shaneshill that day, and has shown useful form on the Flat since.

He was turned over in a maiden hurdle here last year and has only ran once since. Obviously he has the talent to be a big threat but the yard's form is a worry and he still has a bit to prove over jumps.

His trainer Dermot Weld has dominated so many Galway festivals but this season has been disappointing to say the least.

It really is hard to ignore the chances of a couple of his runners on today's card, though, and they may be able to breathe some life into the Rosewell House challenge.

The amateur rider's maiden on the card doesn't look a strong contest and Turnabout surely has to have a big shout as one of the few with good Flat form.

He ran a promising race when fourth on his debut in a Curragh maiden in late May and is fitted with a first time visor now, which has always been a positive sign from the yard.

Finny Maguire teamed up with Weld to take the 2014 and 2015 runnings of the race and gets the leg up on the Khalid Abdullah gelding.

Sansibar Jewel was backed like defeat was out of the question when last seen at Gowran in April but could only finish fifth that day behind Naughty Or Nice.

She's obviously well regarded, and capable of better than that, so has to have a big shout in an ordinary mile maiden later on the card, a race that her yard has absolutely farmed in the past.

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