Emperor can rule at Galway



We have National Hunt action from Galway this afternoon and Gary O’Brien is keeping an eye on a few races before his recommended bet runs later on the card…

Trainer Tom Gibney has been enjoying something of a resurgence in 2020, the man who famously sent out Lion Na Bearnai to land the 2012 Irish Grand National currently operating at an impressive 16% strike rate with his National hunt horses.

Agent Boru’s runaway victory at Galway yesterday saw him already equal his best seasonal tally over the sticks numerically, and there could be further cheer for the Kells-based stable back at Ballybrit this afternoon.

Recent outing ought to have sharpened him up

The well-bred Bold Emperor, a maiden hurdle winner at Limerick over three and a half years ago before losing his way, has yet to get on the scoresheet in four outings for Gibney after being switched from John McConnell’s yard around this time last year. However he dropped a big hint on his reappearance at Fairyhouse a fortnight ago that that statistic could be about to change, and the two-mile handicap hurdle at 16:10 looks to offer a good opportunity.

Returning from over seven months on the sidelines on that occasion, the Galileo gelding found only the useful Mig Des Taillons too strong after holding every chance from the turn-in. The form of the race hasn’t really been tested in the interim but the front two were nicely clear of the rest and Bold Emperor ought to be a bit sharper today with the run under his belt.

A 3lb rise admittedly makes life tougher, and David Mullins now replaces the 7lb claimer who was aboard last time, but apart from dual bumper winner Uisce Solas there doesn’t appear to be a huge amount to fear amongst the opposition.

Ker worth watching on chase debut

Outside of that it looks a day for watching really. The four-runner conditions hurdle at 15:00 has the makings of a belter, and with Minella Melody likely to go forward it hopefully won’t develop into the cat-and-mouse affair you often get with such a small field.

There should also be plenty of future clues to be gleaned from the beginners chase at 13:15, where the long-absent Diol Ker is the interesting one on his debut over the larger obstacles. His maiden hurdle victory at Fairyhouse almost a year ago turned out to be red-hot form and the former point-to-point winner makes his return with his yard going great guns.